EDITOR’S DESK: The return of Big Bicycle

       There's just no keeping those professional bicyclists away. As our front-page headline blares, USA Pro Cycling Challenge organizers have again decided to make Colorado Springs a “host city” in the second annual race next August - despite bids from communities all over the state that perceived economic dividends in having such an event in their midst. But we know the real thinking behind the selection. Big Bicycle couldn't sell the race to the top riders in the world unless the Westside was a part of it again. The Avenue (note the use of upper case) must have filled the racers with a sort of mystical awe last August as they sped along its tree-lined, eclectically historical ribbon of pavement to the downtown finish, getting a steering view of the road none of us has ever had (i.e., no cars parked on either side). And those racers will get to ride it again Aug. 24, this time as part of the potentially thrilling final stretch of the mostly downhill stage that starts in Breckenridge. As the third-from-the last stage of the 2012 Challenge, it could prove to be the undoing - or possibly the doing - of one or more cyclists vying to be the race champion.
       So, as the unofficial, uncelebrated and pretty much unrecognized emissary of this part of the world, I humbly accept the encore route selection on behalf of the Avenue and the Westside in general. And, as part of that, I promise not to complain (well, not excessively, anyway) if race organizers overlook - as they mostly did in the run-up to this year's race - Westside interests in the event's preparations and spin-off benefits.
       One more thought on the Challenge: The idea of racers traveling the Avenue through Manitou Springs and on down through Old Colorado City seems like a golden opportunity for the business people in between (the so-called No Man's Land) to advocate for some long-awaited sprucing up of crumbling infrastructure. Can't have those bike racers feeling displeased, you know. In 2013, they might just put the stage in Pueblo.

- K.J.