This weekend I had the opportunity to watch one of my favorite sporting events-the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. If you’re not familiar with it but are familiar with the Tour de France it is a similar type of race…except for it’s in Colorado! I have been fortunate enough to watch the final leg of the Tour de France and it is an amazing and heady experience. The French crowds are so knowledgable about the art of racing, being good spectators and supporting the racers.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge’s inaugural year was 2011 and has become (in my opinion) the best bike race in the United States. For those of us who aren’t able to travel to Europe to watch high profile racers this is a wonderful option to experience high class racing.
The racers begin in the high country (the mountains) and every year the route is just a little bit different. This year there were 7 stages and race enthusiasts had the opportunity to watch racers in the following nine cities:
- Steamboat Springs
- Arapahoe Basin
- Copper Mountain
- Breckenridge (one of my favorite towns)
- Fort Collins
I’ve only had the opportunity to enjoy the race in Denver and I look forward to watching other stages in other parts of Colorado. In fact, I’m very seriously considering staying at a hostel in Breckenridge next year and watching several of the mountain stages for a different viewing experience.
That said, what I truly appreciate and enjoy about USA Pro Cycling Challenge is how accessible the race is to newbie cycling enthusiasts. People are able to sit along the race route and see the racers with very few barriers between them. Given my incredibly positive experience with this race and how well it is produced it came as a bit of a surprise to find out that the race still doesn’t have a title sponsor and has lost money each year.
This race also brings an incredible amount of money and national/international advertising to the state of Colorado. It would be a shame to lose this race from not only the perspective of an avid fan, but as a lover of this state.
I truly hope that the race is able to get in “the black” and find a sponsor who will help continue to bring this amazing experience to American audiences.
For more information on this year’s race go to the following website: www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com