20 August 2015

How to see Stage 7 of USA Pro Challenge 2015

SUNDAY, August 23, STAGE 7 - Golden to Denver

What is the best way to see Stage 7 of the 2015 USA Pro Challenge as a fan? Whether this is your fifth year of attending this exciting race, or you are a totally new fan to the event, this easy one-page guide is intended to help locals and tourists better plan for watching Stage 7 in Golden and Denver.

The men's route of Stage 7 is very similar to the final route of the stage race in 2011. the women's route is a 1.3 miles loop and will be repeated for one-hour. The race has finished in Denver every year of its five-year history. Golden has been a Host City every year except 2013.

Find what you need to know about Stage 7 of the USA Pro Challenge in Golden and Denver, below in the following order: Stage 7 dates, stage information, start time, finish time, sprint location, KOM location, classification Jerseys, route map, climb profiles, race organization, city tourism, town websites, local events, road closures, VIP tickets, apparel, TV coverage, Tour Tracker app, media coverage, stage preview, recommendations, where to ride, results, current standings and photos.

Seal Pond in Civic Center Park, Denver floats the USA Pro Challenge logo. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Golden, The wall mural of Mountain Toad Brewery in Golden. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
  • Golden to Denver
  • climb of Lookout Mountain
  • Women's Criterium in Golden
  • Men's Road Race from Golden to Denver
  • The men's race will complete 4 laps in Denver
  • Same route in Denver as in 2014
  • WOMEN'S Stage 3 Start time: 10:30 am (plan your early arrival for the women's race)
  • WOMEN'S Stage 3 Finish time: estimated 11:30 am
  • WOMEN's Podium Presentation in Golden 
  • Podium Presentation typically 15-minutes after all riders finish the stage  
  • MEN'S Stage 7 Start time: 1:10 pm 
  • MEN'S Stage 7 Finish time: approximate 3:38-4:18 pm (3:45-4:03 expected)
  • MEN's Podium Presentation on a stage placed on the street near the finish area after.
  • Stage Log / Schedule of arrival at streets on route: Stage 7 Log
  • LEXUS CLUB VIP Hospitality opens at 1:00 pm on Broadway (near Colfax) $250 Buy tickets
  • Road closures: CDOT (select tab at left) 
  • Stage start area near the team buses and sign-in stage are great places to get autographs  
  • Denver Stage 7 Finish Festival hours: 11:30 am - 5:00 pm in Civic Center Park
*Important Note: The women’s podium will take place after the Finish in Golden. The GC & Stage winners will then head to Denver to take part in the men’s press conference (press conference closed to the public).    

What I plan to do tomorrow:

Show up in Golden at 9:30am. Watch the women's criterium from 10:30-11:30am. See the women's Podium Presentation at 11:45am. Go to the team buses around 12:00pm and then to the final sign-in stage at 12:30pm. See the men's race start in Golden at 1:10pm. Drive to Denver, walk through the festival in Civic Center Park. See the finish, watch the podium presentation. Go to the press conference and go home. Pet the dog. Sleep.
Map of 2015 USA Pro Challenge Colorado
Map of 2015 USA Pro Challenge Colorado

STAGE 7 - Golden to Denver maps - 4 laps in Denver!
Sunday, August 23, STAGE 7 - road race  

The race in 2015:

Crossing some of the most spectacular scenery in Colorado, through many of our most popular towns, this bike race is called a stage race (UCI 2.HC). The same group of riders will race day after day for seven days, from city to city across the state of Colorado, with no rest day. The man (and woman!) with the lowest time wins. Although the Grand Tours in Europe (Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana) are up to 3-weeks in length, and the Tour of California is an 8-day race extending over two weekends, the Colorado tour is a one week race from Monday, August 17th through Sunday, August 23rd.

The 3rd stage of the women's race will begin and end in Golden on the same day as the men's final stage from Golden to Denver. Be aware of early road closures. 

The architecture of Golden (founded 1859, gold rush) reminds me of Durango (founded 1881, railroad). Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

MENS TEAMS: Read much more about the teams selected in this Pedal Dancer® post: Which Teams will race in the USA Pro Challenge 2015?  Official startlist of riders has not yet been announced by race organizers.

