Colorado - A Biker's Paradise

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This past week the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge rolled through Colorado and ended up being a massive success. Richard Scharf from Visit Denver noted in a news article that tens of millions of people from 160 different countries watched the race on television, and towns like Breckenridge reported their largest crowds in history. While expected revenue for the state was estimated around $70 million, rumor has it that it ended up being closer to $100 million. The race highlighted 11 cities this year, including Colorado Springs, Crested Butte, Salida, Steamboat Springs, Vail, Breckenridge, Golden, Denver, Avon, Gunnison, and Aspen. The 11 different cities for next year won't be chosen until December, yet the committee is already getting overwhelming amounts of bids, which they say, "is a good problem to have". Excitingly, the first five overall winners were all from the USA, with Levi Leipheimer coming in first.

I was kind of bummed I had to work because I really didn't want to miss the race and all the action that went along with it. Luckily me and a fellow co-worker (because of our good work ethic) got to go out with two of our managers and watch the race go by on company time, I was stoked! There was an insane amount of vehicles, including police cars/motorcycles that started driving down the road a good 10 minutes before the first group of bikers cruised by. What was even more surprising was that once the first 5 bikers went by with their entourage, it was a good 5 minutes before the next large group came through. Below is a video I took with the first 4 leaders, followed by the next group (which was also the largest). The video below that are the highlights from TV of stage 5, that ended in Breckenridge.

Colorado doesn't just cater to road bikers though! The week before the Pro Cycling Challenge Breckenridge hosted the Breck Epic, an annual mountain bike race that has began attracting riders from as far away as British Columbia and Puerto Rico. As described from Breck Epic's Facebook page: "Are you tough enough? The Breck Epic is a 6-day ultra-endurance mountain bike stage race held in the sprawling backcountry surrounding the Victorian mining town of Breckenridge, Colorado. If the course were a person it would be dressed in black leather and brandishing something nasty, but it does have a tender side – proceeds from the B.E. benefit local open space initiatives and trail improvements." (I actually just got the statics on this race: 6 days - 251 miles - 42k vertical... wow.)

 The Breck Epic was also a success, noted in The Summit Daily by Mark Halwa from British Columbia: "Eight of us from British Columbia just came down to participate in the 2011 Breck Epic. On behalf of all of us — we're very impressed! We experienced a first-class event, well built and challenging trails, very nice, helpful people in all the shops and restaurants, and all eight of us left behind a bundle of our disposable income.

We, too, live in a mountain biking/outdoors community, but the level of cooperation to build the mountain bike trail network you have — as well as that great paved trail between Frisco and Breck — is very apparent, and I'm sure you folks are very proud of what you have.

Some time ago I'll bet the question was asked, “If we build them (mountain bike trails), will they come?” Well, you did build them, we came, we'll be back, and we'll probably spend even more money next time. Congratulations to Mike McCormack and his team for putting on a world-class event in a community that has something very special — you rock Breckenridge

Okay, okay... So you're not a road biker or a mountain biker, I get it. You're apart of the younger generation whose into the dirt jumping, race tracks, pump tracks, and more... Don't worry, we covered that for you this summer as well. A project that has been three years in the making, also known as the Frisco Peninsula Bike Park, that started last fall, has exploded into a plethora of jumps, wood features, twists, and turns at Frisco's Recreation Center. This may not be completely accurate, but as of now, the bike park consists of three different pump tracks for different levels, a slopestyle mountain bike park, a pump track, and I believe a race track is underway. Here are some pictures from their blog, which you can check out at www.friscopeninsulabikepark.com. Oh yeah, did I mention that it's free?

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