USA ProChallenge Go Ride Steamboat August 15. Become part of the Excitement

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS | ARAPAHOE BASIN
COPPER MOUNTAIN | ASPEN | BRECKENRIDGE | LOVELAND
FORT COLLINS | GOLDEN | DENVER

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GO RIDE STEAMBOAT presented by UnitedHealthcare
Go Ride Steamboat presented by UnitedHealthcare, a recreational bike ride sharing the same roads as the USA Pro Challenge, is on Saturday, Aug. 15, in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.The fun and entertaining family and friends bike ride kicks-off the celebration activities for the start of the professional cycling event.
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Host City Highlight: Loveland
Nestled in the foothills of Colorado’s dynamic Rocky Mountains and just 45 minutes north of Denver, Loveland is the ideal base camp for all of your northern Colorado adventures. Hailed as the Gateway to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park, Loveland is an ideal community that appeals to all types of visitors.READ MORE
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USA ProChallenge gear is now available. Race is a month away. Get Ready

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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS | ARAPAHOE BASIN
COPPER MOUNTAIN | ASPEN | BRECKENRIDGE | LOVELAND
FORT COLLINS | GOLDEN | DENVER
AUGUST 17-23, 2015
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PEARL IZUMI & USA PRO CHALLENGE ANNOUNCE GROUNDBREAKING YEAR-ROUND PARTNERSHIP “Pearl Izumi has been an exceptional partner since day one of the Pro Challenge, as the official provider of our race jerseys,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of USA Pro Challenge. “We have no doubt that in this expanded role their designs for the entire Pro Challenge merchandise line will be a huge hit with our fans. We are extremely pleased that Pearl Izumi decided take on this exciting new role with us.

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Host City Highlight: Arapahoe Basin
Join A-Basin’s two-day festival of concerts, camping and cycling on Monday, August 17 and on the day of the USA Pro Challenge Stage 2 finish – Tuesday, August 18, 2015. Sample one of our famous A-Basin Bacon Bloody Marys and hang out with the “funnest” people in Summit County.READ MORE
UPCOMING EVENTS
Northern Colorado Community Ride7/21/15 – 6p – Fort Collins
Copper Mountain Community Ride7/26/15 – 12:30p – Copper
Denver Community Ride8/2/15 -12:20p – Denver

2015 USA Pro Challenge Route will Attract Great Racers and Great Fans

USA PRO CHALLENGE ANNOUNCES 2015 ROUTE WITH EPIC MOUNTAINTOP FINISH AND ALTITUDE INFUSED TIME TRIAL

New Host Communities Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain

Promise to Delight Fans

DENVER (April 28, 2015) – The 2015 USA Pro Challenge swings into action in its fifth year with a new circuit start in Steamboat Springs on Monday, August 17th and then it makes its way through another eight stunning host cities for the race finale in Denver on Sunday, August 23, 2015.

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado serve as home for the USA Pro Challenge, and every year since its inception over a million fans get to witness the world’s best cyclists, iconic routes and lung-piercing climbs of the seven stage event. With the State of Colorado containing 28 of the 50 highest peaks in the United States, it’s no surprise the race is a favorite for the world’s top teams and cyclists.

“Each of our 2015 host cities offers something unique and special to the 5th anniversary of the Pro Challenge,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of USA Pro Challenge. “We’re confident that this year’s route will provide the most exciting week of racing yet. We have added new cities and a dramatic mountaintop finish that will prove to be a fierce battleground for riders eager to show they have what it takes to compete on a new climb up Loveland Pass.”

The Pro Challenge has grown into the largest spectator event in Colorado history with tremendous crowds enjoying the weeklong race action and event festivities. New additions to this year’s race include: Arapahoe Basin, Loveland Pass, Copper Mountain and a lung buster time-trial in Breckenridge, a new twist for a familiar host city of past races. This year the USA Pro Challenge also pays homage to the inaugural race in 2011 with a repeat of that year’s final stage – from Golden to Denver.

The 2015 USA Pro Challenge race is back with a combination of familiar host cities and new communities added into the mix.

Highlights of the route include:

Stage 1 – Steamboat Springs Circuit – Monday, August 17, 2015

After a brief venture onto the rolling roads of Routt County in 2013, the USA Pro Challenge knew it had to make a return to put on a classic circuit race. The quiet roads offer straights, twists, and a few rather steep surprises. Match that with the fan favorite host city of Steamboat Springs, and you have the makings of a great opening stage. This 49-mile circuit will be completed twice by the peloton, creating great spectator opportunities both in Steamboat Springs and for on course locations like the Rt. 27 KOM climb and the town of Oak Creek. Will Steamboat Springs be treated to another classic sprint finish or will the challenges of Routt County create an opportunity for a surprise first yellow jersey of 2015? Either way, the fans of Steamboat Springs will be treated to quite a show.

