March 23, 2017 – The Tour of Walla Walla Stage Race, a mainstay in the Northwest and Intermountain West road racing calendar for the last 21 years, announced today that the 2017 edition has been cancelled. Race organizers Michael and Kathryn Austin sent out a note to the community explaining their decision:
To all of our dedicated Tour of Walla Walla racers, volunteers, and community members- After many sleepless nights, phone calls and much time spent staring at previous years’ registration information, I have decided to “pull the plug” on the 2017 edition of the Tour of Walla Walla. Several factors have resulted in this decision.
1. Road races throughout the Pacific Northwest are suffering. We all believe the severe winter and lack of spring riding have played into this, as has an interest switch from road racing. Numbers for races all over the west coast are down, and it pains me to include the TofWW in this number.
2. Nationwide riders are waiting later and later before registering for races, this creates a difficult situation for Promoters. With an event like the TofWW – a 3 day event and a very large operating budget, the financial risk is significant and it’s a huge risk not knowing if ‘enough’ riders will preregister before the event. We need about 300 racers to break even. Last year we missed that mark and lost about $6500. Given our current pre-registration numbers (currently we have 40 folks registered 1 month before the event) and projecting registrations we would expect to see in the next month, the event would stand to lose between 6 and 9 thousand dollars. I just can’t ask my family or my business to assume that risk.
Making this decision is not easy and is quite upsetting to Kathryn and I, especially after a long and successful 21-year run of this race, but the reality of this year just can't be denied at this point, we truly feel that any “hopeful thinking” will only prolong the inevitable and make cancelling that much harder for us and for the riders who have registered. To the folks who have already signed up (or who hold a registration voucher from a previous year), thank you for your registration and commitment, I will be working to facilitate refunds over the next several days. Thank you to all our dedicated racers, volunteers, and community members. It has been our pleasure to provide an elite level of road racing here in Walla Walla for the last 20+ years, and our sincere gratitude goes out to this community and all involved. We look forward to hearing more from our community about what sort of event riders can support in the future, and reevaluating how we can continue to provide an outlet for cycling and racing in our region moving forward.
Thank you all- Michael Austin – Race Coordinator
Kathryn Austin – Assistant Race Coordinator
For more information on the event, see tofww.org