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Return of pro level stage racing in Colorado?

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Mar 11, 2009
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We already have the Tour of California... It should be even better if they move it's date.
There are so many great mountains to climb in California and people can actually get there to watch.. it seems like Big time stage racing is a dodgy proposition.. Tour of Georgia .. What happened there? Tour of Missou ? on the ropes.. Tour of Utah .
I guess if Lance says is a good idea... it must be.
 
Hugh Januss said:
Kinda makes me not want to vacation in Colorado.

The Boulder mountain RR courses around 119, 72 and 7 may be almost as bad. The good news is that I believe the "Tour of the Moon" area should be pretty similar to before, and I think the climb to Keystone on Highway 6 could be possible to close for a few hours on a mid-week day without a huge burden. Anyone confirm? Ben?

If anyone is curious why I'm nostalgic, this great DVD set is well worth owning. Especially to anyone in the US.

dolophonic said:
We already have the Tour of California... It should be even better if they move it's date.

I think they left you off the list. It is moving. Next year to May. So, unless a heavy snow year, even some of the high roads in the Sierras can be plowable. Though I think they'll likely not get there yet. Mostly though they will be able to race to somewhere like Mt. Wilson, or Crystal Lake without any issues, giving them a real Cat 1 climb with a mountain top finish. And if they can get to the Sierras...look out!
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
I think they left you off the list. It is moving. Next year to May. So, unless a heavy snow year, even some of the high roads in the Sierras can be plowable. Though I think they'll likely not get there yet. Mostly though they will be able to race to somewhere like Mt. Wilson, or Crystal Lake without any issues, giving them a real Cat 1 climb with a mountain top finish. And if they can get to the Sierras...look out!

I don't think they even need the Sierra unless it's at least a 2 week race. Between the central valley, the coastal mntns., the San Gabriels and further south they have more than enough terain and it is closer to cities with useful stuff like hotels and things.
The backside climb up to Big Bear from the Lucerne Valley is a b!tch. To say nothing of the climb to the base of the ski area at Mt. Baldy.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
Yea, I know. I have traveled all over the world photographing it.
Good for you.:) My point however is that if you look, you can find beauty right under your nose irrespective of where you are in the world. I agree that certain places can get oversold, but far be it for me to poo poo that place... or argue that it is less beautiful than another.

FWIW, I split my teens between the Alps and the Cascades... that I now live in Colorado in no way means I think Colorado is better.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
The Boulder mountain RR courses around 119, 72 and 7 may be almost as bad. The good news is that I believe the "Tour of the Moon" area should be pretty similar to before, and I think the climb to Keystone on Highway 6 could be possible to close for a few hours on a mid-week day without a huge burden. Anyone confirm? Ben?!

The problem is Morgul-Bismark is on the Front Range - roads (roughly) between Denver, Boulder, and Longmont. That is the trendy suburbia, with another million people being different - just like everyone else. (There are still great rolling rides there.)

While Grand Junction has also seen huge growth, the roads around ColoNatMonument have not changed that significantly - Tour of the Moon still applies.

Furthermore, while most of the really cool route here in western Colo are major/minor highways, the majors have full breakdown lanes on the side (or are 3-4 lane). Yea... A ten foot wide bike path seperated from the 70mph traffic with a rumble strip.

Most of the minor highways have an adequate paved shoulder, except Red Mountain and Independence Pass.

Truth be told, road riding here benefits from local knowledge to avoid the narrow passages during high traffic times. If you can, there are great rides, but if you get caught out, I feel for you.

Alpe, Dont know much about south Routt roads (RCR38) - I only do CO131 early, and only to or from (or twenty mile) Oak Creek. Also, it was an Oregon backroad that I was smeared upon - a Sunset hwy frontage road coming home from Aloha in 1976.
 
Hugh Januss said:
I don't think they even need the Sierra unless it's at least a 2 week race...
What you say is true about those climbs, however, they don't come close to matching the spectacular mountain scenery that riding up something like Onion Valley Road, Sabina Lakes or Mammoth Mountain. But it will be difficult to get there in such a short time frame. Simply having the race in May is going to open up enough roads already.

