Joel Reichenberger: Defining Bike Town
September 10, 2011
Steamboat Springs — I couldn't help but sympathize with Corey Piscopo's sentiment last week when, after a disappointing community response to the third annual Steamboat Springs Stage Race, he wondered about "Bike Town burnout."
It's been a long summer for biking, and things seemed to pick up at the end. I feel bad for the organizers of the stage race, but I can't blame Steamboat's apathy, either. It's been all biking all the time, and that had hit its climax during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
The action in the stage race was fast and exciting and, with two of the four days taking place entirely within Steamboat Springs city limits, easy to access. But the energy bled away, drip by drip through June and July and in one great wave in late August with the Pro Cycling Challenge.
Can Steamboat be Bike Town USA if we sometimes get tired of biking? I don't know why not, though I'm not among the Bike Town bemoaners.
The basis of the claim on that title is the vast and varied options available to cyclists in Steamboat, but most of the evidence that supports the claim has been events: last summer's Lance Armstrong Ride 4 Yellow buzz, the Tour de Steamboat, the popular and competitive Town Challenge Mountain Bike Race Series events and this summer's Pro Cycling Challenge stages.
That won't always be the case, though. Steamboat isn't known for its winter sports because of events, and when more trails are ready and signage issues are sorted out, it won't be known for biking because of its events, either.
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To me, that's what the Bike Town task force is about. The Bike Town USA task force is composed largely of volunteers, people from various local entities who came together to help push through plans. Its accomplishments haven't come stamped "BTUSA," but from the trails at the ski area to the Pro Cycling Challenge's stop in Steamboat, you can be sure task force members were involved.
The second annual Steamboat Springs Bike Summit is on the horizon, scheduled for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, and would be a great place for all of Steamboat to take part in the process of hashing out what all of this will mean.
There aren't any major cycling events between now and then, so there's time for all of us to take a breath and put biking momentarily on the back burner before we revisit it with fresh eyes.
"Bike Town USA" is just a marketing phrase, but in the end, it will mean whatever Steamboat decides it means. Help make that decision, or don't complain.