Pedal Dancer® - A bike travel blog for fans and cyclists. Interest, information and enthusiasm about being a fan, cycling, traveling, and riding a bike. Light on opinion, heavy on information and joy of the sport. Quality of information is very important to me as well as creating a sense of cycling community for visiting fans to any bike race. Pedal Dancer is a sport and travel guide with cycling photography, maps, stories and travel recommendations.

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
http://www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com/stages/prologue
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
Fans:   
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.
Cyclists:   
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. 
Drivers:
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
Tourists:
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.
Weather:
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


25 February 2011

Pictures that make me laugh: Jan Ullrich

Image of the Day: Jan Ullrich 
It's Friday! Let's celebrate with a cold one with Jan. 
Meanwhile we know what this guy is doing now ...

24 February 2011

Pictures that make me laugh: Dave Zabriskie

Image of the Day: Zabriskie's individual style 
David Zabriskie demonstrates the dangle below the chin strap look. What - you thought I was laughing at something else? At least his sunglasses are placed OVER the helmet strap. This image makes me so proud to be a cyclist! 


22 February 2011

Recommended Reading: Cycling Photography

Fifteen Ideas For Photographing Professional Bicycle Races

Some good tips on sports photography at cycling races by G Dan Mitchell Photography.  (He has some excellent photos on his website from the Tour of California - I just can't post them for you to see because of copyrights)

20 February 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 2 route

Gunnison to Aspen

Wednesday, August 24th: Stage 2 Gunnison to Aspen 
Official route of Stage 2
 9:45 AM Start, 3:00-4:15 PM Finish
Video of route (select video tab):  Stage 2 route video
Distance: 131.1 miles

Cottonwood Pass closed: August 23 at 3:00 pm until August 24 at 1:00 pm.
Independence Pass eastbound closed: August 24 11:00-4:00pm.
Independence Pass westbound closed: August 24 11:00-2:00pm.
Official Route Map Stage 2 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Stage 2 route profile
Camping
The active hard working people at Bicycle Colorado have provided good news about camping for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado. They bring the fans good news that roadside "European Tour Camping" will be allowed for this event. Please read more on the Bicycle Colorado website at: Camping for USA Pro Cycling Challenge Fans on race route, European-style Race Spectating comes to Colorado. 


Gunnison: The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is coming to Colorado, August 22-28, 2011.
the town of Gunnison has a lot planned for the community and fans, including a special for Kids on bikes to be able to race off the official start line at 10:15 a.m.  The Queen Stage Downtown Expo kicks off in downtown Gunnison at 8 a.m. Read more about the town plans for the community USA Pro Challenge in Crested Butte and Gunnison
Stage 2 (day 3)
Gunnison, CO - Start of Stage 2 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Downtown Gunnison
Area near Gunnison
Stage 2 will start in Gunnison, Colorado, (a town just south of the previous day's finish in Crested Butte, CO). The stage will finish in Aspen, Colorado. The route features 2 major climbs: Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass. The route of the second stage will head north out of Gunnison over rolling terrain, turning northeast up a beautiful green valley ravine along a river and lake (reservoir), before heading east over the climb of Cottonwood Pass. Much of Cottonwood Pass is a pressed gravel dirt road. Although unpaved, the road is suitable for climbing on a road bike (trickier to descend).
West side of Cottonwood Pass
Cottonwood Pass road
Once at the summit of Cottonwood Pass, the east side of the road is paved. The winding descent off the summit quickly becomes a long fast nearly straight descent into the town of Buena Vista, CO.
Buena Vista, CO
The riders will then turn 90 degrees left traveling on the main highway north before turning left again toward Twin Lakes, where the long steady beautiful climb over Independence Pass begins.
Twin Lakes
Independence Pass
Independence Pass east side
The descent down Independence Pass is fast and technical into the finish area of the posh high adventure town of Aspen, Colorado.
Independence Pass west side
Aspen, CO - Finish of Stage 2 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Downtown Aspen
Route Details:
The route is approximately 131.1 miles over mixed terrain including the gravel road over Cottonwood Pass (climb begins at mile 36, summit at mile 48 or 49), elevation 12,126 feet (3696 m).  Approximately 12 miles of 3-6% grade before Cottonwood Pass summit. Independence Pass (summit at mile 109-110), elevation 12,095 feet (3687 m). The majority of the climb of the east ascent of Independence Pass is 2-3% grade with maybe 2 miles of 6% and then 5% grade just before the summit of Independence Pass. Both mountain pass descents have -5 and -6% grades. Total elevation gain for the route is 8,757 ft.

Race Facts:
Rider sign- in begins at 9:00 in Gunnison. There will be a sprint in Almont, and a sprint in Buena Vista. Two KOM on Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass. You will be able to see the start in Gunnison and a sprint in Buena Vista. You will not be able to see both KOM by car or bike. Independence Pass will be closed to vehicles starting at noon on both side. Use only chalk on the roads, no paint. Do not drive from Crested Butte to Aspen via Pearl Pass, this is a $WD dirst road with high river crossings. There is a womens criterium in the town of Aspen before the finish.

