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Roughly two miles from the downtown start, more than half the 90 male riders mass across the 2300 block of Colorado Avenue in the first lap of Stage 1 of the Colorado Classic bicycle race Aug. 10. The avenue was closed for the event between the downtown and 30th Street. The cone on the left was one among a long row down the center of the avenue. This demarcation was needed because cyclists went both westbound (above) and eastbound on the avenue as part of a repeated 15-mile lap (six for the men, two for the women).
Westside Pioneer photo
In an ironical traffic moment during the Colorado Classic Aug. 10, a citizen bicyclist (middle right) rolls westbound through the blocked-off eastbound left-turn lane of Highway 24 at 26th Street and past the barely moving cars. Also coned off was the westbound right turn lane. The effect was to discourage access to northbound 26th Street, which contradicted pre-race information that motorized vehicles could travel between the highway and the south side of Colorado Avenue during the event. Similar scenarios also played out at 8th and 21st streets, according to reports.
Westside Pioneer photo

Hearing Westside traffic 'concerns,' city posts bike-race survey

      
A view west along Colorado Avenue in Old Colorado City early in the men's race: In the foreground is a short-lived breakaway of four cyclists; in the background are spectators lining the north side of the avenue in front of Bancroft Park. The motorcyclist and cars driving ahead of the riders are support/security vehicles.
Westside Pioneer photo
The day after the Colorado Classic bicycle race, City Deputy Chief of Staff Bret Waters touted the Aug. 10 event as a success. Highlighting some of the world's top riders, it was “a very positive experience” that attracted “tens of thousands of people” to Colorado Springs and brought the city favorable publicity, he said at a press conference.
       However, Waters did allow that “events like these are going to have traffic issues” and that the city had heard “some calls of concern” from the Old Colorado City area, where numerous streets were closed for the eight hours that the event was going on.
       In response, the city has set up an online survey to which anyone can post their thoughts. The survey is at this link.
       Among the questions are "How were you impacted?" and "Do you have any suggestions to make future events more successful?" Waters said that no deadline for responses has been set.
       On the Westside, event-related problems included slow-moving - sometimes confused or frustrated - motorists
The top three in the Stage 1 women's race celebrate on the platform shortly after the finish. Winner Jenn Valente is in the middle. At left is Skylar Schneider; at right is Emma White.
Westside Pioneer photo from NBC Sports Network
on Highway 24 and side streets, a number of closed OCC businesses, and multiple reports of reduced commerce.
       In the weeks before the race, several Westsiders led by neighborhood advocate Welling Clark asked to be involved in the planning for any future events like the Classic. On the day of the event, he said that some of the race's traffic issues resulted from "really poor communication."
       Waters explained that the survey will help city officials look for better ways to manage such events in the future. “We want to evaluate how it went, what went well and what we can improve on,” he said.
       With a women's race in the morning and men's in the afternoon, Stage 1 had a total of eight identical 15- mile “laps” that took in the Colorado Springs downtown and Westside. Included in the route were Old Colorado City, some older neighborhoods and the Garden of the Gods.
       Major closed streets between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. were Colorado Avenue west to 31st Street, 30th Street from Colorado to Fontmore, Mesa Road north of Fillmore/Fontmore, Pikes Peak Avenue from Ridge to 30th, and 31st between Colorado and Pikes Peak Avenue. Uintah and King were open, but westbound traffic was stopped short of 30th Street. The Garden itself was closed to vehicles from midnight to 5 p.m. on the day of the race.
      
The lead group of riders during the second lap of the six-lap Colorado Classic Stage 1 men's race lean into the curve on Fontmore Road shortly before a left onto 30th Street. At the time, the six had about a three-minute lead on the other riders, but the pack ("peloton") eventually caught up.
Westside Pioneer photo
Also, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) coned off turn lanes going north from Westside Highway 24 - even though it had been announced before the race that access to the neighborhoods between 24 and Colorado Avenue would be allowed.
       Waters said he did not know this had happened or what information CDOT may have been acting on.
       Combining scenery with difficult climbs in and near the Garden of the Gods, the 15-mile lap was identical to the one riders used three years ago for a stage of the USA Pro Challenge. It combines scenery with difficult climbs in and near the Garden of the Gods.
       Lap repetition is the design difference between the Challenge and the Classic. During the five years the Challenge was held in Colorado, riders chiefly pedaled from town to town for a stage.
       Repeated laps in a single community costs less money for traffic control and focuses the cyclists where the most fans are, Doug Martin of Colorado Sports Corp, the Stage 1 organizer, previously explained. “It's a lot better from a spectator standpoint,” he told the Westside Pioneer.
      
A confused motorist at Colorado Avenue and 31st Street had to back up and turn around after evidently missing the closure on 31st between Colorado and Pikes Peak avenues during the Colorado Classic. Photo looks south.
Westside Pioneer file photo
The winners of Stage 1 in the men's and women's races were John Murphy and Jenn Valente, both Americans. A native of San Diego, Calif., Valente currently attends UCCS, a Stage 1 press release states.
       About 160 riders (90 male, 70 female) participated. One of the men, Rigoberto Uran, had finished second in the Tour de France earlier this summer.
       In both the Stage 1 races, despite the distances (38.3 miles for the women and 93.5 for the men), the finish involved a pack with a few dozen riders sprinting to the line and the winner edging out the competition by less than the width of a wheel.
       The men's race was spiced by a heavy downpour on the final lap. This was the part that was on national TV; the broadcast included shots of a flooded downtown intersection and disappointed remarks from the announcer that Pikes Peak was covered by clouds.
       In all, the Colorado Classic schedule called for four stages on successive days. The second stage was in Breckenridge and the third and fourth in the Denver area the weekend of Aug. 12-13. The overall men/women winners (Manuel Senni, men; Sara Poidevin, women) were those with the lowest times for all four stages.

Westside Pioneer/press release
(Posted 8/11/17, updated 8/13/17; Community: Groups/Clubs)

Many of the riders in the men's race rip around the curve from Fontmore Road to go south on 30th Street. This was part of a downhill section after the turn from southbound Mesa Road onto Fontmore.
Westside Pioneer photo

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