"We do well at other events, but Merco is one of the gang-buster events," said Jim North, owner of Jim's Hot Diggety Dogs. "There are a lot of people there, and it turns out they eat a lot of hot dogs. Merco is a first-rate event for us."
The success of the event is largely due to broad community involvement and the large number of people willing to volunteer their time, Fluetsch said.
"The organizers are not cyclists," he said. "They're people who care about the community. I think the mistake that many bike races make is that they are put on by bike racers, and they get tired of doing it."
Reporter Joshua Emerson Smith can be reached at (209) 385-2486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
READY TO ROLL
The following is a list of the 2013 Merco Cycling Classic activities:
FEB. 28 -- The Merced Irrigation District Road Race takes place at Lake McClure at 10 a.m. The course starts at Lake McClure Road, and includes a 12.5-mile loop with one main climb.
FEB. 28 -- The Merced Irrigation District Champions Dinner will be held at the Merced County Fairgrounds Pavilion at 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. The event starts at 6 p.m. and includes a special guest speaker, Olympic bronze medalist and Tour de France multiple-stage winner Davis Phinney. Tickets are $25 each, with a limited number available.
MARCH 1 -- The Merced Boosters Time Trial takes place in north Merced at 11 a.m. The race starts north of La Paloma Road on G Street in Merced, going six miles up G Street and six miles back.
MARCH 2 -- The McDonald's Downtown Grand Prix takes place in downtown Merced at 7:30 a.m. and continues into the afternoon. The race starts and ends at Courthouse Park in downtown Merced.
MARCH 2 -- The United Way Community Fun Fair takes place at Courthouse Park in downtown Merced from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vendor space is still available. For more, call (209) 383-4242, ext. 503.
MARCH 2 -- The United Way and Merced Irrigation District Cycling for Community Tricycle Race takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event takes place in the parking lot at 19th and N streets in Merced. The team entry fee is $150 with all proceeds supporting United Way of Merced County. The first 36 teams will be admitted.
MARCH 2 -- The Merced Mall Pee Wee Classic takes place in downtown Merced at 11 a.m. The race starts at 21st and N streets, and is open to riders 3 to 9 years old. Entry is free.
MARCH 3 -- The Hilltop Ranch Road Race takes place in Snelling at 8 a.m. and continues into the early afternoon. The course starts at Keyes and Olsen roads, and includes a 24-mile loop through rolling hills.