Thousands of people packed into downtown Steamboat Springs on Wednesday to watch the USA Pro Challenge Stage 3 finish, but area businesses had mixed results.

Photo by Scott Franz

Thousands of people packed into downtown Steamboat Springs on Wednesday to watch the USA Pro Challenge Stage 3 finish, but area businesses had mixed results.

Downtown Steamboat businesses evaluate USA Pro Challenge impact

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct Derek Hodson's name.

Weather, event setup and the route of the USA Pro Challenge stage coming into Steamboat Springs all can have an effect on the downtown businesses lining the race chute on Lincoln Avenue.

Derek Hodson, of Steamboat Ski & Bike Kare, said his store was selling a lot of store-branded water bottles because of the heat.

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Bike Steamboat jerseys, USA Pro Challenge T-shirts and Routt County Riders jerseys also were selling well, he said.

But overall, the day was shaping up to have a “medium” amount of traffic.

“We expected it not to be as busy as” when the 2011 USA Pro Challenge stopped in Steamboat, Hodson said.

The midweek finish instead of the weekend dates in 2011 might have been a factor, he said.

“Kids have already started school in Denver,” he said. “It’s really hot. People are waiting to come downtown.”

Hodson also cited the route as a guess to why business might not measure up to the last time the cycling race was in town.

Rabbit Ears Pass was a top hill climb in Year 1, he said, and this year, people might make the drive from Breckenridge to Beaver Creek — the start of Stage 3 and end of Stage 4, respectively — rather than travel to Steamboat.

However, Hodson said, he expects tomorrow to be bigger, especially for Ski & Bike Kare’s new location at Gondola Square.

Pete Boniface, of Backcountry Delicatessen, said the day was going great.

“We sold a ton of beverages,” he said, adding that lunch business was good, as well.

“We were preparing for it to be even busier,” Boniface said. When the race went through in 2011, he said, it was one of the biggest days they’d had.

“There’s more places open,” he said about Old Town Square at Seventh Street and Lincoln Avenue. “It’s spreading it out a little.”

Bronwyn Rittner, of All That Jazz, said the traffic during the afternoon Wednesday wasn’t all that much busier than a typical day.

She had been worried about the setup of the tents on Lincoln Avenue but said it didn’t look to be a factor this year.

“I think they’ve done a much better job this year (with our block) letting us have that storefront space,” Rittner said. “Every year, they get a little better” setting up the event.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

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