I do think there's potential to be an issue down the line though of only holding the race between about Auburn to Santa Rosa, to San Diego, to Big Bear, with the heaviest concentration within two hours of Los Angeles, and leaving the other half (north and east) of the state out, simply because of population. It's a fine line to walk in such a big state.

benpounder said:
The problem is...
I hear what you are saying, but you're mostly talking about riding, aren't you? I'm wondering how plausible it is to stage something like the old Boulder Road Race, which went up by Jamestown, Nederland and such. It's my understanding there are now a ton of vacation homes, and even residential houses along much of there, with heavy traffic, when 20 years ago it was mostly pine forest and high desert, with a remote cabin here or there.

Take a look at Independence Pass. They went over that thing many times in the Red Zinger and Coors', or into or through Aspen, but the traffic on those roads must be quintuple what it was twenty years ago.

Though they may have a difficult time finding routes close to population, that aren't so overcrowded with people that it's going to put everyone in a tizzy, California is finding a way, though they seem to have more remote paved roads, so we'll see.

I should be clear, I want Coors' to come back as much as anyone, I've said it before on here, I just think they're going to have to really get their thinking caps on, and talk to a lot of people to pull it off.

Alpe... it was an Oregon backroad that I was smeared upon - a Sunset hwy frontage road coming home from Aloha in 1976.

Uh, those are no longer back roads, at all. Here's what it mostly looks like now:

1544508.jpg


Mercifully, many, many county and FS roads that are paved in our state are in areas like this. Ideal for riding a bike. And these roads aren't that far from populated areas if we had a UCI Continental 2HC stage race here:

d8441f86956b946b1da8f7e1af86239.jpg


34974l.jpg
 
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benpounder said:
Good for you.:) My point however is that if you look, you can find beauty right under your nose irrespective of where you are in the world. I agree that certain places can get oversold, but far be it for me to poo poo that place... or argue that it is less beautiful than another.

FWIW, I split my teens between the Alps and the Cascades... that I now live in Colorado in no way means I think Colorado is better.

My point is that I have seen a lot of beautiful places and that in terms of US mountains, the Cascades are more beautiful to me. I am fairly certain I am allowed to make judgments like that considering I have the right to make judgments like that.

But thanks anyway for the lesson in aesthetics...
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
But thanks anyway for the lesson in aesthetics...
Tff, when you start off with a comment that comes across dogmatic, and a wee bit arrogant, you should not be surprised when someone calls you on it.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
Though they may have a difficult time finding routes close to population, that aren't so overcrowded with people that it's going to put everyone in a tizzy, California is finding a way...

Years ago, for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, a new housing development hosted the Crit. Granted it was for publicity, but the new asphalt and moderately hilly terrain made for a great race. And all the existing homeowners were brought on board early on in the planning. The point being, as you note, the various communities need to think proactively.

The major impediment for a major road race is the belief that motorists will be negatively impacted by a road closure. The argument goes that some tourist or trucker, unaware of all the notifications of road closures, will be unwilling to visit the state again if their plans are disrupted. But as we see with the ToC and the IHBC, when the communities along the proposed route work together and well in advance of a race, most of the negative issues can be mitigated.

But the biggest issue is getting a major sponsor on board. Durango and Silverton are more than willing to close down US550 because they know the IHBC brings thousands of participants into the communities for Memorial Day weekend. But then this race has been going on for 37 years. Without that kind of legacy, the various communities need a "guarantee" of participants and hence spectators, enough so to offset any perceived negative impact. With a large enough purse provided by, for example Celestial Seasons or Coors, the local communities would expect to see big name participants (check out how many people will be in Leadville this weekend), and would be willing sacrifice the minor inconvenience in reasonable anticipation of a major benefit.

