Thursday, August 18, 2011

Colorado's Big Race

Cycling fans and the Colorado tourism industry are totally stoked for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge all next week! We have not had such a giant stage race since the Coor’s Classic days. This will be a huge Rocky Mountain high for more than just the 136 pro cyclists on 17 teams from seven countries. We will even have the top three Tour de France finishers! Our beautiful state will definitely be ready for a close up on national media as famous Tour de France announcers, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, and Bob Roll provide excitement and color on the Versus channel all week and NBC on August 28th.

Get ready to put on your lycra!

The race starts in Colorado Springs. The Garden of the Gods will be a gorgeous backdrop as the riders begin their week of racing.

Wednesday’s route takes on the two toughest climbs in cycling history! The road to the top of Cottonwood Pass is dirt and at a lung-busting 12,126 feet, this will really hurt!

Independence Pass, at 12,095 feet, is the next challenge. At this altitude the oxygen level is only 60% of what athletes inhale at sea level. This is possibly the most scenic and spellbinding highway in our state. Aspen billionaires will be out in force with their expensive bikes as the riders finish the days’ “Hors Categorie +” stage. Custom Parlees, Eriksens, Moots, Pinarellos & Colnagos will be all over the place! Some of these bikes can cost more than many cars!

Last week I rode the route to be used for the Vail time trial course. It goes and goes…straight up.

Saturday’s stage finishes in picturesque Beckenridge, famous in the 19th century for hydraulic placer mines. Today it is a great summer & winter resort.

After climbing up Golden’s Lookout Mountain, the riders descend down to Denver for a five lap circuit around the state capital.

I hope you have a chance to see the race and our beautiful state. Even if bike racing is like watching grass grow, you could be like my 91 year old mom who watches the Tour de France every day in July! She says it’s like her French Travel Channel. She loves the scenery!

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