Chip-and-seal makes for a bumpy ride for cyclists coming to Steamboat |

Chip-and-seal makes for a bumpy ride for cyclists coming to Steamboat

Road project shouldn’t affect USA Pro Cycling Challenge racers this week

Competitors in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will turn off Colorado Highway 131 onto this stretch of Routt County Road 14F, where they will cross railroad tracks and ride 0.4-miles of road that recently was chip-and-sealed.

— A 2.35-mile stretch of Routt County Road 14 is riding a little rough for area cyclists because of a recent resurfacing project, but it should have little affect on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge racers arriving in Steamboat Springs on Friday afternoon.

The pro cyclists are arriving from the south on Colorado Highway 131 and will turn left near Haymaker Golf Course onto C.R. 14F, which recently was chip-and-sealed by the Routt County Road and Bridge Department. The cyclists will stay on C.R. 14F for about 0.4-miles before turning right onto a portion of C.R. 14, or River Road, that was not part of the chip-and-seal project. The cyclists will take River Road to Mount Werner Road, where they will cross the Yampa River and turn west onto U.S. Highway 40 for the downtown finish.

The road resurfacing will have a greater impact on two other races using a longer stretch of River Road.

The thought of riding on fresh chip-and-seal makes some cyclists cringe because it creates a rough surface that can stay that way for months. The maintenance essentially involves smashing rock into a fresh layer of tar on the road. Governments see it as an economical alternative to paving roads with asphalt, and some cyclists even praise it because it expands riding opportunities.

"I think the biggest problem is it creates vibration on the bike," local cyclist Corey Piscopo said. "It can also lead to flat tires."

Piscopo is the promoter of the Steamboat Stage Race taking place Sept. 2 to 5. The Friday portion of the cycling event is a time trial that will utilize River Road. He said he is not as opposed to chip-and-seal as some, and he tested out the road Monday night.

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"It's a little uncomfortable, but I just think that's the nature of roads, so we're going to go with it," Piscopo said.

He said the pros coming to Steamboat on Friday should not have any problems with the 0.4-mile stretch of chip-and-seal.

"They're going to roll through it like it's nothing," Piscopo said.

Pat West has been serving as the technical director for the local organizing committee of the Pro Cycling Challenge. He said race officials knew about the planned chip-and-seal project and they did not think it was an issue because it was such a short stretch of road.

"It's a little bit rougher, but it's a finished product," West said.

The Steamboat Triathlon this Sunday also will utilize River Road for the cycling portion of its race. Cyclists participating in that event will ride over the chip-and-seal twice during the 25-mile, out-and-back course from Lake Catamount to Howelsen Hill.

"It does shake your bike a little bit, but it doesn't present any hazards," race founder Joy Rasmussen said.

Participants in the 2008 race dealt with similar chip-and-seal conditions, and although it might have slowed some cyclists, it did not lead to any problems during the race, Rasmussen said.

Road and Bridge Director Paul Draper said the two layers of 3/4-inch chip-and-seal on River Road between Humble Ranch and C.R. 22 was part of scheduled maintenance, and he had worked with race organizers to let them know about the work.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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