I think, however, with the success of Ride the Rockies, Triple ByPass, and the other citizen “races” (where everyone is notified and some protection/separation between cyclists and motorists is provided), the mountain communities are becoming much more amicable towards the thought of hosting a real road race.

re Portland, I drove through two years ago - I had been avoiding that stretch of I5 for years - and was astounded. When you live in, or regularly visit a community, you don’t notice the incremental growth, but when you return after a twenty year hiatus it strikes you like a lead fist.
 
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benpounder said:
Tff, when you start off with a comment that comes across dogmatic, and a wee bit arrogant, you should not be surprised when someone calls you on it.

When you nominate yourself as the person to address things like that, you come off as arrogant. Physician heal thyself, just sayin'.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
And here's a recent snapshot taken near there:

13011715.jpg

Sad but not surprising to see the suburban sprawl creep into the Morgul-Bismark course. I remember riding the junior nats road race there in '87. Even then, I kind of remember the east side of the course as being pretty close to a residential area.
 
May 12, 2009
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Much of the most beautiful stuff is pretty remote from major population centers. East side of Sierra or So. Utah would be great for riding, but not so good for sponsors looking for exposure.

Even in places like the Colo Front Range area, you ought to still be able to do a rolling closure. The Salt Lake area is not quite as busy as Denver/Boulder, but we're still making it work for the Tour of Utah next week. For the queen stage next Sat, the closures are relatively long, as there's a citizen/amateur ride (1000 Warriors) that runs right before the pro ride. I did this last year, and it's certainly very challenging and great scenery. 100 miles and 13K of climbing, finishing up Little Cottonwood Canyon, which has roughly the same profile as Alpe d'Huez.
 
May 7, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:
I
That law I did not know about. That would really suck. I can see keeping cyclists off freeways, but any county roads? That's crazy.

I know, it would suck. But there has been resistance to the Commissioners. Now they are slightly "back-pedling" (pun intended).


This might seem not cycling related but ....
Here is another thing in the Beauty department that has not come up. The pine beetle infestation in Colorado has killed a huge amount of trees in the state. In certain areas, like for example Grand Lake to Winter Park, the majority of trees are brown and dead. I don't know if that affects things when choosing a race, but it does affect the asthetics of the state.

I have not (unfortunately) been through the Pacific Northwest. Has the beetle hit there yet?
 
Mar 31, 2009
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benpounder said:
I think, however, with the success of Ride the Rockies, Triple ByPass, and the other citizen “races” (where everyone is notified and some protection/separation between cyclists and motorists is provided), the mountain communities are becoming much more amicable towards the thought of hosting a real road race.

I wondered if this was going to come up...and I agree that the RTR and other citizen events have probably gone a long way toward softening up the public in advance of promoting a major professional race. In fact, I'm wondering if the traffic impact wouldn't be more from the influx of fans than the actual time it takes for the race to roll through...given the fact that it can take hours for the whole group of riders in RTR or Triple ByPass to get by.

I agree it would be great to have a return of pro stage racing to CO...and having Lance Armstrong's weight behind the effort could grease lots of the wheels that have been seemingly immovable in recent years. I agree also with other comments re: the creativity it will require to plan the course so that it's: A) close enough to the population centers w/ sufficient hotel space and support amenities, etc.; and B) able to utilize the truly epic terrain we have w/out grid-locking half the state. That said,. I'm sure that with the right momentum behind it - as proven by the ToC - it can be done successfully.

A final thought - I was just looking over my race program from the 1988 edition of the Coors Classic...which ran from August 8-21, beginning with a prologue time trial up to Coit Tower in San Francisco (same course used in the ToC a few years back), followed by 8 more road stages btw there and Reno (incl. two circuit races, 5 pt-to-pt and 1 crit), before finally reaching CO for the Tour of the Moon on stage 9. The map for that stage shows a course almost entirely within the National Monument, which should be no problem to replicate. The rest of the CO stages consisted of: Stage 10 - a circuit race in Aspen (probably a slam dunk for Lance to make that happen); Stage 11 - Aspen to Copper Mountain race, via Leadville over Independence pass (again probably do-able with the right juice); Stage 12 - mtn time trial up Vail Pass (used the frontage road and a few streets in town); Stage 13 - Vail Village criterium (held on streets that are closed to vehicles already); Stage 14 - Morgul-Bismarck (sadly that's probably impossible now); and Stage 15, the final circuit race held on the CU-Boulder campus.

