USA PRO CHALLENGE

COLORADO'S USA PRO CHALLENGE - the tour in Colorado for pro racers

2015

Host cities were announced, exact route and riders have not yet been announced for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge. Expect more announcement in spring of 2015. I will update this fan guide page with maps, routes, roster and news as it becomes available.

STAGES AND HOST CITIES FOR 2015 USA PRO CHALLENGE IN COLORADO
2015 Colorado Pro Challenge Facts:

Remember - head to Steamboat Springs early so you can see and ride next to the teams training in the days before the race start!  Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer.

Read more about the mountain passes of Colorado at the new Pedal Dancer® Guide Page: COLORADO CLIMBS

On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - a bike travel series by Pedal Dancer for 2014:


Related stories of interest from 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Pedal Dancer®:




Archived complete:  2014 USA Pro Challenge Spectator and Race Guide




2015 FAN INFORMATION

The race for 2015 - a description

First impression of the 2015 route (which is conceivable based upon the order of host cities) is a raced formed across long road climbs. The kind of race where team work matters and many new names will be seen on the podium. Still it will be the kind of race where experience trumps all. There are opportunities for a sprinter, for a strong finishing climber, for a time trialist able to manage a twisty climbing course, but especially for a true team leader. To win - your team will have to sacrifice.


Overall this will be a very nice week in Colorado.

The race begins in Steamboat Springs - a welcoming cowboy ski town northwest of Denver. The following day there will be an early climb over Rabbit Mountain and a final climb to the ski station of Arapahoe Basin (A Basin) - one of my favorite roads to cycle in Colorado (especially the nearby Loveland Pass). Next the peloton will depart Copper Mountain, another ski village, and climb over Independence Pass into the familiar city of Aspen. They won't stay long, the next day the riders climb back to Breckenridge where the 9600'ft elevation individual time trial will take place the following day on Stage 5. This will be a do not miss day in Breckenridge (it's a Friday).

Breckenridge is an excellent choice to base the peloton and it's entourage for two nights. As welcoming as Steamboat, the city is even more scenic and excels at hosting large events.

Expect crowds of spectator to return to see more racing in 2015.  Photo by Karen Rakestraw at Pedal Dancer®

How to watch the Colorado Pro Challenge - Watch it Live!

TourTracker™: Watch the USA Pro Cycling Challenge live on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Download

See the race live
Location of Colorado in the U.S.A.
Command Central on race day - CEO Shawn Hunter and Race Director Jim Birrell, calling the shots.
At a stage start

VIP and Volunteer for 2015:
Shop 2015

Buy your commemorative jersey or your tshirts and hats: Shop

Road closures for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge

CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation advisory of road closures: USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014

All roads for the circuits will be fully closed, other roads will have rolling road closures (see definitions below). CDOT Colorado Department of Transportation advisory: USA Pro Challenge Road Closures 2014 (select the stage tab).

A word from race organizers: "Keep in mind that road closures and delays to motorized traffic do not apply to pedestrians and bike traffic, so why not ride your bike or park and walk to the location you want to watch the race? Both are great ways to see the action and join in on the fun and excitement of experiencing this world class event. Just be aware of your surroundings and stay on the shoulders where they're available."

I would add that bikes and pedestrians are not allowed to move along CLOSED roads while the race is on, please find your viewing place by the time the road closes. Race Marshalls and/or Police will ask you to stop and move off the road.

Race Sponsors

Smashburger
Lexus
Colorado Come To Life
Sierra Nevada
United Healthcare
Coca-Cola
Team Novo Nordisk
Colorado State University
Centura Health
First Bank
Certified Angus Beef
9News
The Denver Post
Beyond the Edge

Colorado National Guard, Cliff Bar, Pearl Izumi, Optum, Jelly Belly, The Infinite Monkey Theorum, Maxxis, Smart Stop, Edward Jones, DraPac, Trek, EKS&H, Bissell, Cannondale, Fleetwood RV, Red Fox, Smith Optics, Yakima, Cateye, Sutter Home, Polar Bottle, Mavic, Osprey, Velo, 10Speed Coffee, 5280, The Gazette, 102.3 ESPN, Entercom, US Forest Service, Easy Goals, Colorado Athletic Club, USA Cycling

©Photo by Laurie Valaer for Pedal Dancer®

2015 Pro Teams for the USA Pro Challenge:

Team announced in spring 2015.


