Peddle 130 miles, Two 12,000+ Foot Mountain Passes Anyone?
While Steamboat Springs’ residents anxiously await the arrival of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge tomorrow, the cyclists had some anxiety of their own yesterday. First they had to ride over 130 miles, and cross two 12,000+ foot passes – Cottonwood and Independence. You’d think getting to the top of the second pass, Independence Pass, would be reason to celebrate, but it was raining and cold, and 15 miles of nerve-racking descent down steep terrain peppered with plenty of curves stood in the way of the thrill of conquering the uphill climb.
Even Colorado natives drive down Independence Pass cautiously in the rain – must’ve been a real treat on a bike. Some people will do anything to get to Aspen. George Hincapie of the BMC Racing team won this stage 2 race and stands second overall. Tejay Van Garderen finished second, but jumped into the overall lead and wears the yellow jersey today. Van Garderen, at just 23, is one of the top American hopefuls, and he trains in both Aspen and Lucca, Italy…something tells me he knew exactly how to handle Independence Pass rain or no rain.
Today’s stage 3 is a 10 mile time trial from Vail Village up Vail Pass. These guys know how to have fun huh? After the time trial up Vail Pass, there isn’t another huge mountain stage to separate the riders, meaning those who shook off nerves and went for it on yesterday’s steep descents gained ground that could very well determine the top three in Denver on Sunday.
After today, the riders have what they’ll consider an easy 82.7 mile ride from Avon, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO on Friday. They’ll start at 7,402 ft. elevation and end at 6,642 ft. in Steamboat Springs, CO. The highest ascent along the way will come at just before mile 40 when they’ll hit 8,564 ft. Piece of cake for these guys.
And saying Steamboat Springs is ready for them to arrive here tomorrow around 3:30 is like saying the Detroit Lions are ready for a winning season…we are ready! Tune in tomorrow for more updates and great photos as the riders head into Ski Town USA…or more appropriately, Bike Town USA where they’ll be greeted by over 30,000 spectators. You can bet the second home owners are here and the hotels are full! This is a big deal and we know it!
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