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2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge

The Greatest Multi-Day Professional Cycling Tour in Colorado


The 1st USA Pro Cycling Challenge
August 24, 2011 - 2011 is the first year of a new professional cycling race, named the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Today was Stage 2, called the "Queen Stage" for being a ridiculously long and difficult ride in the Rocky Mountains. Cyclists begin in Gunnison, ascend Taylor Canyon, pass Taylor Park Reservoir and climb on a dirt road to Cottonwood Pass on the Continental Divide. Then they speed down into Buena Vista before turning north into Lake County and riding through Twin Lakes and Independence Pass. When they finished in Aspen, they had cycled 131 miles.

As a resident of Buena Vista, I was so proud that they came through our town. Below is my video as they sped by on Chaffee County Road 306. I picked this spot because Mt. Princeton was in the background! :)


As they came into Buena Vista, Colorado.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge
The leading group of seven cyclists.
Two Photos By Scott Hiller

As I stood on the roadside and waited for the entourage of cyclists, I met Scott Hiller of Lakewood, Colorado. We had a nice talk about Colorado 14ers and other things.

Because they would be flying past us so quickly, I had a choice between taking photos of doing a video. I chose to make a video and Scott chose to snap pictures. Generously, Scott emailed me these two photos. What great shots!

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Colorado
The peloton.
Mt. Princeton, in all her beauty, stands in the background.


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USA Pro Cycling Challenge

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Photos

On the official cycling tour website, I watched streaming video with announcers as they exited Gunnison and approached Taylor Canyon. Because they would ride practically in front of my front door, I knew how long it would be before they passed in Buena Vista. :)

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Special thanks to Kimberley Williams for capturing many of these shots as she watched the race in Texas.

Adjacent is a major switchback area on the western slope of Cottonwood Pass. I'm sure spectactors had a lot of fun cheering them.

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Gunnison County Road 209 is a dirt road for approximately ten miles to Cottonwood Pass. Apparently it had rained, which made the road muddy!
USA Pro Cycling Challenge Cottonwood Pass Beautiful mountains in the backdrop as they came closer to Cottonwood Pass.
USA Pro Cycling Challenge Cottonwood Pass

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Cottonwood Pass

Love it! The crazy and fun chaos of fans cheering for cyclists who slowly worked their way up.

I run a website dedicated to Cottonwood Pass. Some interesting pages of note:

  • Cycling Cottonwood Pass (I SAG'ed for friends.)
  • My Bike Ride To Cottonwood Pass
  • Snow at Cottonwood Pass
  • Main page: www.cottonwoodpass.net
  • Speeding down the canyon toward Buena Vista and the Arkansas River Valley.
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Having spent so much time in the mounatins, I know exact where these spots are. :)
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge The peloton passing me on Chaffee County Road 306, approximately 2.5 miles west of the center of Buena Vista.
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Buena Vista, CO Coming closer into town.

    Ahhhh! To have a SAG wagon like that following and helping me out on one of my bike across America rides would be sublime. Maybe someday. :)

    Buena Vista, Colorado West Main Street in Buena Vista.
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Buena Vista, CO The peloton rides north of the traffic light in Buena Vista.

    Photo contributed by Shannon Jordan.

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    Cyclists ride on the long straightaway area north of Buena Vista and toward the Numbers whitewater rafting launch site on the Arkansas River.
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Granite, CO I was disappointed the Versus announcers did not say anything when cyclists rode through Granite in northern Chaffee County. Here's one screen capture that shows one structure on the right.

    Some of my Granite, CO pages:

  • Granite main page
  • Hike To Overlook
  • Colorado Jeep Trail
  • Another hike
  • USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge at Independence Pass

    The riders turned west on Highway 82, passed through Twin Lakes, and then continued west ... A large number of fans greeted cyclists as they toiled up Independence Pass.

    By the way, I have cycled both Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass, although admittedly I'm not as fast as these guys ... at all. ;)

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge at Independence Pass A large overhead banner at the top of Independence Pass.
    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    USA Pro Cycling Challenge

    The leaders speeding down on the west side of Independence Pass. It would be mostly downhill to the finish line in Aspen.

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