The point is that I think it's still possible to showcase a lot of CO in "Coors Classic" fashion, and seems like there could be an opportunity to make this a regional affair, maybe by throwing in w/ the Tour of Utah, or looking at stages in Wyoming (think Casper Classic, plus the Jackson Hole area) and this could become a premier event again.

Wow - that's a long post...but I'm jazzed at the possibilities to see some big-time racing here again.:D

Cheers.
 
Apr 18, 2009
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Alpe d'Huez said:

Nice one. Kind of veering off topic, but if you want to do a nice drive, you can go from Paulina Lakes (pictured) to Fort Rock on dirt/gravel roads. It's really cool when you pop out of the ponderosa pine forests and see fort rock in the distance.

My twitter bg image is from that road:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/twitter_production/profile_background_images/4257124/gravel_road.JPG (you'd hardly know it's Oregon, from the 'rainy, forests' stereotype)

I don't know if it'd make a good ride... it's pretty long and gravelly for a road ride, and kind of wide and flat for an mtb ride. Fort rock is a cool little place though, and quite a ways off the beaten path.
 
Mar 31, 2009
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davidw said:
Interesting thread...

If we ever go back to the US from Italy, one place we're considering is Boulder.

It looks like there are tons of racers living there, but one thing I don't get is what people do in the winter. Here in Northern Italy, it's no sunny Mediterranean paradise, but it's almost always above 0 C, so you can train year round if you dress right. Even western Oregon is ok in the winter, if you have good rain gear and don't get too demoralized by the constant gray. Personally I think Southern Oregon is where it's at... you get some bigger climbs than those steady grades over in Bend; also it's warmer in the winter.

I didn't mind the winters we spent in Innsbruck, Austria, but really missed being able to get out on my bike. I'm not into skiing or much in the way of winter sports besides "rodeling".

Howdy - Boulder would be no problem for winter cycling...the Colorado front range is really pretty mild in the winter. Of course there are storms with snowfall that keep you indoors a few times, but for the most part the roads are rideable at least 350 out of the 365 days every year. The mountain roads just west of town stay sketchy for a few days longer following a storm, but if you're careful you can still get hill time on a regular basis. Italy sounds awesome too...although I'd probably give up most of my fitness chasing good coffee and food over there :)
 
Aug 4, 2009
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wheels55 said:
Howdy - Boulder would be no problem for winter cycling...the Colorado front range is really pretty mild in the winter. Of course there are storms with snowfall that keep you indoors a few times, but for the most part the roads are rideable at least 350 out of the 365 days every year.

crap. And I've lived in Boulder county the past 6 years.

CA has it going on no, granted, February is kinda early. The Pacific Northwest is pretty enough, but different "new places" have to be picked based upon calendar schedule, typical weather patterns (not some wishful fantasy like the above post) and the Northwest would be a tough sell anytime of the year regardless of the weather (local constables, no infrastructure for tourism, etc)
CO has already shown a rich heritage as a great place for mid-year to end-of-season elite stage racing. Truth is LA has the connections to gedt the kind of backing that would pick up where the old colorado classic stage race left off...that one even wound its way to CA a coupla decades ago and there is NO reason whatsoever that the western hemisphere should not have a Grand Tour....apart from the part and parcel fact that in Lazy America we have not come up with one motivated group of promotion-oriented people willing to spend the sweat equity and cash to make it happen. Say what you will, best chance to see something like that happen even in your young web-surfing trash-talking lives is...you guessed it...LA.

:cool:
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Thoughtforfood said:
When you nominate yourself as the person to address things like that, you come off as arrogant. Physician heal thyself, just sayin'.
I finally understand just how you have gotten such a astronomically high post count - seems you always have to have the last word.

Carry on, Tff, carry on...
 