Stage 2 – Steamboat Springs to Arapahoe Basin – Tuesday, August 18, 2015

As the Pro Challenge says goodbye to its overall start host, Steamboat Springs, it welcomes a new member to the family with the race’s first visit to Arapahoe Basin. Leaving Steamboat Springs there is little time to settle in before the pros have to tackle Rabbit Ears Pass. From there, this familiar route heads south through Kremmling, around the Green Mtn. Reservoir, and continues through Silverthorne and Dillon. Unlike years past, the 2015 Pro Challenge will then turn east and suffer 5 miles up Loveland Pass to Arapahoe Basin. Look for jerseys to change hands, dreams fulfilled for some, expectations dashed for others, on this new mountain top finish.

Stage 3 – Copper Mountain to Aspen – Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Another new twist on an old favorite, but this time it is the opening that changes. Copper Mountain plays host to its first ever Pro Challenge stage and sends off Stage 3 in style, while familiar terrain and fans await the race on Independence Pass and the run into Aspen.

No rest for the weary this day as the climbing starts right away with the ascent of Freemont Pass, followed by the gorgeous shores of Turquoise Lake and then a quick sprint through Leadville. However that is only the appetizer as the main course awaits on the upper slopes of Independence Pass and then it’s down the breathtaking descent into Aspen where some of the most memorable moments in Pro Challenge history have played out.

Oh, and by the way, over half of Stage 3 takes place above 10,000 feet. Bring your lungs.

Stage 4 – Aspen to Breckenridge – Thursday, August 20, 2015

This crowd-pleasing stage from 2013 is back for an encore in 2015 as it connects the Pro Challenge’s two most visited towns; Aspen and Breckenridge. Starting off with 20 miles of climbing up Independence Pass is a rude wake up call, but that is only the beginning. The racers still have the climbs of Trout Creek Pass and Hoosier Pass to conquer, while sprints in Buena Vista and Fairplay dot the route to Breckenridge. Once in town, one final obstacle stands between the riders and victory, the wall up Moonstone road and the drop down Boreas Pass to the finish where the always boisterous crowds of Breckenridge await.

Stage 5 – Breckenridge Time Trial – Friday, August 21, 2015

Completely new for 2015, the Breckenridge Time Trial will test all of a rider’s skills and will produce a truly worthy winner. The 8.5-mile time trial starts out flat for the pure time trialists. However, it’s not long before it’s back onto the climb up Moonstone road, still fresh in the pain file from the day before and a real test of climbing skills. Finally, the race could be won or lost going downhill this day, as racers will push the limits on the Boreas Pass descent to shave seconds off their time. Whoever wins the day will certainly be one who can hammer the flats, dance up the climbs, and carve down the descents.

Stage 6 – Loveland to Ft. Collins – Saturday, August 22, 2015

The start and finish location of Stage 6 may be familiar, but what lies between the two is new and challenging.

The early flats and sprints in Windsor and Loveland hide the wicked side of the route that waits in the second half. It may not have the grand names or the huge elevation numbers, but the lower and smaller climbs of this stage still have a serious sting. Climbing the north side of Carter Lake and then onto the new climb up Rist Canyon should get everyone’s attention. It may also present one of the last chances for overall contenders to make a move. Wrapping up with the jagged rollers of Horsetooth Reservoir before bombing into Ft. Collins, this stage proves that a race doesn’t need to reach 12’000’ to be epic.

Stage 7 – Golden to Denver – Sunday, August 23, 2015

For a finale the Pro Challenge goes back to its roots. This route was the final stage of the first Pro Challenge in 2011 and introduced the world to the cycling crowds on the Front Range.

After a short loop north of Golden the race will tackle its main obstacle of the day, the 4-mile climb of Lookout Mtn. Another quick pass of Golden and the race is screaming through Wheat Ridge and Lakewood en route to downtown Denver. Four laps of the familiar Denver circuit await and Civic Center Park, City Park, and 17th street will be treated to blazing speeds as the last prizes of the week are fought for over tooth and nail.

One of the most highly anticipated events on the race calendar, the 2015 USA Pro Challenge will test the riders’ strength and endurance over a 605 mile course. To give fans the opportunity to see their heroes up close and in action, each stage, with the exception of the individual time trial, will start with at least one circuit lap in the start city before leaving town

Host city information, maps and elevation profiles are available on the race website http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/route

About the USA Pro Challenge

Referred to as “America’s Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 17-23, 2015 and an inaugural Women’s USA Pro Challenge will take place from August 21-23, 2015. For seven consecutive days, the world’s top male and female athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they’ve ever had to endure. One of the largest cycling events in U.S. history and the largest spectator event in the history of the state, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2015. Featuring a challenging course, the fifth annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America’s most beautiful scenery.

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USA Pro Challenge brings out the best in its fans

Bicycle racing is more than just cycling. The atmosphere is always fun.