Fans: 
The best race viewing options will be at the start area (possibly near the town park or College) in Gunnison, picnicking along the route near the river on CO Road 742 outside of Almont, or at Taylor Park Reservoir. Also anywhere along the climb of Cottonwood Pass, or watching the peloton quickly pass through the town of Buena Vista, or anywhere on the climb of Independence Pass, or at the finish in the picturesque town of Aspen. Aspen is a town with plentiful cafes and bars to await the finish. 

Mileage between towns on Stage 2:
Gunnison to Cottonwood Pass: 36.0 miles
Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista: 32.2 miles
Buena Vista to Independence Pass: 42.8 miles
Independence Pass to Aspen: 19.8 miles



What time will the pros arrive on Cottonwood Pass?

Mileage between towns on Stage 2:
Gunnison to Cottonwood Pass: 36.0 miles
Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista: 32.2 miles
Buena Vista to Independence Pass: 42.8 miles
Independence Pass to Aspen: 19.8 miles



What time will the pros arrive on Cottonwood Pass?
Gunnison to Cottonwood Pass: 36.0 miles - pros might arrive at 11:30-12:30 pm
Cottonwood Pass to Buena Vista: 32.2 miles -
pros might arrive at 12:30-1:30 pm
What time will the pros arrive on Independence Pass?
Buena Vista to Independence Pass: 42.8 miles - pros might arrive at 2:45-3:30 pm
Independence Pass to Aspen: 19.8 miles - pros might arrive at 3:00-4:15 pm

Cyclists:  
Option A) If you are based near Crested Butte or Gunnison, riders with a sag support, can ride over Cottonwood Pass (spectating the race at the summit) and then descend into Buena Vista to meet their sag support vehicle in town (sag support should drive via Monarch Pass). Enjoy a drink or meal and by then the road to Aspen should have less traffic. Option B) If you will be based in the town of Aspen, definitely climb up the west side of Independence Pass to watch the riders come over the summit before the finish back in town. Option C) If you are based in Buena Vista, you can ride the long east side (22 miles) climb to Independence Pass. If you have a bicycle, the best experience is always riding part of the route, and spectating on the mountain passes. A strong second is having a picnic alongside the road and cheering on the amateurs as they climb by.

Mountain Pass Road Closures Stage 2:
Cottonwood Pass closed: August 23 at 3:00 pm until August 24 at 1:00 pm.
Independence Pass eastbound closed: August 24 11:000 or 12-4:00pm.
Independence Pass westbound closed: August 24 11:00 or 12-2:00pm.

Any cyclists trying to climb up Independence Pass after the race should be aware of the car, foot, and bicycle traffic descending back down the road toward you. 
When riding in Colorado, safely estimate 14-16mph, as your average ride time to allow for stops, regrouping, picture taking, weather, finding water (no domestiques) and food (no feed zones for you). Add in our famous altitude as an explanation for slower climbing speeds, and you realize why in it geographically and physiologically improbable to do it all - start and finish. 
For those claiming they will ride the entire 131.1 route of Stage 2 on race day, 100 miles in Colorado is a big deal, the Triple Bypass is 120 miles of a really big deal. Anyone who has ridden Ride the Rockies or Bicycle Tour of Colorado will tell you, you could be biting off more than you can chew (I am telling you that, and I've done the Lourdes - Tourmalet - Luz Ardiden loop on a day of the Tour de France). This route is perfect for a 2-day ride. Riding hard, stopping for a couple hours and riding hard again - is well, hard.
But if you must, I would suggest heading out very early in the morning, and trying to get as far as you can along the road before they close it for the race. Then ride the remainder after the race passes through. Booking it in Colorado will achieve 18 mph, standard will be 13mph. You have the dirt climb of Cottonwood Pass (slower speeds), and then Independence Pass, which comes at 110 miles into the route of Stage 2. Allow 6 hours at booking it and 9 hrs at standard speed to get to this point, plus more time to gather water and food. Allowing for race and road closures you are looking at a 9-12 hour day. The sun will rise at 6:19am, and set at 7:41pm.

* Cell phone coverage in the mountains of Colorado can be spotty, it may be difficult to contact all members of your group throughout the day. Also fueling yourself at altitude for a 131 mile climb should not be taken lightly by flatlanders, unless you have acclimated and trained well for this type of riding. 
Race organizers estimate it will take the (fully supported) Pros upwards of 5.5 hrs (23-24 mph) to ride Stage 2. The fact that the race begins at 9:45am, and the organizers estimate the finish time into Aspen to be between 3:00 and 4:15pm, means they have no idea how long this route will take the pros to race. I've never before seen an hour and fifteen minute window of estimated arrival before.

