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Ride alongside the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Colorado - the "best and the biggest pro cycling event in the country!" This race draws some of the world's greatest cyclists: Tour de France riders, world champions and national champions. All will spend 7 days racing nearly 600 miles over 42,000 feet of climbing in the epic landscapes of Colorado's Rocky Mountains. Challenge the routes, ride the Continental Divide, watch the teams and test your legs on the most demanding racecourse on American soil! Said actor Patrick Dempsey, in an interview with Bicycling Magazine: "I went to the US Pro Challenge last summer and couldn't get over the pace. I got a much greater appreciation of the beauty of the sport." Join us as we watch the world's most magnificent riders take on some of the country's most magnificent terrain.
Meet in Denver. Van to Buena Vista; ride to Aspen via Independence Pass - 66 miles.
After meeting you in Denver, we'll ride from Buena Vista to Aspen over Independence Pass: at 12,095 feet, it's the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the United States. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge begins here in Aspen the next morning - and the Sky Hotel, where you'll spend the first two nights, will be hosting many of the pro teams and riders.
Aspen / Snowmass circuit race - Stage 1.
Today's circuit race is a triple loop from Aspen to Snowmass. Each of the three laps will see racers fighting for position onto the narrow Maroon Creek Bridge, then grinding up to Snowmass Village. This morning, ride the 22-mile circuit as many times as you like (there are 3,081 feet of climbing per lap), then - if you choose - a gorgeous 26-mile out-and-back to Maroon Bells. You'll have time to choose the perfect viewpoint for the afternoon and set up shop to watch. Spend tonight at Aspen's Sky Hotel.
Stage 2 - Aspen to Breckenridge.
Ride 96 miles from Aspen to Avon on part of the Rio Grande Trail, then hustle to watch the teams tackle the 15% grade of Moonstone Road, or head to the finish line just beyond Breckenridge to see the charge down from Boreas Pass.
Stage 3 - Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs.
Ride the course 50 miles from Breckenridge to Kremmling on Swan Mountain Road; find a perch to watch the race battle Rabbit Ears Pass and fly downhill to Steamboat Springs. From Kremmling, bike west on Trough Road en route to Avon: 77 miles for the day. Stay at the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek for the next two nights.
Stage 4 - the Queen Stage: Steamboat to Beaver Creek.
The course heads back towards Beaver Creek today, with a new climb up Bachelors Gulch featuring quad-searing grades up to 15%. Starting from Dosset, ride the reverse course to meet the race - then turn and follow the teams after they blast through - or see if you can beat them back to Beaver Creek (68 miles total).
Stage 5 - Individual Time Trials in Vail.
Individual Time Trials today. We're betting you'd rather ride 50 miles of the stunning Peak to Peak National Historic Byway: to the west, the Rockies; to the east, views stretching far into the flatlands. Then pedal into famed Estes Park, the setting for Steven King's movie, The Shining. Dine at the Stanley Hotel, where the off-season caretaker in the movie (Jack Nicholson) spent the winter descending into madness. And catch the remainder of the time trials on the big screen.
Stage 6 - Loveland to Fort Collins.
Head downhill from Estes Park. Today's route is a speed-fest: stop to watch the teams come through, then race to Fort Collins to see the finish (we have a few shortcuts up our sleeves.)
Stage 7 - Boulder / Denver (Denver circuit race).
Ride back to Estes on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway; take on a portion of last year's Stage 6 Golden to Boulder route. Pack up and head to Denver to watch the circuit race and the finale from any one of several amazing viewpoints. Once the party winds down, we'll take you to the airport.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. If you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.