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Stage 4: An Insider's Guide to viewing the 2014 USA Pro Challenge in COS!

Story by MtnMama of UpaDowna.org

The Colorado Springs community is stoked once again to be a stage in this year's USA Pro Challenge on Thursday, August 21st! Not only are we lucky enough to have Stage 4, a circuit race, here in the Springs, but our close neighbors up the pass in Woodland Park get the start of Stage 5! That means the riders will be in and around Colorado Springs for at least 2 days! The circuit race will allow race goers the opportunity to see the riders no less than 4 times and if you are camped out on Colorado Ave, you'll see them 8 times! This is great because you'll see amazing racers like Jens Voigt multiple times! BTW...this is rumored to be his farewell tour so bring your "SHUT UP LEGS!" poster!! 

Race Details:

  • Start at the Broadmoor Hotel (12:50 pm)
  • Circuits (4) through Downtown Colorado Springs and Garden of the Gods
  • Finish in Downtown Colorado Springs (3:30 - 4:15 pm)

Resources

 

The Colorado Springs Stage 4 race starts at the Broadmoor and ends where it historically has ended every time it is here, downtown. The Broadmoor start will feature two laps of a "parade style" start and then racers will speed down Cresta and 21st north towards Colorado Ave.

 

Once the cyclists reach Colorado Ave, they'll take a right towards downtown Colorado Springs and race a loop on the downtown circuit heading north on Cascade, blast down Mesa, take a sharp turn right up Cache la Poudre then head south on Tejon. Here, they'll pass the finish line for the 1st out of 4 loops (their 5th appearance will be the finish) and then head west on Colorado Ave towards Garden of the Gods for their 1st of 4 loops there as well.

Approaching the Garden of the Gods, racers will take a quick right off of Colorado Ave. to 30th St. then a left onto Pikes Peak Ave. then up Ridge Road into the Garden, do a reverse loop around Juniper Way, past the main parking lot near kissing camels and then out the east entrance near the Visitor's center. They'll take a hard left and then an immediate right up Mesa Rd. down to Fontmore Rd. then a sharp left to 30th , left on Pikes Peak Ave, right on 29th and back to Colorado Ave and downtown for the remaining loops.

 

UpaDowna's suggestions for best places to watch:

For mode of travel, I highly suggest riding your bike! There is no way to see the action quickly and in multiple places unless you ride! Plus, you can park your bike just about anywhere for easy access when you need to leave. Bring a bike lock (unless parking at the FREE Bike Valet in Acacia Park), water, snacks, binoculars, a camera and sunscreen, cowbells or other noise makers for encouragement and a foldable chair if possible. Map of viewing tips here.

 

See the riders the most: 

  1. Anywhere along Colorado Ave. between Tejon and 30th st. You'll see the riders about 8 times along this route! Be sure to seek out a spot on the "west" side of Colorado Ave. in the shade! Also, be sure if you bother a store to use their restroom,  buy something!
  2. Main parking lot in Garden of the Gods. This allows easy walking or bike riding access to multiple viewpoints within the center of the park. Plus there are restrooms!
  3. Mesa and Cache la Poudre park behind the COS Fine Arts Center. This area will be one of the best action spots as well as with Santa Fe Trail so close, you have easy access to multiple viewpoints along Cascade Ave, as well as an easy way to get to the Midland trail into Old Colorado City by way of pedestrian bridge.

See the most action:  This is a tough one! There will be multiple places where it will get a little "cheeky" as USA Pro Challenge announcer Phil Liggett would say. 

  1. Ridge Road Climb. This will be the first climb for the racers, and they have to climb it 4 times.
  2. Mesa Road Climb. This is a great viewpoint that overlooks the Garden as well as welcomes the riders up a hill.
  3. Intersection of 30th, 31st streets and Pikes Peak. If this is the projected route, there will be a lot of action going on here with riders going into and coming from the Garden.
  4. Sharp and fast turn off of Cascade Ave near Mesa and Cache la Poudre. There is a nice park here, easy access to parking across the creek and within bike ride distance of bathrooms in the park.
  5. Tejon south of Platte. This area will serve as a "sprint" section as well as the finish with the awards ceremony to follow. Also near the festival, day-of festival events, and BEER!

Most Scenic:

  1. Mesa road overlooking the Garden of the Gods
  2. Small pull off right after the main parking lot in GOG overlooking the back side of Kissing Camels.
  3. Lake Ave. looking west towards the Broadmoor. Catch the riders 2-3 times as they pass the Broadmoor in the background.
  4. If they allow it, hang out on the balcony of Garden of the Gods visitor's center. They have food, bathrooms and an amazing view of the riders coming out of Garden of the Gods.


Other suggestions:

-There are tons of great pull offs inside the Garden of the Gods to sit at, they might not allow cars in there the day of so ride a bike!

-Grab a seat with a view in one of the many downtown bars or restaurants! (Phantom Canyon, Blondies, Cowboys to name a few)

-Sit near a big screen TV! This is one of my favorite things to do because then you can see the entire race televised and not miss any of the action while you're waiting for them to come back around!

-Click here for the TV schedule of coverage.

-Click here for the online Tour Tracker! Take the action with you on your smart phone wherever you are!

-Click here for more info about the route including parking.

-Get their EARLY! If the race starts at 12:50pm, I have no doubt that before or around 10am, die hard fans will start to camp out at their spot.

