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Cycling race gives Colorado economy a $99 million boost

2012 USA Pro Challenge once again draws more than 1 million fans

USA Pro Cycling racers ride a warmup lap on Park Avenue in Breckenridge, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite the dark shadow cast by Lance Armstrong, cycling remains an extremely popular spectator sport, with this past summer’s edition of the USA Pro Challenge once again drawing more than 1 million viewers, according to race organizers.

Almost incredibly, race organizers this week sent out a press release on the race that didn’t include a single mention of Armstrong, who helped found the race, or the fact that the winners of the first two editions of the race, Levi Leipheimer and Christian Vande Velde are inextricably linked with the Lance Armstrong story.

Instead, the press release focused on the economic benefits of the race, estimating that it generated a $99.6 million economic impact on the state, as visitors flocked to towns along the route, spending money on lodging and in local restaurants.

Fans from outside the state and Coloradans traveling 50 miles or more to take in an event stage contributed $81.5 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. The remaining economic impact comes in the form of team, staff, sponsor and vendor spending, employment created by the event, and the resulting tax effects of the race. Continue reading

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USA Pro Cycling Challenge announces poster contest

Racers in the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge approach Silverthorne on Highway 9. PHOTO COURTESY KIM FENSKE.

Artists sought to design distinctive artwork for 12 host cities and a national poster

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Organizers of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge have invited artists from around the country to create event poster for each of the 12 host cities of this year’s race, along with a national event poster that will be seen throughout the world.

All types of artists – professional, amateur and aspiring – are encouraged to let their creativity flow and submit their designs via the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Facebook page. Entries will be accepted until Friday, March 16, with the winners being announced April 16. Continue reading

‘Pedal the Plains’ cycling trek planned for September

A cycle tour of Colorado's eastern plains in late September will feature stops at community festivals and meals made with local produce.

New event billed as a ride for regular folks

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With all the hoopla over the annual Ride the Rockies and the new USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Colorado’s eastern plains may have been feeling a little left out of the cycling buzz.

But that will all change this fall, when the inaugural Pedal The Plains ride will celebrate the agricultural roots and frontier heritage of the Colorado Eastern Plains, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who announced the event this week in Denver. Continue reading

Cycling race gave Colorado economy an $85 million boost

Pro cyclists ride through Silverthorne during the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. PHOTO BY KIM FENSKE.

Organizers say the race drew more than 1 million spectators

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The inaugural edition of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge attracted more than 1 million spectators to watch the world’s best cyclists compete in a seven-day, 500-mile race through Colorado.  The event resulted in an $85.3 million economic boost for the state, according to an economic impact study released this week.

More than $67 million came in the form of direct spending by traveling spectators. Fans from outside the state and Coloradans traveling 50 miles or more to take in an event stage spent $67.4 million on lodging, food, transportation and entertainment. The remaining economic impact comes in the form of team, staff, sponsor and vendor spending, employment created by the event, and the resulting tax revenue generated by spending related to the race. Continue reading

Breckenridge wins kudos for bike-friendly policies

Cycling organization upgrades town’s status from Silver to Gold

Breckenridge, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Making Breckenridge bike friendly has been a big priority for the Colorado resort town, and this week, the hard work paid off as the League of American Bicyclists upgraded the town’s bike-friendly status from Silver to Gold.

“The League congratulates Breckenridge and all of our BFC winners for implementing successful, long-term bicycle plans and programs that provide quality of life improvements for their citizens,” said League president Andy Clarke. “Even in tough economic times it is clear that cities are choosing investment in bicycling as a key to building the places people want to live, work and visit.” Continue reading

Colorado: Cycling season peaks with races, winery tours

Colorado cycling will be showcased with a slew of races and other special events.

Explore the Centennial State on two wheels

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — From townie cruisers to body armored downhillers and sleek road-racers, Colorado is a true Mecca for cyclists, and this summer’s lineup of special events underscores the point.

In August, some of the world’s best road racers will be in the state for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, while top mountain bikers will line up to tackle the Leadville 100 and a marathon-length race up Pikes Peak.

And besides all that, the BMX scene is also growing by leaps and bounds, with the opening of a new track in South Park and another under construction in Frisco.

In short, there’s never been a better time to explore Colorado on two wheels. Here is a partial listing of Colorado cycling adventures for every speed:

•    August 13 – The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is among the most challenging mountain bike races in the country, featuring steep climbs and serious descents at elevations in excess of 12,000 feet. Although this year’s mountain bike race is full, thousands will travel to Leadville to watch and cheer on their favorites
.

•    August 13 – The Stonewall Century is a challenging road bike ride in southern Colorado that starts and ends in La Veta. Be treated to scenic vistas, friendly volunteers, great feed stations, and steep hills. The route follows Highway 12, a Colorado Scenic Byway known as the “Highway of Legends.” Continue reading

Breckenridge: Bikes take center stage this week

A passion for cycling can start at an early age in Summit County.

Breck Bike Week features group rides, workshops and volunteer trail-building opportunities

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breck Bike Week is going big this year, with events including a countdown to the start of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, group rides, mechanical clinics and even a mountain bike ride with Breckenridge Mayor and cyclist John Warner.

“Breckenridge strives to kindle a new passion for sports, especially mountain and road biking, through events like our annual Bike Week,” Warner said. “Bike Week brings the best manufacturers to town so that visitors and locals can experience the latest and greatest equipment. We marry the high-tech side with easily-accessible activities such as paved bike paths and poker rides. We love bikes and bike events.”

With access to a trail network spanning more than 1,000 miles of Summit County, Breckenridge has a well-deserved reputation as a summer cycling destination. Many trails (which serve as routes for both amateur and professional races) are preexisting paths and flumes used by miners in search of gold. Road cyclists can explore the surrounding counties via mountain passes, bike paths and state highways. Continue reading

Global warming: ‘The alarm bells should be going off’

Don Ross buckles up preparing for the ride from Dillon over Hoosier Pass on his global warming awareness trek from Alaska to Washington, D.C.

Former  bush pilot cycling from Alaska to Washington, D.C. stops in Dillon to describe his observations on climate change

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Stopping briefly in Dillon on his bicycle trek from Alaska to Washington, D.C., Don Ross said Colorado is not the only place hit hard by the spread of tree-killing insects.

“One of the things I’ve noticed is the dying trees along the way. There are extensive areas of forest-kill, dying spruce and pines from Alaska all the way down through British Columbia,” he said, attributing the unprecedented scope of the infestations to a warming climate. Severe cold snaps that used to keep the bug populations in check by killing the larvae in the trees are not occurring any more, he said.

Ross, who calls himself a peace rider, decided to make the cycle journey as a way of bringing attention to global warming and the perils he said it poses for the future of the planet. He’s maintaining a blog during his journey and has met with reporters along the way to relate his story.

His ride comes at a time when polls show increasing skepticism about global warming and its causes, even as scientific evidence mounts by the day. Continue reading

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