Houston, we have a problem! Colorado should be the North American Capitol of Bicycle Racing! We need to support the next two days of the Colorado Classic race to become what our cycling destiny should be.

Attendance at Vail was terrible and the racing was fantastic!

Bicycle racing like we have in Colorado is fun. The Colorado Classic has gone to extraordinary links to increase the fun aspect of all parts of the race.

Day 3 in Denver will bring premier a new course we have not seen in decades if ever. Starting and ending in downtown Denver, the course will take in Wheat Ridge, Lakewood, Golden, Kittredge, Evergreen, Conifer and include Dinosaur Ridge, a classic front range hill. Here again, there will be dozens of opportunities to see the racers up close and personal!

Day 4 is the classic downtown Denver crit from downtown to City Park and back. Women will race this course four times and men eight. This gives spectators another opportunity to see speed and see it several times as the racers come past. Watch in amazement, eat a sandwich, have a beer and watch in amazement, repeat.

The real difference is the Velorama. A combination music festival and cycling street fair. I went between races and enjoyed my time there. It adds easy ways to get fed and still enjoy the wait times between race laps or races.

Issues from 2018.

  1. You have to get the word out that you don’t have to have a Velorama ticket to watch the race. Several people who I expected to watch the race said they did not because of the cost.

    The Velorama provides more fun and most importantly more income to support the bicycle race. Yes, we have grown accustomed to watching a lot of amateur racing in Colorado for free. However, a professional race costs a lot more money. Support the race by buying a ticket to Velorama.

    However, if you can’t you should still go see the bicycle races. A least buy a hat!

Issues Now 2019

1. We knew about the Velorama; no one knew about the Colorado Classic. It got lost in the push to finance the race. Press releases about the race were few and far between, and 90% of those covered the music festival. I understand Velorama is financing the race. I understand, to a limited degree, how much a bicycle race costs to put on, especially one brining in UCI World teams.

But we may be, to use a phrase from my “upbringing” throwing the baby out with the bath water. In an effort to pay for the race, we forgot to tell people about the race.

2. The news has to get out earlier than weeks before the race. People schedule their summers all winter long. We work through the winter to ski and plan for summer. By the time press releases started coming out about the race, it was too late. People had their summer booked.

Driving down from Vail this afternoon I was in a crowd of cars, team trailers and an RV or two. But the traffic leaving Denver was bumper to bumper and stopped in several places. Those people are too late for the Vail races and not going to see the Denver racing. And the Denver racing is going to be great!

Colorado is better than that. I rode a press car up twice during the time-trial today and saw one I knew about the course. The last time I did that I saw dozens of people I knew. The hillside at the now-defunct pro challenge at the time, trial finish line was covered with bicycles of people who had ridden up from Summit Count or from Vail. Today there was one bike on the hillside.

The racing was great. I followed Gillian Ellsay, @GillianEllsay of Rally Cycling, @Rally_Cycling up the time trial in the media car; she passed six other riders, five on the uphill section of the course. She was amazing. You should have seen this 21-year-old phenomena kick butt. Her time was better than a lot of the men later that day. You missed it if you weren’t there.

Yet the time-trial today carried on a tradition of racing on that course, the Vail Time Trial, first started in 1975. The course is so well known, that European cyclists know about it and today a lot of them learned about it, steep hill and no oxygen. 43 years of racing just on this one spot, think of the tires and sweat that have hammered up that hill.

I understand this is a balancing act money versus not having racing, and like 99.99% of the people in the US, I don’t have a solution, and it sounds like all I can do is complain. That is NOT my goal. My goal is to keep professional cycling in Colorado as a sport, not just the home of great cyclists who are racing other places.

However, I think a few of these things can be solved cheaply, hopefully.

So what, if a lot of July cycling yellow jerseys are not present. You can see future yellow jersey wearers now and tell your friends in seven years how you knew they were going to be leaders when you first watched them race at the Colorado Classic. And we got Taylor Phinney @taylorphinney riding. Taylor are you having a good time? “Always!” is new Colorado blood and sweat with the greatest smile and attitude professional cycling needs. Get out and cheer @taylorphinney on! (@TaylorPhinney which my spell checker want’s to change to @ethylmorphine?)

More importantly, if you are reading this find a shady spot on a hill for tomorrow’s races, MEN’S and WOMEN’S and enjoy what is truly a spectacular sport. Find a cooler, umbrella and chair and plan on spending Sunday watching the crit at city park or the Rhino district. No matter what, unclip and get out to watch professionals, men and women race this weekend!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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