 

Ancillary Events:

Sunday, August 17

Stage 4 Citizen’s Ride - (coordinated by USA Cycling10:30 am - 12:00 pm, Antlers Park (31 W Pikes Peak Ave, Colorado Springs). Join two time Olympian and MTB World Champion, Alison DunlapParalympic cyclist & skier, Allison Jones, and U23 Moutain Bike National Champion and 2014 Elite Worlds Team Member, Russell Finsterwald, on a 15.5 mile ride from downtown Colorado Springs through the Garden of the Gods and back. Riders will break into two groups based on fitness level. $15 per person. Register Now 

Monday, August 18

Colorado Springs Cycling Club Ride & Dinner (coordinated by the Colorado Springs Cycling Club) This ride will depart from America the Beautiful Park at 5:30 pm for a west side tour of 12-15 miles. An optional post-ride dinner (at rider's expense) will be at Rudy's Country Store & BBQ at the corner of 31st Street and US Highway 24. The ride will be a no drop ride at a casual pace of 10-12 MPH on low traffic streets and bike ways. Gather at 5:15 pm at the main entrance of the park for waiver signing and pre-ride briefing. Route will be announced later and posted to www.bikesprings.org

Tuesday, August 19

Club Cafe Velo Ride (coordinated by Cafe Velo) 5:30 - 7:00 pm, Cafe Velo (11550 Ridgeline Dr #102) - An all abilities ride (8 to 20+ miles) on the roads up north near Café Velo - some of the nicest road riding in El Paso County. Beer and snacks at Café Velo after the ride. Participants can RSVP directly via Meetup.com (http://www.meetup.com/Club-Cafe-Velo/events/191261712), by phone (719-772-6101) or email ( contact@cafevelobikes.com).

Wednesday, August 20

UpaDowna Pedal Party (coordinated by UpaDowna) - 6:00 - 7:30 pm, McCabe's Tavern (520 S Tejon Street). This family friendly, all ages cycling extravaganza is the perfect reason to saddle up and pedal around town during the the beautiful summer months for this 5 mile ride. Whether you ride a clunker, a fat bike, a trike, a unicycle, a tall bike, small bike...all are welcome!

              Please complete this waiver before the ride: 
              http://www.eventbrite.com/e/upadownas-pedal-party-tickets-10689555749

Thursday, August 21  

          Finish Line Area Map 

Celebrate Colorado Springs Cycling Ride - 11:30 am - 12:00 pm : Free community ride through downtown Colorado Springs featuring cycling organizations: USA Cycling members, USA Triathlon members, cycling clubs, BMX clubs, adaptive riding groups, unicycles, etc. Riders will stage at Acacia Park (Platte & Tejon) at 10:45 am. The ride will begin at 11:30 am and go south on Tejon St. from Acacia Park to Colorado Ave, west on Colorado Ave. to Cascade Ave, north on Cascade to Bijou St., east on Bijou St. to finish at Acacia Park.

Participants are encouraged to wear cycling jerseys, costumes, etc. and use the free bike valet in Acacia Park after the ride.   

Miss-n-Out Invitational Criterium - 12:00 - 12:30 pm: Short criterium course (0.75 miles/lap) within downtown Colorado Springs. This will be an invitational race limited to 50 riders with riders dropped periodically until 10 riders will race each other over the final laps to determine a winner.  The race will be run so that final lap will finish before 12:30 pm.  Riders will stage at UPC Finish Line at 11:45 am. The race will start at UPC Finish Line with riders heading south on Tejon St. to Colorado Ave., west on Colorado Ave. to Cascade Ave., north on Cascade Ave. to Bijou St., east on Bijou St. to Tejon St. and south on Tejon St. to the UPC Finish Line. 

Invitational Sprint Tournament - 12:30 pmTwo heats of five riders (5 male/5 female) will sprint 430 meters from Platte Ave. to the UPC Finish Line with the top two males & females advancing to the Finals. Cyclists placing in 3rd through 5th place will compete in the Minor Finals. 

          USA Pro Challenge - Stage 4          
                Start (12:50 pm): 1st Street & Lake Avenue
                Finish (3:30-4:15 pm): Pikes Peak Avenue & Tejon Street
     

          Not So Pro Cycling Challenge (coordinated by Colorado Springs Independent) - 4:15 - 5:00 pm - 11 teams of four
          "cyclists" will compete a cycling course on tricked-out kids's bikes on Tejon between Pikes Peak & Kiowa. The teams
          will be from Tony's, Navakai, The Ritz, McCabe's, Springs Orleans, Jack Quinn's, The Mansion, Cowboys, Blondie's,
          Gasoline Alley & The Independent.

Thursday, August 21

      Stage 4 Gala - The Broadmoor Hotel (One Lake Avenue, Colorado Springs)

 

Race Day Festival Activities

Festival Details (Pikes Peak between Cascade & Tejon) : 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

  • Multiple big screen TVs showing live broadcasts of the race
  • Kid's Zone featuring inflatables, Strider Bikes, and other family fun
  • Multiple vendor and merchandise booths
  • Three beer locations provided by Sierra Nevada
  • A Wine location provided by Infinite Monkey Theorem
  • Live entertainment by Maxxis BMX Stunt Team
  • Complimentary Bike Valet at Acacia Park from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm

Viewing Tips (via USA Pro Challenge):

  • Don't touch the cyclists. These are professional athletes competing in an endurance sport...let them do their thing.
  • If you want to take photos, stand clear of the road. The riders use all of the pavement, so stay to the side when taking that selfie.
  • Give the riders ample room on both sides of the road...you never know when someone is going to make that decisive move.
  • At the starts and finishes keep all your limbs behind the barriers (no explanation needed).
  • Take responsibility for any children or pets you have with you to keep them safe and out of the way.
  • Please don't paint on the roadways.
  • Have fun! Cheer, yell, ring your cowbells; the riders love the extra encouragement!

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