Monthly Archives: August 2012

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

August 21 brought hordes of people, cars and bikes to Crested Butte, Colorado for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Crested Butte was a host town in the second stage of the week-long cycling race extending across the rocky mountains of Colorado. What impressed me most about the race was the amount of vehicles required to support the racers, the course and the fans. From cameras in helicopters and motorcycles to broadcast the race to the world, to support vans carrying backup bikes to semis hauling stages and tents to each host city, the amount of fuel required for the human-powered race was must have been enormous.

But despite my awe at the amount of cars, the speed of the racers was even more amazing. They zoom down mountain passes at more than sixty mph and I barely snapped my shutter a few times before the racers were out of my sight and on to the finish. Tejay van Garderen of the BMC Racing Team won the second stage of the race that ran through Crested Butte.

The frontrunners begin the last climb to the stage 2 finish after biking 99.2 miles from Montrose, Colorado.

Fans watched from the roadside and motorbikes with video cameras followed the racers. The winner of Stage 2 finished in 3:52.24.

The “peloton” or main group of bikers rides below Mt. Crested Butte.

The total climb between Montrose and Crested Butte measured 8042 feet. Here the bikers begin “The Last Steep,” the final climb before the finish.

Along with the caravan comes the wild fans. Dore Holte, also known as “Raging Stag,” was cheering on his favorite riders. This is his second USA Pro he has attended.

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Town-Sanctioned Graffiti

Town council members, race organizers, volunteers from local organizations and random folks interested in joining the effort spread across Gothic Road extending up to Mt. Crested Butte brandishing spray paint, giant stencils and house paint after dark on Aug. 19. The town councils of both Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte sanctioned tagging the road to show support for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

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Cones were set up to direct traffic while people painted racers’ names and images and words of support on the road.

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Ozzie Scott and Jeff Scott tag the phrase “peace love bike” on the road. The Father-Son team went on a 36 hour tour to the front range and back to Crested Butte to tag all the passes for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

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Chad Murray drags a stencil for a Belgian flag to a new location while Crested Butte’s Mayor, Aaron Huckstep, directs traffic. “We have a distinctive climb,” said Huckstep. “It was a really decisive move in last year’s race.” This, he said, is why Crested Butte wanted to show their passion for cycling by painting the road, which can be seen from helicopters filming the race.

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Grant Spear paints a Colorado flag on the road.

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Chad Murray spray paints the road under the light of his headlamp.

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One volunteer for the road graffiti bikes up the “Pitchfork Pinch,” the area they tagged, which has a 13 percent grade, to the next spot he will paint.