Why do spectators enjoy looking great at cycling raisesclip_image002

One of the great joys of watching the climbs on the grand European tours is the time we have to watch the outfits the spectators wear. That desire to be European fashion conscious has crossed the Atlantic and is growing in the US. The US Pro Challenge has seen an increase each year in the desire to be seen on the tour.

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People in costumes always waive and love to have their picture taken.

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Her sign says have you seen my friend. She must have known an orange cowboy hat and purple tights might make her friends hard to find.clip_image008

Do the riders have the time as they wiz by to see the outfits?

Some costumes are difficult to assign a category too, however at least he is riding a bike. That may or may not be good for cycling.

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Some of the outfits can be as easy as a hat to makes you stand out in the crowd or a hair color so you loved ones can spot you…..and hide. When wearing a similar hat the pope always seems to smile.clip_image012

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Do you think Jens saw him?

Then you see the group costumes where friends (or at least I hope they are friends) agree on a theme to wear to the raise. clip_image016

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I’m not exactly sure the true nature of some of the themes. The relationship between Santa Clause and a Yeti in Vail still has me confused. The Wheaties box is just an afterthought….I hope.

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It is bad when two people in a costume start to argue about it. It is always a hard to hear what the argument is about when both voices are coming from fur covered heads.

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Age is not a limiting factor in costumes. No matter how small you may be getting dressed up is part of the excitement of the tour.clip_image024

Unless maybe you dad makes you wear the costume, in the heat. But at least no one can recognize you if it covers your face.clip_image026

There always the marketing gurus who send employees out to represent their products. Energy snacks, water bottles two perennial favorites.

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The best are when friends know a rider in the tour and want to show their support. Although I’m not sure I would come out of the team RV to see my friends of a gold speedo was the costume of choice.clip_image032clip_image034

His face mask almost matches his tattoo.

Even the UCI gets into the race, maybe just a crown, but it is still more than a non-descript ball cap.clip_image036

What is curious is when a city gets into the act. The winner of the stage that ends in Breckenridge has the dubious honor of being photographed with a fur hat and shield. I thought winners were to be lauded, not punished?clip_image038

Even if you are not a big fan of bicycle racing (heaven forbid) you should at least stroll the start and finish near you to see the fans!


Buffets

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You work with the PR team of a professional cycling team to schedule a time to talk to a rider. You email back and forth frantically during the race, at night and stop by the team bus in the morning to stand around wearing a pleading puppy face.

You get a date so you start working on your questions. You research the rider you got the time to sit down with, and you know the person inside and out. You start out with general ones, softballs to set the ground work, to start the information flowing. Then you start working your way to the tougher questions.

Then the day arrives. You attend the race and jot notes about your rider’s race that day. You get back to your room early to clean up, and you arrive ten minutes before the scheduled time.  Not too early to look too eager, but never late. You find a place to talk, secure yet open so everyone feels good and information will flow. The rider comes down and sits down to talk. You exchange pleasantries, and you start with the easy questions to get things rolling.

But the rider throws back a curve, and your prepared questions gently fall to the floor as you grin and jump on the answer.

Buffets. What is your favorite thing about racing in the US? Buffets.

I had the opportunity to interview Richie Porte of Team Sky at the USA Pro Challenge. Every statement above is true. I did not want to sound like an amateur or an idiot and by the end of the interview, I did not care. When you ask a professional bicycle racer what his favorite thing about racing in a county, and he says the buffet’s it throws you for a laughing out loud loop from which you never recover.

After talking to professional cyclists for years, this was the last answer I expected, but it was the first thing out of the mouth of Richie Porte during the USA Pro Challenge. However, after listening to him compare the fare offered at the Tour de France or the rest of the European races I understood. Based on Richie’s comments, it was easy to maintain weight on the Tour de France because if you waited too long there was nothing to it. Even if you got to dinner early, it still was slim pickings.

Richie Porte, along with Chris Froome had been in the US for two weeks training and enjoying the country before the USA Pro Challenge even started. Once the race started, they raced. However, they thoroughly enjoyed the racing in the US, buffets included.

The next thing Richie said was the fans were fantastic. I’m sure after watching the three segments of the Tour de France through the IMG_3228UK, he might change his mind, but he said the US fans were fantastic. If you went off the back in France, the fans called you names, gave you grief and sometimes spit at you.

Here in the US, the fans cheered and clapped for everyone, even the last rider was encouraged to ride better. US fans are just happy to watch great athletes race.

Teams enjoy coming to the US for the USA Pro Challenge besides the food and the fans. The views along the race course are unmatched outside of Nepal. The crowds are not only enthusiastic, but they understand bicycle racing. The word peloton in Colorado does not get you a questioning express. Coloradans understand bicycle racing.

After spending an hour with Richie Porte, I had a great time, met a great person and obviously, a great cyclist. Richie still had a smile and a great sense of humor even after a hard day riding in the thin air.

This tough piece investigating a Team Sky rider reads like a chamber of commerce piece encouraging people to come to Colorado. Obviously, the riders enjoy racing in the US.

A Start