Spectators revel in Tour of the Valley; hopes run high for return in 2010

By Bob Jackson

YOUNGSTOWN - Dan Quinlan said he would love to bring the Tour of the Valley bicycle race back to the Mahoning Valley next year for a second spin.

“If we’re welcomed, we’ll definitely come back,” said Quinlan, who runs Carbon Racing in Greenford with his wife, Erin.

Judging by the reaction from spectators who were downtown Sunday morning to watch the final races of the weekend event, the welcome mat is already out.

This was the first year for the Tour of the Valley, a three-day bicycle race that included venues in Mahoning and Columbiana counties. It wrapped up Sunday with a race that covered a one-mile loop through city streets in downtown Youngstown.

Among those who came to watch was 79-year-old John Grantonic of Boardman, who, like many others there, was watching his first official cycling race.

“I’ve always wanted to see a bicycle race,” said Grantonic, munching on a blueberrry muffin. “I missed the first two [days], so when I got up this morning I told my wife I was going down to watch the race. I wasn’t going to miss this one.”

Grantonic said he was a runner and a cyclist in his younger years and enjoys racing of all kinds.

“It’s just always exciting,” he said. “Any race is exciting to me. I enjoy them all.”

Grantonic said he was disappointed when he showed up Sunday morning and there was hardly anyone else around to watch the race.

“It was like I was the only one here,” he said, laughing. “I thought maybe I had the wrong day or the wrong place. I thought there would be more people here.”

But as the morning went along, more and more people turned out to line the start/finish area and watch as the sleek racers pedaled through the race course.

Read the full story Monday in The Vindicator and on Vindy.com.

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