Pro Cycling Challenge To Tour Lake County TWICE!
The 2015 USA Pro Cycling Challenge will mark its fifth year this August 17-23. What better way to celebrate that milestone than with a double-down through Lake County! That’s right this internationally renowned bike race will be coming through the Leadville area on August 19, and again on August 20.
Stage 3 of the Pro Challenge will travel from Copper Mountain to Aspen, with a Turquoise Lake loop and quick sprint through Leadville along the way. This leg of the race will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
For those who’ve been around Colorado long enough to remember the former Coors International Bicycle Classic race, you may recall that the race offered criterions and mountain stages all over Colorado, including Leadville. In fact, it was this throwback to an old Classic route that initiated the conversation to bring this year’s Pro Challenge down that familiar lake road, once again.
The next day on Stage 4 , the race leaves Aspen and will stay in southern Lake County, passing through the village of Twin Lakes for the second time as it continues south on Highway 24 towards Buena Vista, eventually ending in Breckenridge, via Hoosier Pass through Fairplay.
The 2015 USA Pro Challenge swings into action in Steamboat Springs on Monday, Aug. 17 and then it makes its way through another eight host cities for the race finale in Denver on Sunday, Aug. 23.
Call it that special edge when it comes to being centrally located in Colorado. Or the advantage of being surrounded by internationally renowned resorts, but one way or another, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge has had to come through Lake County almost every year. Keep in mind that the eight host cities from Steamboat Springs to Denver invest a considerable amount of money and resources to bring the race through their towns. After all, the economic benefit created from visitors coming to each community to watch all of the race action is considerable.
Last year’s race – the fourth USA Pro Challenge – drew more than 1 million spectators. And tallied a whopping $130 million economic impact from the roughly quarter million spectators who traveled to Colorado to watch the race. In fact it was estimated that 27% of spectators traveled from out of state contributing to the lodging and restaurant industry’s bottom line.
So what will that look like for Leadville and Lake County when you take a glance at the calendar and realize that this race will be coming through Lake County in between two of the biggest races that the Leadville Race Series produce: the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15 and the LT100 Run on the following Saturday, Aug 22.
So what’s the cost to the taxpayer?
“There is no cash outlay for Lake County for the Pro Challenge, like the host cities incur,” said Lake County Commissioner Mike Bordogna in an interview with Leadville Today. “However, there is extensive planning with law enforcement and the county road and bridge department.”
There is a media exposure benefit to having the race come through Leadville. Live coverage of the USA Pro Challenge starts two hours into each Stage of the race. The extra loop around Turquoise Lake should keep the racers out on the course long enough to see Leadville get some live coverage as the cyclists head up County Road 4 and onto historic Harrison Avenue.
Local efforts are underway to create a festive atmosphere downtown much like the efforts in 2012, which included some kids bike races as well as a not-soon-to-be-forgotten Spandex Mosey. The event will need approximately 40 volunteers to assist with traffic control and road closures. Anyone interested in helping can contact Lake County Emergency Manager Mike McHargue (719-201-0773) or Leadville Police Chief Mike Leake (719-486-1365).
Video from 2012
Be sure to stay tuned to Leadville Today as details and plans are fine tuned. We’ll bring you the latest on road closures, party planning, and the best places to watch the race and get those spectacular photos!
Last week, Lifetime, owner of the Leadville Race Series (LRS) announced the addition of another race for the upcoming 2015 season.
The race will cover the same high-altitude terrain as the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, but split the distance over three consecutive stages. Stage One will start at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds and head out towards Turquoise Lake on the same course, finishing up at Lost Canyon. The Second Stage on July 25 will take on Columbine, starting and ending at Lost Canyon, covering the 16 miles ascent. Stage Three is a reverse of the first day, finishing up at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds.
The new Leadville Stage Race will be one of the qualification races, enabling top finishers to gain entry into the LT100 MTB Race on August 15. More LSR details and registration information can be found at the Leadville Race Series website.