US Pro Cycling Challenge – Aspen and Breckenridge

Just two days after we got home from our week in Breckenridge, we were off again! This time, it was just Michael and me. The kids started back to school on Tuesday.

This week in Colorado is the US Pro Cycling Challenge. It is seven stages long and goes over some of our highest mountains. For the past few years, we’ve always gone to the final stage in Denver. But I really wanted to see a mountain stage this year. We decided to go to Aspen on Wednesday & Thursday. The third stage ended there on Wednesday and the fourth stage started there on Thursday. I had two days to stalk my boys.

We had booked a room at the Westin in Snowmass (a ski resort just a few miles outside Aspen), but when we checked in they told us that they overbooked the hotel and moved us to the Viceroy. Turns out that the Viceroy is kick ass and we got the better end of the deal. Many of the teams and the crews were also staying in the Westin and the Viceroy. That night, we went to dinner at Il Poggio (an Italian place in base village that I highly recommend) and it was poppin! Lots of team crews and Steve Schlanger, an announcer for NBCSN, were there. I was in heaven. I had housemade burrata, pasta, gelato and cycling insiders. What more can a girl ask for?

It was perfect weather. No clouds. Warm, but not hot. Cool mountain air. On stage three, they came from Copper over Freemont Pass and into Aspen over Independence Pass. It was a great finish. The next morning, they did three circuits around town before heading back up over Independence Pass, Hoosier Pass and Boreas Pass before descending into Breckenridge where the individual time trial took place on Friday. We hadn’t planned to go to Breck on that third day, but I can hardly help myself! I love the time trials.

We drove up to Breckenridge on Friday afternoon for just a few hours to watch the ITT and then drove home. It gave me another chance to ride my bike at high altitude. The road into the town was being used for the time trial, so we had to park outside of town and ride in on our bikes. It wasn’t too far (about 12 miles round trip) but, it’s the farthest that I’ve gone in a long time and it was at 9,000’+ above sea level. I’m happy with how my fitness is returning. Slow and steady wins the race.

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Me, waiting for the cyclists at the finish of Stage 3 in Aspen.
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Me and Matt Busche, the current US road cycling champ, on the morning of Stage 4. 

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This is me and George Hincapie above on the left. And then me and Steve Schlanger, NBCSN announcer on the right.

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Me and Laurent Didier, a French rider for Trek Factory Racing.
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Taylor Phinney! Colorado native and rider for BMC.
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Roman Kreuziger, a Czech rider for Tinkoff-Saxo.
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George Hincapie on the morning of Stage 4 (and the side of my head). He’s a former pro cyclist who was a lieutenant with Lance. I met him once before in Paris in 2005. Now he’s owner of Hincapie Racing and an apparel line.

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The peleton the morning of Stage 4. They did 3 circuits through town before heading back up Independence Pass.

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Time Trial starting gate in Breckenridge, Stage 5. 
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Taylor Phinney, finishing the ITT. I was hoping he would win, but with Rohan Dennis there, he didn’t stand a chance. Sorry, Taylor. 😉

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The picture on the above left was the view from our hotel room. The other was taken from the bathroom. There’s a glass wall separating the bed and bathrooms. There’s an electric shade you can pull for privacy or you can soak in the tub while looking out at the mountains. I chose the latter.

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