The USA Pro Cycling Challenge returns to Crested Butte this year on Tuesday, August 19th on the second stage of the race. Stage 2 travels from Aspen down to Carbondale, then over McClure and Kebler passes before finishing near Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Mount Crested Butte. We’re thrilled to have the event back once again here in Crested Butte. Even for non bike-racing fans, this event is loads of fun and definitely one of the highlights of the summer season.
The question arises, “Where is the best place to watch this stage?”. The short, somewhat steep climb of McClure Pass from tiny, beautiful Marble, CO will be the site of the first action. So far away from the Crested Butte finish line, however, it is unlikely that the winner will be decided here. The next big climb is Kebler Pass from Erickson Springs. While long, professional racers should have no trouble staying together on this relatively easy climb. The downhill is where things should start to get interesting. Kebler Pass is a dirt road, and the twists and turns will prove challenging on skinny tires, so I would fully expect to see racers begin their attack here. This may prove to be a great spot to watch this stage- perhaps after a wildflower hike.
Town is another fun place to watch the race, and the racers will definitely be going far faster than the 15mph speed limit as they come into town off of Kebler Pass. Speedy descenders may have separated themselves from the pack at this point, but they’ll have to work hard to stay ahead on the flat road before the climb to Mount Crested Butte. As in other years, the winner will most likely be decided in the final mile, and that’s where you’ll find me. As Gothic Road makes the turn near the “Welcome to Mount Crested Butte” sign, and then passes Pitchfork, the road rears up and is considerably steeper, and this is where the big guns will make their move.
By the time the race reaches the slightly flatter final 100 yards past the Grand Lodge, the winner has usually separated himself and gets to cruise to the finish line. Somewhere on that steep stretch of road is where the race will be won, and that is where I will be, cheering the racers on. The finish line, the town of Crested Butte, and the Kebler Pass descent are all great options as well. Hope to see you there, and as always, feel free to contact me anytime!