Dispatch From the Road
USA Pro Challenge
For the second year running we had the opportunity to spend a few days out in Colorado for the USA Pro Challenge, a grueling 7-day stage race around Colorado. Our trip is one part industry networking and one part watching, learning and noting ideas for our World Championships. Oh yea, we also managed to squeeze in a bit of fun along the way.
In addition to the 2015 staff, this year we were joined by a broader delegation from Richmond, totaling 18 individuals, which included many 2015 Board Members.
To say Colorado embraces the USA Pro Challenge is an understatement. From the moment we arrived there was signage and posters everywhere – even cycling themed sculptures throughout the airport.
Thursday, August 23, 2012
Stage 4: Beaver Creek
While the bulk of our delegation was due to arrive on Friday, the 2015 team arrived in time to make out to the finish of Thursday’s mountainous stage into Beaver Creek.
The ski-town of Beaver Creek was buzzing hours before the riders rolled into town. Fans lined the finishing straight six deep to watch fan favorite Jens Voigt solo to the stage win. Brandon Montijo, Richmond-based director/producer who was part of the 2015 delegation, was right on the finish line and caught this exclusive footage of Jens just seconds after he crossed the line.
After the race we headed over to fan expo, which consists of nearly 100 vendors – everything from local food and crafts to huge interactive displays from some of cycling’s biggest companies. One of the most unique things we saw was the “Chromoly Chef” competition.
Think “Iron Chef” with bike mechanics, frames and errant bike parts. Each competing mechanic had one hour to assemble a bike using whatever was laid out. Rest assured, there was no stock of shiny new bike parts.
Friday, August 25, 2012
Stage 5: Colorado Springs
On Friday morning the bulk of our group arrived and we were off to the finish in Colorado Springs, home to the US Olympic Committee, USA Cycling and many, many other national federations.
The race was blazing fast, averaging nearly 30mph for the 118 mile jaunt down from Breckenridge. American Tyler Farrar from Garmin Sharpe took the field sprint, which was his second win of the race. Appropriate that the day finished in a field sprint as former World Champion, sprinter extraordinaire and all-around cool guy, Mario Cipollini was hanging out at the finish.
Speaking of personalities, our group also spent some time chatting with former professional cyclist and current NBC commentator Bob Roll.
Read Part II of our Dispatch from the Road here.