WOMENS TEAMS: Read much more about the teams selected in this Pedal Dancer® post: USA Pro Challenge 2015 Women's Teams Announced

Team BMC in 2015. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

STAGE 3 - Golden - WOMENS
Sunday, August 23, 2015
60 minutes plus 3 laps
Circuit Race (repeated laps, within a set time, the race does not continue to Denver)

Sprint: Downtown Loveland
KOM: Rist Canyon

Stage 3 Women's Route Map pdf
Stage 3 Women's Profile pdf
Golden Women's Circuit Route Map USA Pro Challenge 2015 - route of all laps

Golden Women's Circuit Profile USA Pro Challenge 2015 - profile of all laps

  • Start City: Golden downtown
  • Finish City: Denver downtown (4 laps in Denver)
  • 68 Miles / 110 Kilometers / 3,237 ft of climbing
  • Stage 7 Route Map pdf
  • Stage 7 Climb Profile pdf
  • Zoom in Maps
  • MENS Sprint: at Finish Line
  • MENS KOM: Lookout Mountain
  • Highlights: climb of Lookout Mountain, finish near the capital building in the state capital of Denver, after 4 laps to city Park and back.
USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route maps 2015
USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route maps 2015 - Golden to Denver
Profile map Stage 7 Golden USA Pro Challenge 2015
Profile map Stage 7 Golden USA Pro Challenge 2015
Denver Stage 7 Finish Map USA Pro Challenge 2015
Denver Stage 7 Finish Map USA Pro Challenge 2015


Lookout Mountain (one way) - from Golden
Nearby town: Golden
Area of Colorado: Golden, at the base of the foothills near I-70
Road: Lookout Mountain Road
Distance (miles): 4.5
Grade (avg.): 5%; max 7%
Ascent (ft): 1282
Max elevation (ft): 7317
Difficulty (rmcc): 2.1
Bucket list rating: 4
Nearby climbs: Deer Creek Canyon/High Grade, Golden Gate Canyon
Notes: A Front Range landmark climb, short but sweet. Nice views of Denver. You will see cyclists on this climb year-round.

Lookout Mountain profile

The switchbacks of Lookout Mountain, Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Lookout Mountain Links, discover more about the climb:
Stage 7 jersey. Buy

Race website: USAProCyclingChallenge.com
Twitter: @USAProChallenge
Facebook: USAProChallenge
Sponsors: Founding and Official Race Partners

A wonderful board, in the Sierra Nevada booth, of a map where the visitors to the 2014 Pro Challenge traveled from. 

Denver, Colorado - home to the Denver Broncos football team, Denver Avalanche hockey team  Denver Rockies baseball team, the Denver Nuggets basketball team ... and the USA Pro Challenge! This is Peyton Manning territory, cowboy country, Colorado state capital, micro-brew heaven, home of the active lifestyle in a mile-high city (5280ft). With a population of 650,000 people, Denver can feel like a big city and a small town all at the same time.

Denver, Colorado is where I live.
Racing in downtown Denver by the Art Museum. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Location of Denver in Colorado in the USA
Racing underneath the Denver Art Museum. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
THE FUN - in Golden, August 23
  • 9:00-4:00 pm - food trucks, exhibits and a beer garden in Parfet Park (10th and Washington)
  • Live race viewing on the Jumbotron in Parfet Park (10th and Washington). Watch the race end in Denver with a crowd of fans in Golden. 
  • 10:30 am - Women's Criterium start time
  • 11:30 am - Women's Criterium finish time
  • 1:10 pm - Men's Race Start time (departure to Denver)

THE FUN - in Denver, August 23
  • 11:00-5:00 pm - Festival in Civic Center Park
  • 3:45 pm - Estimated finish time (On Broadway, between 14 & Colfax)
Festival in Civic Center Park, Denver, USA Pro Challenge. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
The day a peloton races up Colfax. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Stage Schedule / Log Stage 7: streets and distances

Local City roads and State Highways Impacted by Stage 7: Road closures: CDOT (select tab at left) for USA Pro Challenge between Golden, Edgemont, Wheat Ridge and Denver. In Denver: avoid Speer Blvd from 32nd into downtown and the blocks around the capital building, Also 17th Ave will be closed between Grant and City Park (impossible to cross; use Colorado Blvd to go around).

