Breckenridge braces for Pro Cycling Challenge
Ryan Summerlin July 26, 2013
The world’s best pro cyclists will be traveling 683 miles through the Rocky Mountains on one inch of rubber in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge — and making a stop in Summit County along their way.
The race is expected to be one of the largest spectator cycling events in America, and Breckenridge has been chosen as a race host for the third year in a row.
The weeklong race will be taking place between Aug. 19 and 25.
Breck is a major stop along the epic race route. The world’s top athletes will cross the Stage 2 finish line on Main Street on Tuesday, Aug. 20. They’ll have a night’s rest, then head back to Main Street at 9 a.m. Wednesday to begin Stage 3.
The Breckenridge Local Organizing Committee hosted a meeting on Thursday evening to go over race details and help community members start planning for the nationally acclaimed cycling event. Organizers cautioned community members to be prepared for traffic impacts and road closures in Summit County during the race.
Race organizers said they are trying to get the word out to the community beforehand so no one is caught off guard by delays.
“We’re trying to do everything we can possibly do to make sure that no one is shocked that this thing is happening,” said Lucy Kay, event co-chairwoman.
Despite impacts on the community, “we think in the long haul it’s well worth it,” she said.
A variety of activities will coincide with the Pro Challenge as it arrives in Breckenridge.
Riders aren’t expected to come through the finish line until about 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 20, but the Finish Festival will start at 1 p.m. and include bike stunt shows, a hand-cycling competition and junior street sprint finals. A free concert by Railroad Earth will conclude the festivities at 5:30 p.m.
Another string of activities will kick off at the “Start Village” at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, including strider races, bike stunt shows and pond-crossing competitions. Spectators can bid farewell to the racers at 11 a.m. on Main Street, near Blue River Plaza as they start Stage 3.
Earlier in the morning, Pro Challenge cyclists will be gathered in the Tiger Dredge parking lot warming up, event organizers said.
“That’s a great scene for people to walk around and see the riders and get autographs,” said Jen Cawley, a co-chairwoman for the event.
Spectators can find a spot anywhere along on Main Street or Park Avenue to watch the cyclists as they embark on Stage 3. This will be one of the best vantage points to see the action, organizers said.
During race day, there will be three JumboTron screens set up throughout town broadcasting the action as it happens. A screen at the Riverwalk Center Lawn will offer live viewing and nightly film features the entire week of the U.S.A. Pro Cycling Challenge.
Road closures will be distributed through the SCAlert system. The county website will offer text alerts regarding road closures for anyone who signs up. The Colorado Department of Transportation and Breckenridge Police Department will also be announcing road closures.
Assistant police chief Greg Morrison said his department will do everything it can to be considerate of community members in Breckenridge and in impacted neighborhoods, while taking the safety of the riders into account.
“We have to make absolutely sure that the course is safe, it’s closed and there’s no debris on the roadway before we let riders come in,” Morrison said.
Additional information about the event, including parking, race routes and road closures, can be found at www.BreckProCycling.com.
Summit Daily News reporter Jessica Smith contributed to this article.