A SNAPSHOT OF THE STAGES FOR 2015 - Basics for Spectators

Travel and race recommendations by Pedal Dancer for the 2015 USA Pro Challenge:


information coming ....


STAGES AND ROUTE MAPS OF THE 2015 USA PRO CHALLENGE (Announced May 2014)

MONDAY, STAGE 1 

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 1 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 1 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos:

TUESDAY, STAGE 2 

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos:

WEDNESDAY, STAGE 3  

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos:

THURSDAY, STAGE 4 

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos:

FRIDAY, STAGE 5

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos: 

SATURDAY, STAGE 6 

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos: 

SUNDAY, STAGE 7

Distance:
Stage Map:
Stage Profile:
Description:
Start City:
Stage 2 Start time:
Finish City:
Stage 2 Finish time:
State Highways Impacted: SH 82
Road Closures:
Photos:

Finish in Denver - 2014 USA Pro Challenge Stage 7 route




ATTENDING THE RACE

Where will you see the race?

I highly recommend going to Steamboat the weekend before the race starts to see all the fun and ride on the roads with the pros (plus the pro riders loved visiting Aspen where the mood was excellent last year)!

I also recommend staying over in Breckenridge if possible to see the Individual Time Trial.

For the final day, go anywhere on the course to enjoy the time with friends or family at a restaurant patio or standing on a curb downtown, the final day will be about atmosphere.

Fans at the race in 2012 in Golden, Colorado  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer®

Colorado fans rock!

Colorado not only has a fit and active population, the state has a very knowledgeable fan base who understand cycling. Coloradans routinely enjoy a variety of outdoor sports and have embraced the USA Pro Challenge now in it's third year. I began the tradition in year-one of offering tips to fans on seeing the pro race in Colorado, so I will continue offering information, hoping to encourage new fans each year as well as making race day planning that much easier for experienced fans. Enjoy the race!

2014 RECOMMENDATIONS - WHERE TO SEE THE RACE

My brief recommendations for fans for how and where to see the race in 2015, include:
  1. Take a 3-day holiday (Sat-Tues) in Steamboat to see the riders warm up (get out and ride your bike on the same road as the pros, as they train on Saturday and Sunday). Tour the Team parking area Saturday 3-6pm and see the mechanics setting-up the bikes. Watch the Opening Ceremonies and Team Presentation on Saturday night at apporximately 6:30pm. Be outside for the pre-race press conference  on Sunday at approximately 1:30pm. Attend the special events in the city of Steamboat prior to the race start. Go hiking nearby, mountain bike, or fish in the gold medal rivers nearby and then watch the pro teams race Stage 1 (Monday) and Stage 2 (Tuesday).
  2. Spend overnight in Summit County and see the finish of Stage 2 atop Arapahoe Basin (ride your bike up from Frisco or Dillon. And then see the start of Stage 3 in Copper Mountain, again riding your bike up the bike path from Frisco or Dillon. 
  3. Spend an overnight in Aspen; you will see the finish of Stage 3 (Wednesday) and the start of Stage 4 (Thursday). When you are not watching the race - ride your own bike Recommended Road Bike Rides Near Aspen
  4. Spend an overnight (Thursday night) in Breckenridge to see the finish of Stage 4 and the entire day of the Stage 5 Individual Time Trial on Friday in Breckenridge. For the last two years, watching the finish into the ski village of Breckenridge was excellent, plenty of fans turned out and the expo village was one of the best.
  5. For Stage 6 get out on course to enjoy the scenery near Loveland and Fort Collins, or simply stay in town and enjoy the tremendous hospitality of these two northern Colorado towns. 
  6. Gather a group of friends on Sunday and go anywhere along the route of Stage 7 from Golden to Denver. Remember Lookout Mountain can be a fun place to be, so too can downtown Denver where you will see the final sprint finish and podium presentataion. The VIP tent at the finish in Denver is always a good one. Also be sure to take in a local brew and ride your own bike to the race for easy parking!
You can't go wrong, just get out and make your own experience!
©Photo by Karen Rakestraw for Pedal Dancer
What you can expect at the race - options for viewing the race for Fans:
Choose your experience:
  • Start Area: Lots to see as teams and riders prepare for the days race, fun photographs and autographs.Good for families and knowledgeable fans who recognize the riders easily. Fantastic during Individual Time Trials as the riders warm up, weigh & measure bikes then roll down the start ramp.
  • In any town: You can sit and enjoy a meal at a cafe and then go to the side of the road to watch the riders race by. Good for locals or those wanting to avoid the crowds. The peloton and support riders will take just over 3 minutes to pass by, but the waiting is short and fun. (Note that rolling road closures occur 30-45 minutes prior to the peloton arrival).
  • In the countryside: You may picnic or hike before the riders come through on the road, then watch the flash of color roar by.
  • On a mountain: Cycle out to a mountain pass to watch the riders climb, and pass by at a lower pace, or drive your car to set up your table and chairs and big signs. Lots of atmosphere and fun with the fans. Good for cyclists or those willing to drive up very early.
  • Finish Area: Enjoy a meal before or after the finish. Visit the Festival of vendors and sponsors. Watch a very fast exciting sprint finish to the line. Watch the podium presentations (crowded). Limited rider viewing, but fun anticipation and event atmosphere. Also good at the finish of a ITT where you can watch the time board of each arriving rider and their placement.
  • Stay over in a host city if possible, sometimes you will see staff walking around the bustling towns, mechanics working on the bikes,meet other fans, or see the riders stopping in for an early morning coffee. 
Typical timing of a race day stage:
  • 8:00-9:00 - arrive, park, have a meal in a restaurant or coffee shop (arrive 2-3 hrs before the start time), or begin your ride out onto the course.
  • 9:00-12:00 - watching fans, staff, riders at the Start area prepare for the day. Team buses arrive and riders appear 1.5 hours before the start time.
  • 10:30-12:00 - the race begins from the Start village. The roads in the direction of the race will not be passable while the riders are racing on them. Individual Time Trials start about 1pm.
  • 12:00-3:00 - riders hit the climbs for the day. Use your Apps to track the race.
  • 2:00-4:00 - watching fans and waiting for riders at the Finish area. The Lifestyle Festival is typically large and active at the Finish area.
  • 4:00-5:00 - riders race across the Finish line.
  • 4:30-5:00ish - awards ceremony on the podium at the stage near the finish line (within 15-30 minutes of the finish). Bikes are cleaned and packed up near the team buses. Riders might transfer to nearby team hotels in team cars. If the team travels to another city, they will load in the big team buses. 
  • 5:30-7:00 - give back to the host city and take in a meal or shop while the traffic settles. Or hotel it overnight and enjoy breakfast before seeing a stage start (when applicable).


