The USA Pro Challenge rolled through Boulder on Saturday and it was a great event throughout the community. I grew up in Boulder during the heyday of the Red Zinger Classic which then morphed into the Coors Classic. I was even on the ground floor of the Red Zinger Mini Classic which started as a race around my neighborhood and turned into a huge community event . I was even on the cover of National Geographic World Magazine when they covered the Mini Classic in 1981.
Over the last 15 years Boulder has become a world class bicycling town. Bike lanes and paths are everywhere and Boulder is an example to other cities who want to encourage alternative transportation. World class cyclists have flocked to live in Boulder to take advantage of the climate, hills and resources this cycling community offers. So when the USA Pro Challenge, a week long stage race with some of the best riders from around the world came to town this past Saturday we Boulderites were ready. Race organizers, the written media and the TV announcers who have covered all of the top races around the world called Saturday the biggest day of bike racing in American history. Racers compared the day to a big day at the Tour de France. It’s hard to count spectators along a 103 mile bike race but reports were in the 100,000 to 200,000 range. There were 15,000 to 20,000 people on the finish climb of Flagstaff Mountain.
I first watched the race come through Boulder, enjoyed the expo and the crowds and then rode my bike up Flagstaff Mountain to claim a spot near the top. The crowds and atmosphere all the way up was huge and festive. I even rode through a human tunnel and was pushed along as I climbed the hill. Here are a few of my photos from the epic day.