Parking is free at all meters downtown on Sundays. 

Denver City and County Building at Civic Center Park. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
  • VIP buy tickets
  • Volunteer sign-up
  • Visit the Host Cities   
  • See the route Maps & Profiles
  • Community Events Rides, Art, Movies and Concerts
  • Shop for apparel Buy Tshirts and memorabilia or find the merchandise trailer on race day
  • Read the blog Cyclesense 365
  • Read recent Press Releases

Let's Talk VIP

Read more at: Should I buy a VIP ticket to the USA Pro Challenge? by Pedal Dancer®

Yes I would recommend buying VIP tickets. Why? The tent usually stretches along the length of the finishing stretch, you will get to see the rider pass twice AND you will not have to hold your place at the barriers all day. Also they serve great food and beverages under shaded tents, and the jersey presentation stage is nearby. I believe the purpose of VIP tickets is to afford ease of movement during the race. Don't just stay under the tent. The price however, is high, $250. Each.

Here is my tip: When it comes to VIP tickets - buy quality. Quality to me equates to visibility of the true race and need.
  • Buy Denver Finis! $250 (great atmosphere and placement on course, 4 laps), VIP tent location: on Broadway between 14th and Colfax. Very close to the final podium.
Fans watching the race live on TV in the park in Golden as the riders approach from Golden to Denver. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Where to watch the USA Pro Challenge bike race for Stage 7 in Golden and Denver


Watch the women's criterium at the top of Washington, at 18th and Illinois, or the final corner at 11th Washington. The area within 100 meters of the finish line is always exciting to see the final sprint and hear the announcers.

My recommendations on where to watch the women's criterium race in golden

For the men's race from Golden to Denver, the race begins in Golden and passes through town twice more before heading east through Arvada, Edgemont and Highlands into downtown Denver. In golden, much of the action will be centered around Washington Ave.

After the start, the northern loop around North Table Mountain Park will be done first before reentering to town and heading up the climb of Lookout Mountain. The switchbacks will be an excellent vantage point to see the peloton approach. Looping up and over the climb, the peloton returns once again to Washington St before turning right onto W 32nd Ave.

The north loop around

Two years ago I experienced a very exciting lap in the Media car around the course of the Pro Challenge through Denver to insure that I was offering the best advise possible to fans about where to see the race on race day. I can share first hand that it was super impressive to see the huge numbers of fans that lined the route.

This year you can expect two fast laps, with an even faster final meters to the line.

This will be the direction the peloton enters Denver. On 17th you will see them go in both directions.

The final circuit laps of Stage 7 in Denver will cover the same route as 2014.  If you attended the race last year in Denver, you might already have found your perfect place on race day. I have highlighted my recommended viewing areas, below.

The Expo festival area is located in Civic Center Park where race partner Sierra Nevada can be expected to have beer for sale. The open layout of the park allows fans to move freely and run from side to side to see the race on Colfax and 14th St. The finish line is very nearby on Broadway (but crowded by VIP tents).

If you find a way into the small corral on Colfax between the VIP tents and the Capital building -- in the middle of the street! -- you will be able to see the riders coming and going in both directions. No shade, no seating, no water, just good race viewing. You will also be close by to the podium presentation after the race.

Teh exposed area in the middle of Colfax where fans ran side to side to see the racers on both sides. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

The restaurants and businesses that line 17th Street offer a nice base to see the race go by in BOTH directions along this long boulevard as the peloton races back and forth between the capital and City Park. You may find patios and shade trees and even portable bleachers set up on race day.

Sitting on bleachers set up under shade trees for comfort on 17th St.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
City Park was filled with happy fans in previous years, who brought their own chairs and tents, coolers and banners, and set up hours in advance on the cool grass. The park has a number of corners; it is always great to witness the racers through fast corners.

Ride your bicycle to the Festival: bike valet will be available to hold your bike safely. Bring a lock just in case. Or take the RTD light rail into downtown and the free 16th St shuttle up to Civic Center Park.

