Police, emergency responders report a smooth Stage 1
August 17, 2015
Steamboat Springs — Police and emergency responders say Stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge went as smoothly as they had hoped.
“It’s kind of remarkable with the number of people in town, but we’ll take it," Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said.
The logistics in preparing for the seven-day stage race are almost as daunting as the race itself. Colorado has hosted the race for five years, and it is the third time stages have come through Steamboat.
Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Rob Madden said planning for the race started nine months ago. Meetings took place with race organizers and the Colorado Department of Transportation.
The race was mapped out minute by minute, which allowed CSP to do rolling closures of roads, rather than shut them down completely for the duration of the race. There were 30 to 40 troopers who rode with the peloton and another 15 to 20 closing roads.
“Trying to impact traffic as little as possible,” Madden said. “I think that went very smoothing today for the locals, who still had work to do.”
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At the Routt County Courthouse, CSP was based out of a mobile command center and handling logistics for the race. Routt County dispatchers also brought their mobile command center.
Clark resident and Colorado Emergency Management Director Chuck Vale was at the event in case the local or state agencies needed additional resources.
“Things went really well today,” Vale said. “It’s been quiet all around.”
With the influx of people in town, Steamboat Fire Rescue had six additional firefighters stationed in town.
When a cyclist crashed between Steamboat and Twentymile Coal Co., the race ambulance took care of the cyclist, and a West Routt Fire Protection District ambulance joined the race caravan for support.
Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said about 75 percent of his deputies were working during the race, and they supported the Steamboat Springs Police Department, which is currently understaffed.
“Our resources are definitely stretched to the max,” Wiggins said.
Steamboat Police Sgt. Jeff Wilson said it appeared everything went smoothly for their department, which was tasked with traffic control, among other things.
"I think for the most part, people were pretty understanding," Wilson said.