Altitude is more than you think. Even professional bike racers are worried about the altitude in Aspen

The conversation at the pre-race press conference and the press conference after stage one was the concern about the altitude.

Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team had this to say about the altitude

“I am by no means a pure sprinter, but this course is a bit of a slap in the face, what a tough way to start a stage race. It’s a really deceptive stage. It’s difficult to control and it’s really unpredictable. I’m still out of breath and it’s been more than an hour since the finish, and I was already at altitude to begin with.”

Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp

“I myself am a victim of the high altitude. It was pretty relaxed for the first third of the race, but that last lap really heated it up and it was just full gas from there on. You see a lot of punch and lift from riders toward the end, and that’s not really something you see at this kind of altitude. It’s pretty exciting to see that out here.”

Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen Takes Stage 1 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge

Crowds of Cheering Fans Lined the Streets of Downtown Aspen to Greet the Best Riders in the World

Aspen, Colo. (Aug. 18, 2014) – Set against the beautiful backdrop of Aspen and Snowmass, the 2014 USA Pro Challenge got off to an exciting start with a circuit race of three 22-miles laps that included 2,300 ft. of climbing per lap, creating an aggressive day of racing. Colorado Resident Kiel Reijnen (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team took home the stage win, which also puts him in the overall lead heading into the second day of racing.

“This stage was really exciting last year. It was a nail-biter and this year was the same,” said Reijnen. “The USA Pro Challenge is a huge goal for our team. Everyone is here watching and it’s really important to the team we do well here.”

In a close finish, Reijnen took the stage win, followed by Howes in second and Ben Hermans (BEL) of BMC Racing Team in third.

After the conclusion of the first stage of the USA Pro Challenge, Reijnen holds the Smashburger Leader Jersey, Lexus Sprint Jersey and, new for this year, the Colorado National Guard Best Colorado Rider Jersey . Jacques-Maynes has the Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey and Summerhill was awarded the FirstBank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey. Clement Chevrier (FRA) of Bissell Development Team has the Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey heading into Stage 2 tomorrow.

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Everyday Kid Phil Gaimon Rides Off the Couch into a Pro Cycling Contract

Boulder, CO, USA – May 6, 2014 – Professional cyclist Phil Gaimon has written a book telling the true story of his unlikely transformation from fat kid to professional bike racer. Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro, is now available in bookstores, bike shops, and online. Preview Gaimon’s debut book at http://www.velopress.com/phil.

Plump, grumpy, slumped on the couch, and going nowhere fast at age 16, Phil Gaimon begin riding a bicycle with the grand ambition of shedding a few pounds before going off to college. He soon fell into racing and discovered he was a natural, riding his way into a pro contract after just one season despite utter ignorance of a century of cycling etiquette. A few hardscrabble seasons later, Gaimon was offered a contract to race in 2014 for Team Garmin-Sharp, an elite cycling team that competes at the sport’s highest level.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day is a true story, a guide, and a warning to aspiring racers who dream of joining the professional racing circus. Gaimon’s adventures in road rash serve as a hilarious and cautionary tale of frustrating team directors and broken promises. His education in the ways of the peloton, his discouraging negotiations for a better contract, his endless miles crisscrossing America in pursuit of race wins, and his conviction that somewhere just around the corner lies the ticket to the big time fuel this tale of hope and ambition from one of cycling’s best storytellers.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day chronicles the racer’s daily lot of blood-soaked bandages, sleazy motels, cheap food, and overflowing toilets. But Gaimon also celebrates the true beauty of the sport and the worth of the journey, proving in the end that even among the narrow ranks of world-class professional cycling, there will always be room for a hardworking outsider.

Pro Cycling on $10 a Day: From Fat Kid to Euro Pro Phil Gaimon Paperback with b&w photographs throughout.
6″ x 9″, 312 pp., $18.95, 9781937715243

Phil Gaimon is a professional cyclist for Team Garmin-Sharp, a writer, and an entrepreneur who retired from laziness and computer games in 2004 in favor of riding a bike to lose weight. On a whim, he started racing and soon discovered that he was a natural. Phil advanced rapidly through the amateur ranks and turned professional in his second full year. He slowly learned the rules and clawed his way to the top of the American pro ranks, joining Garmin-Sharp in 2014. He maintains a website, http://www.Philthethrill.net, where he chronicles his ceaseless pursuit of the best cookies and milk in America, and tweets at http://www.twitter.com/philgaimon.

Can’t wait to read it.