Event organizers have been meeting behind the scenes with more than 350 volunteers for months to make sure the USA Pro Challenge goes off without a hitch.
It will all come together in the next few days, when Breckenridge hosts the Stage 2 finish and the Stage 3 start of the nationally televised race featuring some of the best cyclists in the world.
Volunteers are key to making the event a success, organizers said. The high level of community participation is one of the reasons Breckenridge has been chosen as a host for the prestigious event, said Kim Dykstra-DiLallo, director of communications for the town of Breckenridge.
“We feel extremely honored because it’s the third year they have chosen Breckenridge,” she said.
Volunteers are passionate about cycling and passionate about the community, and Pro Challenge organizers take notice. “We put on a great event and the community really embraces it,” she said.
A local organizing committee has brought volunteers and community stakeholders together to iron out the details involved with hosting the event. The committee has addressed everything from cutting down the waste produced at the event to timing and technical aspects of the race, transportation, parking and hospitality.
Organizers also have helped in the coordination of events that coincide with the bicycle competition, including mountain bike stunt shows, the Railroad Earth concert, the Strider Challenge, a finish festival and more.
Pro Challenge organizers have been paying particular attention to the safety aspects involved with the event. Breckenridge Police Chief Shannon Haynes said the majority of the prep work for the race is finished, and all of the safety plans are being finalized.
“A whole host of agencies and organizations within the county have come together to make sure it goes off safely,” she said.
Additional law enforcement officers and emergency service staff have been called in to deal with the influx of people coming to Summit County, and a unified command center will be set in place to coordinate police, fire, state patrol and ambulance services.
“We do a lot of fairly decent-sized events in Breck, and we always have our eye on the safety of the participants and making sure the venue is safe,” Haynes said.
Law enforcement and security will keep an eye out for suspicious activity and behaviors that could endanger the safety of spectators and of the Pro Challenge competitors, she said.
Pro Challenge volunteer leaders Barry and Fran Lazarus feel good about their preparedness for this week’s event.
“The Local Organizing Committee, which is 90 percent volunteers, has done a tremendous job,” Barry Lazarus said. “There is so much detail that goes into this, and I’m really impressed with the job they’ve done putting it all together and making it run smoothly. It makes our job easier as well.”
Race spectators are asked to do their part by wearing orange during the Stage 2 finish in Breckenridge on Tuesday.
“It will be great to see a sea of orange on TV,” Dykstra-DiLallo said. “We really want to show the cameras how great and welcoming Breck is. We are showcasing our community to the world through this event, and it’s pretty amazing.”