Aug 4, 2009
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benpounder said:
I finally understand just how you have gotten such a astronomically high post count - seems you always have to have the last word. Carry on, Tff, carry on...
better than a dozen posts per day :eek:....takes the fun right out of "fun-atic"! :rolleyes:
 
Aug 14, 2009
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md2020 said:
Sad but not surprising to see the suburban sprawl creep into the Morgul-Bismark course. I remember riding the junior nats road race there in '87. Even then, I kind of remember the east side of the course as being pretty close to a residential area.

The course itself is still mostly surrounded by publicly owned open space. But the area to the east has been built up a lot, and there is a large shopping center on the NE corner of the course. Route 93, which forms the western side of the course, is still completely surrounded by open space but has a ton of traffic (and narrow shoulders).

Probably the biggest obstacle to having a professional race on the course would be the shopping center, and maybe closing 93.

For recreational cyclists, 3/4 of the route is still very nice. Speaking for myself, the combination of heavy, fast traffic and small shoulders makes 93 uncyclable (is that a word?), though you do still see some cyclists on that stretch.
 
May 7, 2009
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LMaggitti said:
The course itself is still mostly surrounded by publicly owned open space. But the area to the east has been built up a lot, and there is a large shopping center on the NE corner of the course. Route 93, which forms the western side of the course, is still completely surrounded by open space but has a ton of traffic (and narrow shoulders).

Probably the biggest obstacle to having a professional race on the course would be the shopping center, and maybe closing 93.

For recreational cyclists, 3/4 of the route is still very nice. Speaking for myself, the combination of heavy, fast traffic and small shoulders makes 93 uncyclable (is that a word?), though you do still see some cyclists on that stretch.

They call Highway 93 "The Rod Serling Parkway"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twilight_Zone
 
Mar 18, 2009
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LMaggitti said:
The course itself is still mostly surrounded by publicly owned open space. But the area to the east has been built up a lot, and there is a large shopping center on the NE corner of the course. Route 93, which forms the western side of the course, is still completely surrounded by open space but has a ton of traffic (and narrow shoulders).

Probably the biggest obstacle to having a professional race on the course would be the shopping center, and maybe closing 93.

For recreational cyclists, 3/4 of the route is still very nice. Speaking for myself, the combination of heavy, fast traffic and small shoulders makes 93 uncyclable (is that a word?), though you do still see some cyclists on that stretch.

I found this map of the course:

http://www.trailcentral.com/gps/gps_details.php?key=101

I think I may have been turned around a little because I was thinking of the residential area that is actually on the west side which I guess is Superior. I'm a little surprised to see from the satellite view that it hasn't expanded too much east of S McCaslin Blvd but makes sense if much of the open space is publicly owned. As for Hwy 93, I remember that being my least favorite section during training rides. It definitely had the most traffic and not a lot of room to ride.
 
Thoughtforfood said:
meh, Colorado is alright, but the Cascades are truly beautiful. I would like to see a multi stage race through Oregon, Washington, maybe Vancouver, Vancouver Island. Maybe a TT on Orcas Island. Colorado is over hyped IMO. Don't get me wrong, it is BEAUTIFUL, but truly there are more beautiful places in the US and Canada for me.

I haven't gone on to read the next 4 pgs of posts. But CO makes more sense than any of those other places because in addition to staggering beauty (and I will concede the 'most beautiful' state discussion) they have 2 other things: money and people. Otherwise just go up to Alaska or the Northwest territories.

Please note that I am grateful if Lance uses his stature to help build cycling. No snarky doping jabs or AC reminders.
 
benpounder said:
Good for you.:) My point however is that if you look, you can find beauty right under your nose irrespective of where you are in the world.

+1
I am writing from vacation in E Hartford CT. We just showed our son a house that we rented 15 years ago. We hated it. We hated the neighborhood. Car broken into. Vile neighbors. As we drove thru the streets to our old house, the quaintness of the area was undeniable. When it was home, it wasn't good enough, but to see it again at arms length, gourgeous. Separating the emotional attachment made it easier to love the aesthetic.

Nice to visit family on vacation ... and then turn my back with a borrowed laptop.... it's ok...they're in-laws.