Thursday, July 18, 2019
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Pro Challenge surf was up

To be honest, I was sort of prepped for a Pro Challenge letdown.
The buzz leading up to the event wasn’t nearly as intense as last year. People said they were going to work rather than watching the race. The Monday evening block party was cool but mellow as the temps hit autumnal levels after the sun went behind Red Lady. I heard rumblings of some down-valley/up-valley tension in terms of scheduling events and cooperation. There were more rules that were harder to skirt. The event was tightened up. Someone texted me upset that some of the previous night’s street painting was covered over the morning of the race. “Orwellian” he said.
Then, Tuesday morning, Elk Avenue started to pop with a Jumbotron at the P.O., a cruiser tribute to Bamberg and a costumed Townie Crit. The TV coverage of the race reminded all that we live in a spectacular setting. And at about 3:45, the first group of nine world-class riders came speeding around the corner at True Value and the waves started cresting. Costumed flag bearers greeted the racers. The hype came crashing into Crested Butte, washing away any letdown and the sweet vibe lasted for hours. The cars, motorcycles and bikers flying through town unleashed a tsunami of good energy. And that energy was flowing unbounded like the delicious late afternoon sun in the Mt. Crested Butte Expo village among thousands of friends and strangers. A beer here, a handshake there. Smiles everywhere.
Tuesday was a good day. It was race day in the north end of the valley.

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