A circus in the form of a professional bicycle race rolled into town today. Well, last night actually. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge finished here today and also departs from Aspen in the morning. We're the only town acting as both a finishing and starting point in this years race so it's making things a bit more interesting.
|Looking West toward the finish line|
First, town is almost unnavigable by car. We don't have a very big town to begin with. Actually, I'd say it's down right small. So when you block off major sections of it, including most of Main St., well, things get gummed up in a hurry. It started the night before as they needed to put barriers up in advance. Check out the photos of Main St. I took earlier in the day. It may be hard to see, but three quarters of it is blocked off (for 2 days). Good thing I ride my bike into work :)
Because of the overnight stay, this evening I rode into town to see if things were hopping. Not so much. There was live music in the park and a fair amount of people dining out, but downtown felt very eerie. Especially the streets. You see, they are still blocked off so there is no traffic, and all of the team vehicles and buses from the race are parked throughout the core. But there is nothing going on right now. All of the riders and staff are in the hotels eating, getting massages and turning in early. Tomorrow morning should be a different story as I expect a beehive of activity as the teams get prepared for the days racing. The riders will be warming up (it's uphill right off the bat) and meeting in the team buses to go over strategy. The mechanics will be tuning up the bikes and prepping the cars. The official start time isn't until 11:35 so I'll just take a break form work tp head up there and check it out.
Last year I rode up to the top of Independence Pass to see the race go by as they headed into town. It was a blast and the atmosphere up there was a riot. Hard to describe though. Think along the lines of a great Halloween party. Anyway, the weather turned sour just as the riders started the descent and the organizers were unable to provide pics or video of the race as it headed down the pass into town, which was a bummer for me because I know every inch of that road and was looking forward to seeing the pros take it on. It was also a bummer because me and a thousand of my close cycling friends had to ride back down the pass in the rain. Oh well. This year, however, the weather held out and we got some great footage of the riders tackling Independence pass.
|Chicks racing bikes ... yes please|
Also, there were a bunch of cycling related kiosks around with swag and gear to show off. It was basically a mini carnival of sponsors that travel around with the race, setting up at each finishing town.
|Cadel Evans riding through town|