“I don’t know what they’re going to do about it.
We’re now less than two weeks away”
Not much could stop the steady march toward the USA Pro Cycling Challenge coming to the valley at the end of the month, but the town of Mt. Crested Butte is still trying to get an agreement signed with the race organizers that will seal the deal.
The race’s Local Organizing Committee (LOC) director Aaron Huckstep told the Mt. Crested Butte Town Council on Tuesday, August 2, that he, along with town attorney Rod Landwehr and Crested Butte town attorney John Belkin, had been working to get the details of the agreement worked out with race organizer Classic Bicycle Racing (CBR) since January.
“There’s a lot of detail in [the USA Pro Cycling challenge town participation agreement],” Huckstep said. “We had worked through a number of issues with the race organizer, CBR. These are the same people who helped organize the Alpine Odyssey this weekend. That operation went really smoothly from our perspective and we’re expecting this [race] to go the same way.”
Huckstep said he had been to a race in Northstar-at-Tahoe to see CBR’s operation on the ground and said he hoped the council would “all be impressed by both the set up and the take down of the whole event.”
The participation agreement is the 30-page document that defines the roles and responsibilities of the race’s 11 host cities and members of the race’s support network across the state, according to Huckstep.
In sitting down together, Landwehr said he, Huckstep and Belkin were trying to find out what would be required of the towns during the race “that we could legitimately provide without obligating the town to financial requirements beyond the budgeted amount of $20,000, which I understand has already been turned over to the LOC to help them fulfill those requirements.”
But there were pieces of the contract the towns just couldn’t abide by.
While he said the town would do whatever it could to cooperate with the race organizers, what “was problematic from the town’s standpoint is the indemnification provision. In the original draft of the agreement they basically wanted all of the towns to indemnify all of the CBR’s parties against all of the obligations in this contract or anything else that could go wrong,” Landwehr said.
That provision of the agreement wasn’t going to work for the towns, so just as he had done in Gunnison (Landwehr is also the attorney for the city of Gunnison), Landwehr changed the language to indemnify only the town and left the other parts of the support network to fend for themselves.
“From my experience in Gunnison, and it’s kind of what Huck and I have done here … we rewrote their agreement, we told them this is what we can live with, the council authorized it and we signed it and sent it in and they signed it,” he said. “That’s basically the way I think Huck is trying to get it pushed down now.
“We were delayed so long in getting any response from CBR that we just wanted to get authorization to sign the agreement in a manner that is acceptable to the two towns and the LOC, sign it … send it down there,” he continued. “I don’t know what they’re going to do about it. We’re three weeks away [now less than two].”
The town of Crested Butte also signed the agreement, with changes of its own.
Huckstep said he had spoken to a CBR representative and explained, “My expectation is that [the CBR representative] knows exactly what to expect from us and knows these terms are going to be exactly the way they are and they’re going to sign it and send it right back to us.” He added, “Certainly at this point, I think the downside risk is extremely minimal, considering the investment they’ve put into the event and giving the investment they’ve put into our finish.”
“And their track record,” mayor William Buck added.
Huckstep agreed that CBR’s reputation was enough to instill confidence in the agreement.
By all accounts, the process of ironing out the agreement has been one of the only bumps in the road as the plan for the race has been laid out and, Huckstep says, the town has some of the best accommodations on the tour. Part of the reason is the number of hotel rooms available at Crested Butte Mountain Resort.
“What that means is media, racers, team support. They’re providing a lot of food as well; they’re providing dinner [August 23] and they’re providing a breakfast [August 24]. We have signed contracts with [CBMR] to provide those services and we’re working with them literally on a daily basis to firm up what exactly is required.
“Rod mentioned dollars and we’ve already sent them … a deposit on the hotel rooms. Those are pretty significant costs and those are certainly the biggest costs from the LOCs perspective,” he continued.
Huckstep said he hoped to see each of the council members out on the day of the race and added that they might have the chance to hobnob in the VIP area. “We should be able to get you up close and personal with the event. It should be extremely exciting.”
The LOC is also going to be ready when the time is right to lobby for a return of the bike race in the future, Huckstep said.
“We’re all obviously very excited,” Buck said. “It’s a great opportunity.”