FAN EDUCATION - About the Race

Cycling Topics - learn more about the sport, By Pedal Dancer®
come watch a bike race ©Photo by Laurie Valaer for Pedal Dancer

How to read a Stage Log (time table):



On the first line, the start time is always definite. In the last two columns every street and turn is listed. Because the organizers of the race are not certain how fast the riders will be racing, they give several approximations of times based on average speed of a rider. The first column lists the slowest possible time at 22 mph for this stage, (speeds will vary based on flat or climbing stages). Column 2, 3, and 4 list other faster times according to increasing speeds. As fans it is best to be there by at least the fastest time listed on the log, but not to expect the riders until the slowest time listed in column 1 of the log. This insures that you will not miss seeing the race. Try to arrive much earlier to enjoy the atmosphere and avoid traffic. Pay attention to road closures.


You won't want to miss the big finish!

Cycling Terminology for the USA Pro Challenge

Riders: In professional cycling the racers are generally called riders as opposed to racers or cyclists.

Staff: A cycling team is made up of many parts beyond the riders. The Team Manager handles general operations, commitments, and sponsorship. Directeurs Sportif drive the team cars and plan race strategy. Coaches, Therapists, and Team Doctors work together to train and keep the athletes healthy and riding well. Mechanics maintain all team equipment. Soigneurs are the run around guys/gals handling bags and supplies, food and water, clothing, and set-up; while making sure the riders know the way to the sign-in stage, start line, and hotel. They also give bidons and swag to small children. Some Soigneurs also give massage after the race to riders, or the team might have a designated Masseuse. Most of the team staff are a friendly bunch, but their priorities are rider safety and support so always stay outside the rope lines and ask first for autographs or swag.

Roster: A list of each rider on each team, their country, and their bib (dossard) number. Bring a roster with you so you may easily identify riders. Both the rider and their bike will be numbered. Some riders have their last name on their jersey of helmet.

Route map (Parcours): The course or path the riders will take from start to finish. Some stages will have laps where riders will repeat the same few blocks within the stage.

Stage profile: Map the ascents and descents along a stage. It is often fun for fans to see the riders on a climb where the rider's speed slows slightly (or coming around a corner).

