“The only town that is ahead of us is Aspen”
Don’t expect hundreds of road bike racers to arrive in Crested Butte next summer over Kebler or Cottonwood passes as part of the new Colorado road race tour. As announced two weeks ago by Governor Bill Ritter and cycling star Lance Armstrong, the tour of Colorado is expected to draw the world’s top cyclists after they complete the Tour de France. The hope is that the Upper Gunnison Valley will be chosen to host a stage of the race. On Tuesday, August 18 the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council was approached and asked for its support as the community comes together to try to land a leg of the race.
The route of the Quiznos Pro Challenge is not yet mapped out. Some local organizers had quickly envisioned a possible stage running between Crested Butte and Aspen over Kebler Pass, which is a dirt road. Organizers are taking proposals from various towns and will decide the route in September. The race is scheduled for August 22-28, 2011. Armstrong said the race, like the old Coors Classic, would include mountain and urban settings.
Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce events director Scott Still and Crested Butte restaurateur Peter Maxwell filled the council in on their recent trip to Denver to meet with the race organizers and sponsors.
Maxwell reported, “The only town that is ahead of us is Aspen,” as far as getting the RFP (request for proposals) and other logistics dialed. He also learned that a stage over Kebler or Cottonwood is unlikely because of the length of the dirt road, paired with the high elevation. That still leaves options open, for example a stage that leaves from Salida or Montrose and ends here. Or there could be a time trial race from Gunnison to Crested Butte to Mt. Crested Butte.
Maxwell said mountain climbs near the end of a race are great for viewers, because when on flatter ground the racers are whizzing by at 35 to 40 miles per hour, whereas they obviously would be pedaling much slower up Gothic Road to the mountain. The slower pace allows spectators to get closer to the riders and be more intimate with the race.
The council ultimately passed a motion in support of the event. Scott Still, Maxwell, and other members of the group working to bring the race to town will meet on Thursday, August 19 to continue their pursuit of the Quiznos Pro Challenge.