USA Pro Challenge - take two
Year two of the USAPC spectating in the books. And while the riders still have two days out on the road, we are through with following for another year. This time, we got to watch two stages - and it was much more fun then camping on the pass and watching the peloton rolling slowly up hill. And we got to watch more of the race by staying in towns then going out on the trail and following the racers.
Stage 2 - Montrose to Crested Butte. We were in Gunnison for the 24 Hours in the Sage and decided to stay another day to watch the race roll through town. Monday before the race, Larry Grossman, the race announcer jumped in the Citizen's crit. It was a decent sized Field, with some heavy hitter locals such as Dave Wiens. Larry got a good start and got on Dave's wheel to shell the rest of the field. And it was a race between the two of them to the line, with Larry taking the sprint. Tuesday was the big day - a pass thru day for Gunnison, with the sprint point right on the main drag. We loaded up the Turtle and headed downtown. Found a good place to park, and took our chairs over to the square to watch the race on the Jumbotron. That was fun - along with the people watching that came with it. As the race neared town, the square emptied and the spectators lined the road. There wasn't much of a sprint because of the breakaway out front, but the peloton came through in a long, thin line - chasing hard. Then we headed back to the chairs to watch the finish in Mount Crested Butte. And the atmosphere was electric - I could hardly hear what Phil and Paul were saying on the broadcast because of the people cheering!
Stage 5 - Breckenridge to Colorado Springs. How could we not miss a finish right downtown? And with the three circuits around town, that made it even more appealing! We got downtown early enough to watch the Ride Stage 5 Crits - great racing by some locals speedsters, wandered around the finish expo, then secured a patch of sidewalk to watch the race rolling down Ute Pass into town. Watching them rolling past familiar landmarks was fun - and the speeds were fast. Then thru Garden of the Gods and onto the fast roll into town down Colorado Blvd. Three laps, up Cascade and down Tejon, with the break holding on for two of the three laps. Then the catch and one more lap to go. I could feel the wind in my hair as the peloton passed by! We caught the finish on the Jumbotron because there was no room along the roads near the finish! Again, the noise level was just incredible with cowbells, people cheering and banging on the boards
|Larry Grossman - Leading out Dave Wiens for the sprint at the Monday Crit!|
|The breakaway rolling through Main Street Gunnison|
|Leaders of the Peloton rolling thru Gunnison - a little out of focus!|
|The Ride Stage Five crit with a MTB national champion in the lead!|
|Here they come - the Maxis car leads the way down Cascade|
|BMC leading the chase on the first of the three circuits downtown|
|The break - trying to hold on to the finish - they would get caught on this lap.|
|Cars waiting after the race - that's a lot of bikes!|