The story below was featured on The Breck Connection
It’s been called the most demanding bike race to ever take place on American soil and for the second year in a row the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place in Colorado with a starting stage right here in Breckenridge, one of the most bike-friendly towns in the mountains.
It’s a seven day race that covers almost 700 mile and athletes from across the globe will arrive in Colorado on August 20th ready to take on the course, the altitude and each other. This year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenges twists and turns throughout the state. Starting in Durango the route heads through picturesque cities including Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen, Colorado Springs and Boulder before ending in grand style in downtown Denver. The Breckenridge start will most likely be a daunting one for riders as it marks the beginning of one of the more demanding mountain stages up Hoosier Pass.
Given Breckenridge played host to a finish stage for last year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge the town is ready to do it all again this year with plenty of activities to keep the big crowds entertained.
The festivities kick off on Thursday, August 23rd with a big screen on the Riverwalk Center lawn broadcasting Stage 4 from Aspen to Beaver Creek from Noon to 4 p.m. Then, starting at 6 p.m. it’s the weekly Breckenridge Cruiser Ride, taking over the town with a different theme each week. Take it from me, if you haven’t been to one of the summer cruiser rides in Breckenridge it’s a true taste of what it means to be local and is not to be missed.
Friday, August 24th is the big day in Breck and the action kicks off bright and early at 9:30 a.m. with plenty of activities in the Start Village with autograph opportunities with the athletes. The rider ceremony will take place promptly at 9:50 and then, it’s go time. You’ll have about an hour to find a good viewing spot on Main Street before the riders start the stage with two neutral laps through downtown starting at 10:50 a.m.
From there, it’s a steep and winding ascent up Hoosier Pass where riders will be jockeying for prime position on the downhill and then it’s a straight shot through open country until they finish in Colorado Springs.
Luckily for all the spectators the fun doesn’t end when the riders take off… actually, it’s only the beginning. For those feeling all inspired by the action there is the Citizen Street Sprint happening right after the pro riders take off and there is no doubt you will be feeling like one of the elite following directly in their tire marks.
Stick around for the Ripstoke trials and mountain bike stunt show happening in the Blue River Plaza where you can also watch the rest of Stage 5 right there on the big screen. To top it all off there will be a free concert at the Riverwalk Center at 4:30 p.m. featuring Maceo Parker.
You won’t want to miss the excitement of one of the biggest athletic events in the country when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge comes to Breckenridge and who knows, you may even end up on TV given the action will be covered by NBC and Versus. So go crazy and wear that big chicken suit you’ve had in the closet for years, this may just be the perfect event to do it.