Marc Bennett watches the opening stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Tuesday afternoon inside Carl’s Tavern. About 130 professional cyclists will ride into town Friday afternoon and leave Saturday morning over Rabbit Ears Pass, and Steamboat officials are confident the hard work put into the event will pay off.

Photo by John F. Russell

Marc Bennett watches the opening stage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge on Tuesday afternoon inside Carl’s Tavern. About 130 professional cyclists will ride into town Friday afternoon and leave Saturday morning over Rabbit Ears Pass, and Steamboat officials are confident the hard work put into the event will pay off.

Steamboat officials, organizers bank on time, money investment paying off

Advertisement

Traffic and detours

For Steamboat motorists and through traffic on U.S. Highway 40 intent on passing through downtown Steamboat in the hours before and immediately after the finish of Friday’s Stage 4, the detour will closely resemble the re-routing of traffic onto Oak Street via Third and 11th streets that is used during Fourth of July and Winter Carnival parades.

The eastbound lanes of U.S. 40 will be closed to traffic beginning at 11:45 a.m. Friday from South Pine Grove Road to Third Street to accommodate the 136 riders in the Pro Cycling Challenge as well as a separate time trial race for elite hand-cyclists from 12:15 to 2:30 p.m. The hand-cyclists will be an out-and-back race from the Pro Cycling Challenge finish line on U.S. 40 at Sixth Street to the Mount Werner Road off ramp.

During the time that the eastbound lanes are closed, orange cones placed by the Colorado Department of Transportation will divide traffic headed in both directions on the two lanes usually reserved for westbound traffic.

The Pro Cycling Challenge cyclists will arrive in Steamboat via Colorado Highway 131 to Routt County Road 14F and then take C.R. 14 (River Road) to the Mount Werner Road intersection at Tree Haus. Riders will then ride up the U.S. 40 off ramp in the wrong direction for the sprint into downtown.

As soon as the lead riders emerge onto the highway from the off ramp, all traffic on the highway will be stopped for safety reasons.

To prepare for the finish, Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Fifth Street to 11th Street beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday. Traffic will be re-routed from Lincoln Avenue to Oak Street at Third and 11th streets during that time. Side streets will remain open until 10 p.m. Thursday. At 10 p.m., all remaining cross streets will be closed.

At 10 a.m. Friday, Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Fifth Street to Third Street. That stretch of Lincoln Avenue will be the first to reopen after the event, with all other cross streets reopening as quickly as possible. Lincoln Avenue is expected to reopen at about 11 p.m. Friday.

As soon as the last racer finishes the race, CDOT will pick up the cones and traffic will revert to a normal pattern on U.S. 40 from Third Street east.

Like Oak Street, Yampa Street will remain open to traffic throughout the event.

— Local USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizers and city of Steamboat Springs officials say hosting the race’s Stage 4 finish and Stage 5 start will cost as much as $175,000, not to mention the help of as many as 300 volunteers. It’s an investment City Manager Jon Roberts is confident will benefit the entire community.

About 130 professional cyclists will ride into town Friday afternoon and leave Saturday morning over Rabbit Ears Pass. And all of it will be televised internationally, meaning pictures and stories about Steamboat will be broadcast across the nation and around the globe.

“I don’t think you could purchase this type of marketing,” Roberts said. “The world will be focused on this event, and Steamboat Springs will be featured.”

Jim Schneider is chairman of the local organizing committee that has worked for almost a year to bring a stage of the inaugural race to Steamboat. Steamboat’s nominating petition was accepted last September, and it’s the only city to host both a stage finish and a stage start.

Schneider said the local organizing committee comprises 30 volunteers who met monthly during the winter and weekly this summer, not to mention the various subcommittees that broke out from the main group. He said another group of 75 people has been active in the event planning and execution since the beginning, and Schneider expects between 150 and 200 additional volunteers to work Friday and Saturday.

That doesn’t count the city and county employees who will help throughout the event.

“There are countless hours of planning that have gone into this,” he said. “I wouldn’t even begin to venture what that number is. It’s a lot. It’s a broad range of community groups. It’s all citizen-driven, too. I think that’s a key piece. They’re all folks who think this event will be good for the community in the long run, if not the short run.”

Some of those groups are local businesses. Schneider said 25 of them will have booths during the Lifestyle Expo from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

He added that many of those local vendors also are sponsors of the event.

City Finance Director Deb Hinsvark said local businesses and USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizer Medalist Sports, of Atlanta, kicked in more than $78,000 to bring the event to Routt County. The local organizing committee raised between $10,000 and $12,000 by selling VIP tickets to a viewing area in a tent by the finish line.

The City Council approved a $35,000 contribution March 1, bringing the cash total to about $125,000. She said another $26,000 was provided through in-kind donations, including local lodging properties discounting rooms for the event, bringing the total cost to about $151,000.

That’s before adding the cost of city employee works hours to plan the event and work Friday and Saturday, including emergency services workers, bus drivers and other city staff and expenses, Hinsvark said.

She estimated the total cost of hosting the USA Pro Cycling Challenge at between $160,000 and $175,000.

Roberts said the local organizing committee has worked hard to create a memorable weekend not only for locals, but also for the cyclists and visitors.

“We think the participants and spectators, their experience in Steamboat Springs will really stand out,” he said. “In my opinion, the world will get a chance to see why Steamboat Springs is so special.”

Schedule

■ Friday

12:15 p.m. Stage 4 begins in Avon

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Moots Cycles factory tour

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kent Eriksen Cycles factory tour

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lifestyle Expo and Sierra Nevada Beer Garden on Lincoln Avenue. Expo will feature food, official race merchandise, a Kids Zone and more.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Live music at the Lifestyle Expo

12:15 p.m. U.S. Paracycling Challenge start at Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue

1 to 3 p.m. Live music at the Lifestyle Expo with Steamboat’s Loose Change

2 p.m. Live race feed begins on the big screens on Lincoln Avenue

2 p.m. U.S. Paracycling Challenge finish and awards ceremony

3:30 p.m. Approximate finish of Stage 4 of the Pro Cycling Challenge

3:45 p.m. Approximate start of Stage 4 award ceremonies downtown

5:30 p.m. Start of Free Summer Concert Series performance at Howelsen Hill with 3 Twins Broadband and members of the Subdudes

9 p.m. Fireworks show at Howelsen Hill

■ Saturday

9:30 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge teams arrive at Meadows Parking Lot

9:30 a.m. Lifestyle Expo opens

9:30 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge Hospitality Tent opens

10 a.m. Pro Cycling Challenge announcers introduce and interview representatives

10:15 a.m. Athletes alley

10:30 a.m. Stage 5 start ceremony

11:20 a.m. Stage 5 starts from Meadows Parking Lot

11:35 a.m. STARS Charity Ride start

2 to 5 p.m. STARS Charity Ride party in Little Toots Park

8 p.m. SmartWool Show ’n Shine bike cruise at Howelsen Hill

9 p.m. SmartWool Bike-in Movie “Best in Show” at Howelsen Hill

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.