|Stage 1 (2nd day)|
|Salida, CO - Start of Stage 1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge|
|The area around Salida, CO|
|Crested Butte, CO - Finish of Stage 1. Photo by PedalDancer.com|
|The area around Crested Butte|
|Crested Butte and Mt Crested Butte map|
|Downtown Crested Butte|
Official route of Stage 1
The route is 99.4 miles over a long steady climb west up Monarch Pass (summit at mile 26.5), elevation 11,312 feet (3,448 m). 5505 ft total elevation gain. 10 miles of 5-7% grade before Monarch Pass summit. The race will finish up the hill to the Mt Crested Butte ski area, not in downtown.
Rider sign-in begins at 10:30. Race begins just outside of downtown at 11:30 and head straight to Monarch Pass. Monarch pass is closed from 9:45 - 12:45. 0You will not be able to get over the pass until the road reopens. Use the detour route. Monarch Pass will be closed to traffic (full road closure). You will be able to see the start in Salida and quickly leave to see the finish in Crested Butte via the detour according to race organizers.
You will be able to leave Salida and reach Crested Butte and Mt Crested Butte via Cottonwood pass in time for the finish. To reach Monarch pass for the KOM, you must leave Salida 30 minutes before the START. You could also reach Gunnison in time for the Sprint points mid-stage. Only chalk, not paint on the roads please.
The best race viewing options will be at the casual start village in Salida, on the top of the climb of Monarch Pass (although they will pass over the summit very quickly), or at the top of the ski station above Crested Butte at Mt Crested Butte. Community events and activities in the area: What's happening around town?
Option A) Fit riders will be able to ride the entire distance from Salida to Gunnison or Crested Butte. Although you may not be able to make the entire distance before the racers come through. Option B) Monarch Pass is a 26.5 mile ride west of Salida. Option C) The ride from Gunnison into Crested Butte is a gradual uphill 27.7 mile ride. Bicycles will be allowed on the race route, but you will be asked to dismount as the race approaches.
Your best option to travel from Salida to Gunnison is over the same roads the race is following (consider rolling closures and traffic). Traffic can follow the race, but cannot pass. The race organizers also claim you will be able to depart the town of Salida after the stage start in town and travel via Buena Vista and Cottonwood Pass and reach Crested Butte in time to see the finish. Cottonwood Pass will close today at 3:00pm for road repairs (the day before the stage from Gunnison to Aspen). To reach Monarch pass for the KOM, you must leave Salida 30 minutes before the START. You could also reach Gunnison in time for the Sprint points mid-stage.
Camping is allowed along the roads on the passes, please read Camping and road closures
About the area:
Salida is approximately a 3-hour drive southwest from Denver, or a 2-hour drive from Colorado Springs, or the previous day's Prologue Stage on August 22, 2011. Salida has a population of 5,343 residents. The continental divide is west of the town, and a number of fourteeners (14,000 ft mountain peaks) offer spectacular local views. Local activities include river rafting, kayaking, fly fishing, mountain biking and hiking.
Crested Butte is a 2 hour drive west of Salida. The town of Crested Butte has a population of 8885, but grows considerably during the winter ski season. Mount Crested Butte is the ski resort located just above the main town. Mountain biking and hiking are very popular during the summer. Fishing is popular in local rivers, with boating and fishing at Blue Mesa reservoir (Curecanti National Recreation Area) an easy 1 hour drive away (west of Gunnison, CO).
Accommodations may be found near the start town of Salida (or nearby Buena Vista), or in the finish town of Crested Butte (or Mount Crested Butte, and Gunnison). Visitors will find hotels, restaurants, art shops, and coffee shops in Salida, Gunnison, and Crested Butte. Lots of art galleries and cafes http://salida.com/
Cycling Routes in the area:
From Salida it is a 55.5-mile trek over Poncha Pass to Villa Grove: CR 120 to the end at U.S. 285 and turn left. Take 285 over Poncha Pass to Villa Grove. From Buena Vista it is approximately a 32 mile climb up and back to Cottonwood Pass. From Salida to Monarch Pass is 26.5 miles one-way.
Crested Butte: has a festival, beer garden and lived music planned as well. Read more about the town plans for the community USA Pro Challenge in Crested Butte and Gunnison.