I had the opportunity to see the riders during Stage 6 and Stage 7 of the US Pro Cycling Challenge. I saw the peleton fly through Golden last year and it was quite a thrill to see professional racing in my back yard. This year I watched from downtown Boulder on Saturday and was equally impressed. However a big highlight for me was watching Sunday’s time trial from City Park. The 9.5 mile time trial had riders flying through at over 30 miles per hour. However, with riders sent out 1 minute apart, the announcers would tell you who was coming down the road and it made for a more spectator friendly event.
When I saw the race from downtown Boulder, I also wandered through the race expo for a bit. I always enjoy vendors giving out free stuff. I did not indulge in much, but I did grab a couple of cowbells for the kids. I should have made a point of picking up a jersey or some other memorabilia. Hopefully I can do that next year.
I am not a big fan of watching sports. I can rarely maintain my attention on television, but live sports are entirely different. I have been fortunate to see live cycling, auto racing, football, basketball, baseball and soccer. At some point I would like to see hockey, swimming and track and field.
A lot of fans spent the week following the event. They would arrive early in the day for great spots, meet the riders when possible and be very educated on the strategy of the race. I could see that being a lot of fun with the right group of people. I was personally quite pleased to spend Saturday watching the race and taking in a bike ride. Sunday was also good because the kids and I spent the morning at the Denver Nature and Science Museum and could then walk to a portion of the race venue. I thought it was a great vantage point with shade and the riders just entering a straight away. It was also fun to see the riders previewing the course.
My brief impression is that it is a well organized race that has attracted major sponsors and teams. I am not sure that it will bring cycling to national prominence, but it is a great step in that direction. Aside from the history, there is little excuse for the United States to not host a grand tour.