Pedal Dancer recommended viewing locations for Stage 7 in Denver (click image to enlarge)
Pedal Dancer recommended viewing locations for Stage 7 in Denver (click image to enlarge).
Do you want to see the race in both Golden and Denver?

Will you be able to see the women race in Golden and the men race in Denver? Yes. Fortunately traffic is light on Sundays.

Will you be able to see the men's start in Golden and the finish in Denver? Yes. IF you pay attention to parking your car in an easy to exit location in Golden and maybe bring a bike to pedal the last blocks into Denver. Last year most of the parking close to the race was already taken by the time I arrived from Boulder. I parked, pulled my bike out of the car, pedaled to valet, handed them my bike and watched the race finish with plenty of time to spare.

Will you be able to ride the climb up Lookout Mountain and see the race in Denver? Yes. If you descend right away and park close to the base, ready to depart to Denver.

Will you be able to see the start in Golden and ride your bike to Denver in order to see the finish? Really? If the answer is yes, you are inside this professional peloton of world-class racers.

Who will win?

Remembering the day last year that I captured this image of Alex Howes (below), the winner of the final stage into Denver in 2014. Alex is competing at the Vuelta a Espana this year and will not be in Denver. Look for another light weight sprinter to win the stage.

Alex Howes won the stage in Denver in 2014. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
Race Standings - Men's race

Who is currently wearing the jerseys at the start of Stage 7? (Results after Stage 6)

Look for these riders in the classification jerseys:

Yellow: Smashburger Leader Jersey – Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team
Green: Lexus Sprint Jersey – Kiel Reijen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Team
Red: Sierra Nevada King of the Mountains Jersey – Rohan Dennis (AUS) BMC Racing Team. Will be worn by:
Blue: Colorado State University Best Young Rider Jersey – Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR) Axeon Cycling Team
Orange: First Bank Most Aggressive Rider Jersey –Roman Kreuziger (CZE) of Tinkoff-Saxo
Dark Blue: Edward Jones Best Colorado Rider Jersey – Alexandr Braico (MDA) of Jelly Belly P/B Maxxis
Best Team: BMC Racing Team

Men's GC Standings after Stage 6 

1Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team21:33:33
2Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team0:00:44
3Rob Britton (Can) Team SmartStop0:01:31
4Gavin Mannion (USA) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:01:49
5Lachlan David Morton (Aus) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis0:01:53
6Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBr) Axeon Cycling Team0:01:58
7Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling0:02:02
8Toms Skujins (Lat) Hincapie Racing Team0:02:08
9Hugh Carthy (GBr) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA0:02:13
10Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek Factory Racing0:02:14

Top 3 Teams

1. BMC RACING TEAM (USA) 53:09:44

Race Standings - Women's race

Who is currently wearing the jerseys at the start of Stage 7?
Look for these riders in the classification jerseys:

Yellow (Smashburger Race Leader): Kristin Armstrong (USA) Twenty 16 p/b SHO-AIR
Green (Lexus Sprint): Tayler Wiles (USA) of DNA Cycling p/b K4
Red (Sierra Nevada QOM): Mara Abbott (USA) of Amy D. Foundation
Blue (Colorado.com Best Young): Abigail Mickey (USA) UnitedHealthcare Professional
Orange (Strava Most Aggressive): Coryn Rivera (USA) of UnitedHealthcare Professional
Best Team: TWENTY 16 p/b SHO-AIR

Women's GC Standings after Stage 6

1.    Kristin Armstrong
2.    Tayler Wiles
3.    Lauren Komanski
4.    Abigail Mickey
5.    Breanne Nalder

Two yellows! Rohan Dennis, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge Shawn Hunter and Kristen Armstrong.


TV coverage of Stage 7: Pro Cycling Challenge on NBC Network

 Stage 7  8/23/2015  4:00 PM   LIVE Final!
Stage 7 (re-NBC)  08/24/2015  6:00 PM  Replay
    Media coverage at the race

    Press Conference Daily: Post race press conferences will be shown live on prochallenge.com
    Media Coverage of the race will be provided by: Velo News, Cycling News, Steephill.TV & VeloImages, The Denver Post, Pedal Dancer® and many local newspapers.