Drivers and Cyclist *** Cottonwood Pass Road Closure
There will be no driving on Cottonwood Pass from the Gunnison County side starting at 3 p.m. on Aug. 23 (the night before!) so crews can put the final touches on the gravel road.  Western State College will provide shuttles from Taylor Park on the morning of Aug. 24 to get you as close as possible to the action or plan to ride your bike or hike up from the road closure point.

Drivers:
Gunnison is approximately 34 minutes, by car, south of Crested Butte. There are two options to drive to Aspen the western route through Hotchkiss and Carbondale into Aspen (3hr 45min drive). Or the eastern route back over Monarch Pass to Buena Vista following the race route over Independence Pass and into Aspen (3hrs 15mins). I would recommend selecting and getting to your viewing station in the morning (or the day before on Cottonwood Pass) and either hiking, biking, or eating to pass the time with friends or family.

Also the road on the west side of Independence pass is very narrow, RV campervans are tight passage. Both of these passes are closed in winter. Please be aware that there will definitely be cyclists climbing in the road, fans in the middle of the road drawing with chalk, and children playing. Leave lots of time to drive in a car so you do not feel rushed.

Camping: 
Camping will be allowed please read: Camping and road closures

Time Schedule:
Please read Start and Finish times and maps

About the area:
Gunnison has a population of 5406 residents, elevation 7,703ft.  The continental divide is east of the town, and a number of fourteeners stretch north and south along the mountain range (14,000 ft mountain peaks) offering spectacular local views for drivers and cyclists. Local activities include fly fishing, lake fishing, kayaking, mountain biking and hiking.

The town of Aspen has a population of 6,671, but grows considerably during the winter ski season, and in fall when tourists come to see the changing colors of the aspen trees. The elevation of Aspen, CO is 7,908ft. Aspen is a ski resort town known for high price real estate, and hard driving outdoor athletes. Mountain biking, hiking, golfing, and gold medal fly fishing are very popular during the summer.

Map of the 14,000ft mountain peaks

These are the mountains that lie between Salida, Aspen, and Vail, Colorado, near the Stages of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. There are 53 mountains in Colorado over 14,000 feet in height. Read more about what makes hiking so popular in this state at 14ers.com and Fourteeners.org

Most of the 14ers in Colorado are accessible by foot, a few have roads to the top including Pikes Peak (near Colorado Springs) and Mount Evans (near Idaho Springs). 
Tourists:
Accommodations may be found near the start town of Crested Butte (or Mount Crested Butte, and Gunnison), camping near Taylor Park Reservoir, more hotels along the route in Buena Vista, camping near Twin Lakes, or at the finish town of Aspen, CO. Visitors will find hotels, restaurants, art shops, and coffee shops in the main towns on the route of Gunnison, Buena Vista, and Aspen. Must sees in the area: Maroon Bells near Aspen/Snowmass.

Cycling Routes in the Area: Ohio Pass Road (take Colorado 32 north 5 miles from Gunnison) partial gravel road. Ninemile Hill, west of town toward Blue Mesa and Lake City on Colorado 149. The first part of Stage 2 from Gunnison to Almont and up Taylor Canyon to the reservoir, 65-70 mile round trip.

Weather: 
Similar to the Pyrenees. It can be hot, it can be very windy, it can be cold and stormy on the mountain passes (even in summer), but it is always high altitude and very dry (sunscreen and lots of water are necessary!).

Lots more information on the PedalDancer.com USA Pro Cycling Challenge Page
Or more on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge website
Update 03/01/11: a very hopeful sign: Aspen approves money for Quiznos cycling event

19 February 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 1 route

Salida to Crested Butte

Official route of Stage 1 
Route Video (select video tab): Stage 1 video 
11:15 AM Start, 3:15-4:15 PM Finish 
Distance: 99.4 miles  
Official Route Map Stage 1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Stage 1 route profile map
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is coming to Colorado, August 22-28, 2011. This past week it was announced that Shawn Hunter, former AEG president, was hired to head the management team. Meanwhile fans, teams, locals, and officials are starting to form an interest in making plans.
Downtown Salida
Stage 1 (2nd day)
Salida, CO - Start of Stage 1 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
The area around Salida, CO
Monarch Pass
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
Tuesday, August 23rd: Stage 1 — Salida to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 1 will start in Salida, Colorado, and finish in Crested Butte, Colorado. The road climbs over the Continental Divide, descending into the town of Gunnison, then turns north over rolling hills up the valley to the picturesque ski town of Crested Butte, and then up the 3 mile climb to Mt Crested Butte. 
Route Details:
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.
Race Facts: 
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.
Fans:
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?
Cyclists: 
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. 
Drivers:
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: 
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).
Tourists:
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.  

Lots more information on the PedalDancer.com USA Pro Cycling Challenge Page 
And even more on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge website