Photos from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Photo essay of the six circuits of downtown Denver from the final day of racing in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The day was marked by huge crowds, hot sun, and awesome racing. We are keeping our fingers crossed that sponsors will want to make this a tradition in Colorado.

I uploaded the largest version of these photos as possible, so click on each photo to see the full version and ready my witty captions.

My favorite shot of the day, taken from the corner of Broadway and Colfax with a Canon Powershot:

Speeding past at 30+ miles an hour
Riders complete circuit one of Stage 6 of the USAPPC
Civic Center Park in Denver in the background
Spectators were snap-happy that day
Are support cars a necessary evil of road racing?
Rounding the bend, again
Rush hour
And back the other way...
Rush Hour 2: Where's Chris Tucker?
Colfax and Broadway intersection, right before a short steep hill
Demoralizing short hill ahead
Unnamed rider, but a hero in my book
Here they come...
Look at the body language
The peloton heads up Capitol Hill, Colorado State House in the background
Winner Levi Leipheimer's protective posse. Great work, young man!

USA Pro Cycling Challenge

The press conference yesterday for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was filled with road cycling royalty: Cadel Evans, the Schleck brothers, Phil Liggett, Paul Sherwen, Ivan Basso, Christian Vande Velde. The press conference itself felt special–it was the first time in 23 years that a stage race was being held in Colorado.

The altitude and the Columbians were the topics of choice at the press conference. Stage 2 of the race is sure to be a killer–riders will scale two mountain passes, both at 12,000 feet, one of which is a dirt road.

Tom Danielson is a local favorite so expect him to make a good showing. The Tour de France podium guys will do well, but methinks none of them are after glory.

Watch for the Columbians, and read my latest blog post on Trail’s Edge for a preview of the race.


More on the Tour

Although Alberto Contador hasn’t been looking the badass he is in this Tour de France, he is confident he’s going to start taking names again once the Tour hits the Alps on Thursday and Friday.

There’s no doubt that 2 days of riding in the Alps, after over two weeks of riding 100+ miles a day, is a feat few can accomplish. But I take issue with Versus Television’s claim that The Tour de France is the “Most Epic Race. Ever.” Because it’s not. There’s plenty of endurance races out there that kicks the Tour’s butt. And as my allegiance is firmly in the mountain biking camp, I had to write last week about the Great Divide Race, a mountain bike race that skirts the Continental Divide (mountains the entire way), lasts at least three weeks for most demi-gods and -goddesses, and is solely supported. This means no teams, no support car, no fancy GPS devices, no sponshorship money, and no television coverage. Just the participants and the bike.

Like the Tour used to be.

A friend of mine had this history-lesson response to the way the Tour has changed since its inception:

Back when the Tour de France started over 100 years ago, it was very similar to the Great Divide.  It was initiated by a newspaper company that wanted to expand its readership beyond the city of Paris.  So, the TdF was a publicity stunt to generate interest throughout France.  The paper had exclusive rights to interviews with riders, etc.  The front page of the paper was printed on yellow news-print.  Hence the yellow jersey.
As the race took on a life of its won and sponsorship dollars flooded in, the purse for the winner grew into a huge sum.  Thenm the inevitable happened.  The equation below sums it up:
Huge Male Egos + Millions of Dollars at Stake + Pressure from Sponsors + Modern Chemistry + Lack of Ethics = Cheating
It happens in every sport when there is enough money to support the cost of the drugs.
In the past, the TdF didn’t do ANYTHING to dissuade the riders from doping.  This is evident by the fact that the race promoters issued a statement to teams back in the 1930’s stating, “Amphetamines will not be provided by the race organizers.  Teams are responsible for providing their own.” 
We’re not sure of the

Tour de France. Pshaw!

It looks like the Tour de France has destroyed Team Radio Shack this year. What a shame. I was really pulling for Chris Horner.

About a month ago, a friend of mine gave me a loaner Trek 1200 from the 1980s. How do I know it’s from the 1980s? Because it’s neon yellow, that’s why.

I haven’t really done the road bike thing since the mid-aughts, when an ex-boyfriend roadie was like, yeah, now we can ride together both on and off the trail. But instead of helping me adjust to road biking, he complained that I was riding too slow. So I dumped the dude, sold the bike, and hugged the Yeti even tighter.

But then a girl comes along, a mutual friend, who’s keen into biking and patience and wants to spread the cycling love. So she gives me this, as a long-term loaner:

And I’m in love with bikes, all over again. This love is deeper because it represents growth and a move away from severe dislike and disdain for road cycling and -ers (apart from the Tour de France, of course) into a newfound love affair. My commute across town, which used to take 40 minutes on my Beloved mid-90s Bianchi mountain bike, is now under half an hour. (In comparison, driving can take as long as 20 minutes, but usually hovers around 15.) Easy. So easy, in fact, that I’ve taken to riding in delicate sandals and skirts.

The Trek is super lightweight in all its aluminum canness. Unlike the mountain bikes I own, the Trek roadie coasts. Pedal a little, coast. Pedal, pedal, coast, coast, coast. Sometimes the ratio feels exponential.

I’m not hitting the mountains or even the foothills just yet, but the tiny little SheSpoke universe will be the first to know when I do.

Vive la Trek!