    Photographer and journalists tweets from the race (I will add more as I verify they are at the race, and tweeting): @karenrake (Pedal Dancer), @Eibhir, @butterflywriter (Pro Velo Passion), and
    Brian Hodes (@veloimages).
    Follow the race: USA Pro Challenge: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
    To watch a replay of the race coverage, go to www.usaprochallenge/tourtracker

    HISTORY - landmarks on route

    Denver Capital Building

    The Colorado State Capital Building in Denver is a Corinthian-style, gold-domed building intentionally designed in 1890 to resemble the national capital building in Washington D.C. Made of Colorado rose onyx quarried in the town of Beulah, Colorado, the building houses House and Senate Chambers and is centrally located in downtown Denver's business district. Free tours are offered M-F 10:00-3:00pm. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

    Lookout mountain - Pillar to Post

    The race again climbs Lookout Mountain this year - What is the story of the pillars?

    The stone pylon gateway was built and presented to the City of Denver in 1917, long before the area was heavily populated, by Finlay L. MacFarland, a prominent automobile dealer and member of the Denver Mountain Park's advisory commission. 

    One of two pillars at the start of the climb. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
    The rock pillars before the houses were built nearby.

    There was an old observatory atop Lookout Mountain from 1885-1940 (before the wind blew the tin dome off the building).

    Pedal Dancer® bike blog has been covering the race for five years, providing quick and easy spectator guides to each stage. Always considering the viewpoints and needs of spectators, tourists, cyclists, or straight-forward racing fans. I post stage results as well as inside stories from chasing the race. Read more education and stories about the race at Pedal Dancer® at the USA Pro Challenge

    Pedal Dancer® recommendations for Stage 7:
    1. Tip #1 - Golden: Be sure to visit the team bus area to see the mechanics working on the bikes or setting out the equipment for the riders before the stage starts. Activity around the team buses begins 1.5 hours before the race start. Look for your favorite riders and maybe watch a media interview pre race.
    2. Tip #2 - Golden: I like to get to a stage start early to locate the start/finish line, sign-in stage, large screen TVs, podium, festival, and team buses. I study how to easily move in between all these fun areas of the race.
    3. Tip #3 - Golden: Within 1 hour of the start (10:30), the riders will begin signing in at the announcement/sign-in stage. This is the time for autographs as the riders pass to and from the stage. Be near the stage to hear the rider call up to the line and the singing of the national anthem.
    4. Tip #4 - Golden & Denver: Walk around the festival area, or around town, and watch the race on the large screen TVs.
    5. Tip #5 - Golden & Denver: Return to the barriers to see the riders pass for another lap.
    6. Tip #6 - Denver: Walk close to the podium to watch the final podium award presentation, 15-20 minutes after the finish of the stage. In Denver, the stage is ON Colfax & Broadway. They usually open some gates to allow spectators to fill in the space in front of the stage.
    7. Tip #7 - Be comfortable! bring a little food or water, sunscreen and a hat. The temperature should be about 80 degrees on race day. 
    8. Tip #8 - Ride your bike. The event seems more festive when you arrive and depart on 2 wheels.
    Pedal Dancer® posts about the race in 2015:
    1. How to see Stage 1 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Steamboat
    2. How to see Stage 2 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Steamboat / ABasin
    3. How to see Stage 3 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Copper / Aspen
    4. How to see Stage 4 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Aspen / Breck
    5. How to see Stage 5 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Breck ITT!
    6. How to see Stage 6 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Loveland / Fort Collins
    7. How to see Stage 7 of USA Pro Challenge 2015 - Golden / Denver
    Pedal Dancer® - cycling near Golden and Denver:

    WE DID IT - Another year of the USA Pro Challenge was a success!

    beers in a row at River North Brewery.  ©Photo by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

    If you feel like celebrating (oh, and I do!), the best beers in Denver can be found at one of these fine establishments below:
    Pedal Dancer® Guide Pages help you have a better vacation in Colorado. Follow me on Twitter as I run around inside and outside of the barriers and tweet from the race as @KarenRake see you there - Karen.