The Thrill of a Bike Race

The Start of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen

The Start of the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen

Sexy Cyclists

Sexy Cyclists

More Good-Looking Guys

More Good-Looking Guys

I’m here at my desk amid piles and piles of papers, cards, brochures and miscellaneous other remnants from an action-packed trip to the USA Pro Challenge, which took place here in Colorado last week. I also just spent a couple of hours going through a slew of images from time spent at this exciting bike race. I met cyclists and bystanders, travel suppliers and promoters, journalists and commentators, fans of all ages, shapes and sizes, avid cycling enthusiasts, amateur bike riders and tons of folks just out for a good time.

There’s nothing like a big sporting event to bring people together, especially when it’s on wheels and it travels to different locations along the way. Many people followed the seven days of racing–an extraordinary route that began in Aspen and finished in Denver as it traversed some of the world’s highest mountain passes, most scenic valleys and most beloved Colorado destinations. I hit the USA Pro Challenge in Aspen, Crested Butte and Gunnison and boy, did I soak up every minute of fun I could find within that four-day period.

Riders Signing in for the Race

Riders Signing in for the Race

Aspen Start

Aspen Start

Here Come the Spare Wheels

Here Come the Spare Wheels

Aspen Finish

Aspen Finish

Pedaling By After a Long Day of Riding

Pedaling By After a Long Day of Riding

Coming and Going

Coming and Going

Retired Cycling Great:  George Hincapie

Retired Cycling Great: George Hincapie

The colors, sounds, coolness and frenetic energy of pro cycling fire me up. I’ve attended the Tour de France, a three-week bike race and one of the world’s greatest sporting events, so I can say that the USA Pro Challenge offers a good measure of the same excitement.

Whether it’s a bluebird day or a stormy Rocky Mountain moment, I love the vibrant display of hues from the cyclists’ jerseys, the parade of bikes, the barreling caravan of team cars and support vehicles and the bright, summer garb donned by the spectators.

The sounds go from the soft pedaling–click, click, click–of the cyclists’ finely tuned machines as they warm up before the start to the swooosh that seizes you as the main field blows by on one of their laps around town. From the clanging of the spectators’ bells and the thrumming of their arms and legs against the barriers to the vrooom, vrooom, vrooom of the high-powered music that blasts at takeoff, you can’t help being caught up in one wild ride.

Nice Colors

Nice Colors

These sleek, streamlined pros go from smooth albeit almost shy guys to fast-moving thoroughbreds once the race is on. You have to strain to hear the blare of the announcer’s voice above the din of the music, bikes, cars, motorcycles and cheers from the crowd, but it doesn’t matter much anyway. A lot of people at the USA Pro Challenge don’t know a thing about the event, who’s racing, who’s winning or even how a bike race is powered by team efforts as well as individual achievements. Most don’t care–it’s just fun to be there. I encourage you to plan to take it in next year because it’s a helluva lot of hoopla and it’s free of charge, to boot!

Snagging a Kiss from Renowned Cycling Commentator Paul Sherwin

Snagging a Kiss from Renowned Cycling Commentator Paul Sherwin

The Village in Aspen

The Village in Aspen

More Village Viewing

More Village Viewing

Bike Race Festival Food

Bike Race Festival Food at the Village

Gyros One Day

Gyros One Day

Indian Food the Next

Indian Food the Next

I’ll be posting other stories about this year’s race where I also promoted my travel memoir, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France. For more on my doings at this increasingly popular Colorado event, read Bike Race Spectating, Colorado Touring, Book Promoting, Travel Adventures Galore Oh My.

With VeloNews Reporter Matt Beaudin

With VeloNews Reporter Matt Beaudin

Arriving in Crested Butte just Before the Finish with Almost No Juice Left in My Phone

Arriving in Crested Butte just Before the Finish with Almost No Juice Left in My Phone

Saying Farewell to Jens Voigt

Saying Farewell to Jens Voigt

The Scene in Gunnison

The Scene in Gunnison

On Your Mark, Ready, Set

On Your Mark, Ready, Set

The Boy Scout Color Guard of Gunnison Salutes the National Anthem

The Boy Scout Color Guard of Gunnison Salutes the National Anthem

The Cyclists Pay Respects to America at the Start Line

The Cyclists Pay Respects to America at the Start Line

And They're Off

And They’re Off

Weeee-eeee

Weeee-eeee

Zip, zip, zip

Zip, zip, zip

Charging It

Charging It

For more on pro cycling and the USA Pro Challenge, check out Tellurider Matt Beaudin Talks about Cycling, VeloNews and France,   Pro Cycling Fun Wrap Up and Pro Cycling Hits Colorado. I, of course, also feature pro cycling and the Tour de France in A Tour of the Heart.

A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France

A Tour of the Heart: A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France

A Fan from Troy, NY, My Hometown

A Fan from Troy, NY, My Hometown

Super Enthusiastic Fan

Super Enthusiastic Fan

Keep Calm and Ride On

Keep Calm and Ride On

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    This blog is a personal blog written and edited by Maribeth Clemente. This blog sometimes accepts forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. The compensation received may influence the advertising content, topics or posts made in this blog. That content, advertising space or post may not always be identified as paid or sponsored content. The owner of this blog is sometimes compensated to provide opinion on products, services, Web sites and various other topics. Even though the owner of this blog receives compensation for certain posts or advertisements, she always gives her honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences on those topics or products. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blogger's own. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer, provider or party in question. This blog does not contain any content which might present a conflict of interest.
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