Rolling neutral start: Riders begin at a start line but do not begin racing until a few blocks or miles into the route (the distance varies). A neutral start is used if the start area conditions are narrow, crowded, or unsafe for race conditions. A neutral start is also sometimes used as a show of respect. Stages 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 all have neutral starts this year.

Rolling Closure: Rolling road closures affect all traffic on the race route - roads are not considered "closed" but instead closed  as the riders proceed along the route, enabling the racers to maintain a race speed. Rolling closures are exactly controlled and orchestrated by police, race marshals, local volunteers, and race officials for the safety of both riders and citizens. Roads are closed to all on-coming and entering traffic 20-30 minutes before the race caravan passes a stretch of road. Once the line of riders and official cars have passed each section safely, the road section will be immediately re-opened by officials or volunteers. Rolling closures are temporary moving closures, expect delays of 30-45 minutes.

Road Closure:  Road Closures are completely closed to auto traffic, but often remain open to pedestrian foot traffic and bike traffic up until a set time prior to the race passing through. Road Closure times will be posted by city officials notifying citizens ahead of time, all citizens must obey. Road closures are strictly enforced and necessary for safety, with no exceptions other than official race vehicles allowed passage.

KOM (King of Mountain): First rider to the top of a designated climb on the race route. Riders receive points, the rider with the most points wins the King of the Mountain (KOM) (climber's) jersey. The jersey transfers each day to the rider with the most points overall. There may be more than one KOM point in a stage, Stage 4 has 6 KOMs.

Sprint First rider to a designated sprint line on the race route. Riders receive points, the rider with the most points wins the sprint (green) jersey. The jersey transfers each day to the rider with the most points overall. There may be more than one KOM point in a stage, Stage 2 has 3 SPRINTS.

Leader: There will be a current leader out on course while the race is taking place, but the overall Leader (yellow jersey) is the rider with the lowest (fastest) overall time for all stages. The winner of each day's stage is called the Stage Winner, not the Leader.

Feed zone A designated area on the route where team staff must pass out food bags (musettes) to the riders containing food. Water may be handed to riders through team cars throughout the stage.

Breakaway: 1 to a few riders who are leading the race and ahead of the main peloton

Peloton: The main pack of riders chasing the lead breakaway.

Podium girls: A tradition in professional cycling to have 2 beautiful women present the awards to the riders at the finish of every stage.

Podium: Each day the top three riders finishing the stage are awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd prizes on the podium. Then the 6 overall Classification jerseys are awarded.

Classification Jerseys: Awards for best type of rider in a field. This year the Tour of California will feature 6 classifications: Leader (fastest overall time, yellow jersey), Most Courageous (by vote, white jersey), Mountain (climber, red polka dot jersey), Sprint (fastest sprinter, green jersey), Best Young rider (under the age of 23, orange jersey), Most Aggressive (most combative/competitive, black jersey). As the stage race progresses the overall classification winner is presented with his jersey after each stage and will wear the jersey at the start of the next day's stage.>

Stage Race: a cycling race consisting of more than one day of racing, where points and time is tallied every day to determine an overall winner at the end of the race. The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will have 8 stages.

Bib Number or Dossard: please read an earlier Pedal Dancer post to understand how riders are numbered: Word of the Day: Dossard

*For more terminology read The Inner Ring's glossary of cycling terms Lexicon.

Enjoying the festival of sponsors and vendors is a great family acitvity

More about the USA Pro Challenge Race:

The event is called a stage race (UCI 2.HC). The same group of riders will race day after day for 7 days, from city to city across the state of Colorado, with no rest day. 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 2 weekends, the Colorado tour is a 1-week race from Monday August 19th through Sunday August 25th. Opportunities to be a fan along the route abound and are free (unless you would like to pay for a VIP package experience). The race was very popular with riders last year, who gave overwhelming praise for the organization of the race, and said they looked forward to coming back in 2013.

More information can be found online at www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge."



ROADS AND ROAD CLOSURES, DRIVERS

Drivers

This section is intended to help you enjoy the race while understanding that the most important goal of race organizers is to keep the riders and citizens safe. You goal is to allow enough time to be safe to others, not be disappointed, and arrive relaxed and ready to have FUN!  Being out on the road as a fan is a fabulous experience, being in the mountains of Colorado is even better!

Road Closures

Wondering which roads will be closed for the USA Pro Challenge in your town this year?

