Hoof and pedal
Prologue cycle race to start in GoG, then down avenue
Featuring the Garden of the Gods for a scenic start and Colorado and Cascade avenues for a downtown finish, officials with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge have announced an official route for the Aug. 22 Prologue event in Colorado Springs that will predominantly use Westside streets.
In fact, racers' success or failure could hinge on how fast they pedal the first half-mile (the only significant uphill), how neatly they navigate the tricky downhill turn from Ridge Road to Pikes Peak Avenue and how quickly - after successive 90-degree turns (right, then left) at 30th Street - they can attain speeds of up to 50 mph along mostly straight (and slightly downhill) Colorado Avenue.
The 5.2-mile time trial will be the first stage of the Challenge, establishing the initial leaders in the seven-day tour, which will move to a new community and course each day before climaxing in Denver Aug. 28.
An estimated 128 riders from 16 international teams are expected to enter the Challenge; for the Prologue event, each competitor will start the course one minute apart.
Randy Shafer, the Prologue's technical director, also revealed this week a correction in the course map that was released to the media a few days before. It had shown riders being routed from Pikes Peak to Colorado Avenue at 29th Street. The decision to change it to 30th Street, he told the Westside Pioneer this week, is to limit proximity with Fire Station 5, which is at the northeast corner of 29th and Colorado.
With the route change, “fire trucks will be able to pull on to Colorado or 29th, depending on which way they are going, without interfering with riders,” Shafer explained. “We don't foresee any interference in emergency response. Should an emergency vehicle be needed on the course, we have the entire width of Colorado to adjust should that be necessary.”
He said it was just a mistake that the 29th Street version was released: “Our permit filed with the city several months ago used 30th.”
The Prologue's start will be where Gateway Road intersects Juniper Way Loop, just east of the Kissing Camels and Gateway Rock formations. Riders will go south (uphill) on the loop - normally it's one-way in the opposite direction - and then continue onto Ridge Road. Their first mile and a half of racing will be within the boundaries of the Garden of the Gods.
If there's one one part of the course that appears certain not to change, it would be that Garden start. Typically, to simplify matters, time trials in cities are routed through their downtowns, where “you just need to close a couple of streets,” Shafer said. But from the earliest stages of Prologue planning, the intent has been to feature the Garden of the Gods because of its “iconic” beauty. He added that the red rocks should look especially appealing with television coverage that will include helicopters flying overhead. “That's why we're excited about it. I think it's a big scenery pull.”
The original name of the event was the Quiznos Pro Challenge, but the sandwich chain has reduced its role so the name is now the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Shafer also touched on other points about the Prologue:
Westside Pioneer article