26 February 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue route

Colorado Springs - Prologue
Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs 
1:15 PM Start / 3:30 PM Expected Finish (of last rider)
(riders depart start in 1 minute intervals) USA Prologue rider starting times
Distance: 5.18 miles
Official route of the Prologue
Video of route (select video tab): Prologue route video
Official Route Map Prologue 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Prologue profile map
The Prologue is day 1 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, it is not Stage 1. The race will begin with a Prologue in Colorado Springs, and follow with six stages totally 7 straight days of racing, with no rest days. What is a Prologue? Read Word of the Day: Prologue

This is the planned route and stages (Stage 1 is on day 2). 
The Prologue is a race for sprinters on time trial bikes
Prologues are traditional (but not mandatory) starts to a multi-day stage race. A prologue can be thought of as an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details. Certainly in cycling the prologue is what you see in front of the curtain, the opening pageantry preceding the race (although it is still a race). The Prologue marks the first time the majority of the fans will be presented with the racers. The first introduction and sign-in of the riders can be quite fun to watch. It is also the time when every rider will be present (later sickness or crashes or quits may eliminate some riders from the race).
The night before the Prologue will be filled with PR ritual: press meetings, photographs, dinners, sponsor highlights, VIP extras, and formal team presentations. The racers are kept busy with PR obligations. Behind the scenes team staff will be scrambling to get their equipment, food, bags, bikes, cars, security and plans arranged for the action packed week ahead.
In cycling the term Prologue is defined as: a short individual time trial before a stage race, used to determine which rider wears the leader's jersey on the first stage. The time trial could be very short. In 2008, the Tour of California featured a 2.4 mile Prologue. Fabian Cancellara won that day with a time of 0:03'51". That is a fast prologue! You may not see each rider for a long period, but the riders will be spread out over hours. That means hours of fun hanging out as a fan watching the pageantry. (Note: in 2011, the Tour of California will not have a Prologue, they will begin immediately with Stage 1).
So remember, for USA Pro Cycling Challenge Day 1 is a Prologue, Day 2 is Stage 1.
DAY 1: Monday, August 22nd: PrologueColorado Springs
Route Details:
The Prologue will include the Garden of the Gods. The Route will be 5.2 miles long. Update: 06/06/11: The official route of the Prologue
map by OutThereColorado.com
Garden of the Gods
The Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs. Both the Park and Visitor & Nature Center are free and open to the public.
click any image to enlarge
What you will see at the Prologue:
- Limited access to press meetings, team dinners, sponsor dinners, team presentation
- Rider sign-in 1.5 hrs up to 10 minutes prior to the race start. The riders will walk up onto stage to give their signature as an official sign-in. The rider is often presented to the fans by the race announcer.
- Riders or more often their soigneurs or mechanics will ride the bike for weigh-in prior to the rider's race time.
- Riders will be warming up on their bikes on spinners in the morning or afternoon. Riders do not ride around the area, but will venture out (near their team buses) to say hello to family and friends.
- There will be a vender area displaying industry merchandise. 
- Expect some sections with heavy traffic on the route to be barricaded, with a few points for crossing.
- Also expect the VIP area to be fenced off, and likely take up the prime viewing area (they do need to make money remember). The VIP area can be really annoying and block the path of non-paying fans. Accept it as simply part of the day.
- Riders will then approach the start gate and race the time trial individually in set time periods.
- Start times should be published, so you will know which riders are starting at what time.
- You will see a steady flow of riders take the start and ride the race course.
- You can watch them roll down the start ramp, watch them maneuver a corner mid-course, or see them race across the finish line. (There will be a clock at the finish line)
- There may be large screen TVs near the finish area to watch the riders on route or approaching. If you are near the finish area you will be able to hear the race announcers. 
- After a rider races, they will not be out in public view, they will rest inside eating and drinking and receiving a quick massage to prepare for the next days race.
- After all riders have finished there will be a formal awards presentation by two lovely Podium Girls, where the Leaders Jersey will be given to the rider in 1st place.

Levi Leipheimer approaches the sign-in stage at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California with Dave Towle in the background introducing the eventual overall winner Michael Rogers.   Photo by PedalDancer.com
The start area will look similar to this one at the 2010 Tour of California.  Photo by PedalDancer.com
*Fan tips:
Stage facts
Riders will warm up (starting at 11:30am) and start from Garden of the Gods. The finish, expo and awards podium are in downtown. Bring your bike to get around, the course is only 5.2 miles long, moving a car and reparking will be difficult. Once the race begins there will be NO crossing the course at all. Use back roads to bike from the start to the finish. Riders go off every 60 seconds starting at 1:15, the last 10 riders are 2 minutes apart. The last 17 riders will be the team leaders of each of the 17 teams. The last rider should finish at 3:55pm.

Garden of the Gods – Colorado Springs (5.2 mi.)
1:15 PM Start / 3:55 PM Expected Finish (of last rider)
Bring a copy of the Prologue start list schedule with you, it should be (I hope!) online at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge website (or possibly in the local paper). Also bring a cheat sheet of team jerseys or roster bib #s (unless you know them by heart). No matter where you are on the course for the Prologue, you will be able to tell who will be coming next if you know the rider's jersey and the time. The riders pass by so quickly it is difficult to tell who is who in a flash of a moment, unless you have seen the riders for years. This is the day to enjoy the atmosphere of being at the race.
Option A) commuting into the area by bike is always a good idea to relieve and avoid vehicle traffic, however, bring a good bike lock to lock up your bike. It is not very easy to move as a fan while rolling your bike along with you, but because the route is so short it could add better movement and flexibility between the start and finish areas.
* Amateur Time Trial Date: August 22nd, 2011 Location: Colorado Springs. Prior to the Pros riding the same course. I am trying to find more information bout this event for amateur cyclists. 
Colorado Springs is a 1 hour 20 minute drive south of downtown Denver, Colorado. Stage 1 begins the next day in Salida, CO, a 2 hour drive west. For locals, it will be easy to drive to the Prologue for the day from nearby cities, but it is a Monday - so commuter traffic can be tremendous in downtown Denver, the Denver Tech Center south of Denver, and again in Colorado Springs between 7:00-9:00am and 3:30-6:30pm.
Time Schedule:
Please read Start and Finish times and maps
The drive from Denver to Colorado Springs
The drive from Colorado Springs to Salida
About the area:
Colorado Springs has a historic downtown area, with rolling terrain east of town and also near the foothills. The beautiful campus of the US Air Force Academy is just north of downtown. The home complex of the United States Olympic Committee (with a nice outdoor velodrome) is located near downtown. Colorado Springs sits at the base of 14,115ft Pikes Peak.  The city has a population of 405,000, at 6,035ft elevation.
Garden of the Gods
Accommodations may be found anywhere between Denver and Colorado Springs, however driving in for the day will be easy but congested. Hiking and golfing are very popular during the summer. Driving to the top of Pikes Peak is possible. There is caving, the Olympic Center, a rodeo museum, and a small local zoo. Must sees in the area: Garden of the Gods (park)! The Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Natural Landmark in Colorado Springs. Both the Park and Visitor & Nature Center are free and open to the public.
Cycling Routes in the area:
The Air Force Academy will be closed for security reasons. Black Forest is a nice area to ride a bike, although water is more scarce out in the rural ranch lands.
Warm and windy, around 70+ degrees.
Lots more information on the PedalDancer.com USA Pro Cycling Challenge Page 
And even more on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge website