Pre-race event to offer chance to ride with pros | SteamboatToday.com

Pre-race event to offer chance to ride with pros

Riders in the peloton climb the "Three Witches" — or "Three sisters" or "Three..." nevermind — climbs near Oak Creek during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.





Riders in the peloton climb the “Three Witches” — or “Three sisters” or “Three…” nevermind — climbs near Oak Creek during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.
Matt Stensland

— It's a roughly 50-mile loop on Twentymile Road that will be tackled one day next week by more than 100 riders on 16 teams in the fifth annual USA Pro Challenge. But first, local cyclists will have the chance Saturday to join several pro riders and tackle what will be Stage 1 of the Pro Challenge in Steamboat Springs.

The Go Ride Steamboat event will give locals a chance to join in the numbers games and tackle the course with several professional cyclists.

The event will feature two routes — a 54-mile version and a 28-mile one. Registration for the rides is still available online at usaprocyclingchallenge.com/experiences/go-ride. There, the long ride will cost $90 for adults and $70 for children, who must be older than 15. The shorter version will cost $80 for both adults and children.

Registration includes a tech T-shirt, two beers and, for the first 100 who signed up, Smith sunglasses.

Day-of registration will be available beginning at 6 a.m. on site and will cost $10 extra.

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The long ride will start at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and the shorter ride at 8:30; both begin and end in Gondola Square at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.

It's non-competitive, but one race element will be available for those willing to tackle it: A King of the Mountain checkpoint will be set up near Oak Creek to time riders who elect to pick up a timing chip as they take on two miles of climbing.

The fastest man and fastest over that short stretch will win a spot in an amateur time trial race in Breckenridge before Stage 5 on Aug. 21.

In addition to riding the route Monday's racers will tackle, riders will get to finish as they do as well, under the USA Pro Challenge truss.

Setting up a lead out train and a bunch sprint will be up to the riders.

The course awaiting the "peloton of pedestrian" that will ride Saturday includes plenty of nice, rolling terrain with three tough climbs near Oak Creek. Those hills go by a handful of names, not all of which are newspaper worthy, and all of which center around the moniker "three witches."

They're not likely to significantly alter the pro riders on Monday, but they should do plenty to disrupt that race temporarily, and they should prove a respectable hurdle for Saturday's Average Joe's.

The event will run clockwise around the Colorado Highway 131, Twentymile Road loop, opposite the direction the race will take Monday.

Two pros will join the ride. Timmy Duggan is a Boulder rider who retired from the sport in 2013 and most recently competed on Saxo-Tinkoff, one of the top team's in this year's race. Ben Day, meanwhile, is a current rider for UnitedHealthcare, which is competing in Steamboat this year. An Australian, he's been competing professionally since 2002.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9