All Colorado Road Closures for the 2013 USA Pro Challenge Bike Race

Road closures are a key concern, detailed information may be found here regarding roads, direction of traffic halted, and times: http://www.cotrip.org/content/usapcc/.  Once you are on the website, please select from the Stage tabs on the page to see the road closures affecting roads near each stage.

CDOT has created an excellent website for fans regarding travel advisories for roads on the race route. http://www.cotrip.org/content/usapcc/ For a highlight of important facts you need to know about road closures during the race see the Pedal Dancer Fan Guides by Stage, listed at the top of this page.

Definitions of types of road closures:

Full road closures: No traffic is allowed on the course other than official race vehicles. The routes of the Individual Time Trial on Stage 6 in Vail will have full road closure (closed all of the time). This is to allow for a constant stream of cyclists along the route. Certain mountain top roads might be fully closed to car traffic.

Rolling road closures Most other stages will have rolling full road closures. These will be expertly coordinated by race organizers and police, and should only close the road for 20-30 minutes as the caravan/convoy moves down the road. Non-tour vehicles will be allowed to precede the race and follow the race. Any on-coming traffic headed toward the race will be pulled over by motorcycle police.
Rolling closures are moving, as opposed to Full closures, meaning that all lanes of traffic will be cleared from the road, in both directions. All side traffic attempting to enter the road will be stopped until the race (and all support vehicles) passes through.

Mountain Pass Closures: mountain passes are generally closed for the duration of time it takes one car to complete the entire distance over the pass, and then double that time for complete safety. Some exceptions are made when a pass might be totally closed the night before to allow for maintenance or safety. These will always be publicized ahead of time. 

Photo © by Karen at Pedal Dancer®

CYCLING IN COLORADO
 
Weather in Colorado

Mountains - Cool nights (50s), crisp mornings, bright clear sunburn hot mid-day temperatures (80s), afternoon rain showers, fantastic evenings. Denver (and the Front Range cities) hot and dry (80s-90s), with wind in the afternoon.

Riding in Colorado 

Please see my guide pages at: COLORADO CYCLING or PEDAL DANCER RIDES

When riding a bike in Colorado, safely estimate 14-16mph, as your average ride speed 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 it is geographically and physiologically improbable to do it all on most stages.There are also long stretches of road in Colorado without water or facilities. Roads along the race route will have rolling closures, sag support vehicles may not be able to accompany their cyclists at every point on the stage unless you are riding the stage well in advance of the pros. Mountain passes will experience full road closures hours before (or rarely, the night before) the race. Riding to and from stages on a bike is highly recommended. Also getting in a good ride before or after seeing a stage could be great fun.





2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011

You are currently on the Pedal Dancer Guide Page: USA PRO CHALLENGE 2015
For an archived version of the 2013 race, go to: 2014 USA Pro Challenge Guide for Fans
For an archived version of the 2013 race, go to:
2013 USA Pro Challenge Guide for Fans
For an archived version of the 2012 race, go to: 2012 USA Pro Challenge Guide for Fans
For an archived version of the 2011 race, go to: 2011 USA Pro Challenge Guide for Fans


PEDAL DANCER AT THE RACE IN 2014

Pedal Dancer® at the race

Results and Stories from the road .... please check back as I report from the race. (coming soon)

On the path of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge - a new bike travel series by Pedal Dancer for spectators planning to attend a stage in 2014:

New 2014 posts by Pedal Dancer® for the race:



PEDAL DANCER AT THE RACE IN 2013

Posts by Pedal Dancer® - after the race 2013 (interest, travel and fan stories from the race)

RESULTS from the Race - 2013 USA Pro Challenge
STORIES Posts by Pedal Dancer® - from the race 2013 (travel and fan stories from the race)
PEDAL DANCER FAN GUIDES 2013 - USA Pro Challenge Race Day Planning for Fans - city event guides, route maps, road closures, and stage start and finish times. I live in Colorado but have chased Pro races for 13 years on the Continent and in Europe. I am now granted the thrill to be Media at this event but am always in touch with my roots as a fan. I share with you my inside tips on how to see and enjoy a professional cycling race.
Posts by Pedal Dancer® - pre race 2013


PEDAL DANCER AT THE RACE IN 2012

Looking back at the 2012 race - race details, route maps, and posts and pictures by Pedal Dancer about the USA Pro Challenge
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - at the race
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - after the race
2012 posts by Pedal Dancer® - at the race


PEDAL DANCER AT THE RACE IN 2011

Looking back at the 2011 race- race details, route maps, and posts and pictures by Pedal Dancer about the USA Pro Challenge
The prize!