2014 USA Pro Challenge Stage 2 Route: Where to Watch

Six time Leadville Trail 100 MTB winner Dave Wiens was pleased to announce the much anticipated course for Stage 2 of the 2014 USA Pro Challenge.  This year’s route will depart from Aspen on Tuesday, August 19th and take the peloton 105 miles and over 2 high mountain passes before climbing back up to Mt. Crested Butte.

Where to Watch

Coolest spot: Literally, the coolest place will be on Kebler Pass (the average August temperature in Crested Butte is a ridiculously comfortable 72 degrees).  The aspen filled pass offers beautiful mountain views in every direction, along with plenty of trails and camping opportunities to busy yourself with before the peloton arrives.  About a quarter to half-mile below the summit, the final dirt portion of the climb should offer a good chance to glimpse your favorite cyclists at slower speeds (the summit is paved).

In town: Speeds will be high with Sprint points at stake in the town of Crested Butte, however a couple of sharp turns from Whiterock Ave onto Elk Ave will slow riders down a bit.  The Brick Oven patio with its outdoor bar, nearby indoor televisions, and 30 beer taps, will surely be one of the coveted spectating locations.

Final climb:  Barriers line the last kilometer of the race course, where the crowds will be thick.  If you’re looking to catch the potential winning move, try a little further down the road near the Pitchfork subdivision.  Some of the steepest gradients of the climb are right around there.

Mt. CB finish line: Here is your chance to catch the stage winner and tour leader on the podium in the Mt. Crested Butte finishing area.  If you’re looking for a great view of the finish line, there are VIP tickets available for an elevated seat.

The Route

The first test will come at McClure Pass, which peaks at over 8,700 feet, and may invite a breakaway group to take advantage of the smooth pavement.  The second pass will prove a much more difficult challenge as Kebler tops out at over 9,900 feet and features 20 miles of both pavement and dirt.  Spectators might witness some considerable time gaps before a quick descent takes riders to the last challenge through downtown Crested Butte and back up a steep finish climb up to Mt. Crested Butte.

Surprisingly, the map below indicates a portion of the Kebler Pass descent will remain unpaved, which adds a new element of risk for the riders.  Typical mountain descents are ridden at over 50 mph and there has not been a dirt descent in the race’s brief history.

2014 USA Pro Challenge Course

The host cities and stages of the 2014 race include:

  Monday, Aug. 18 – Aspen Circuit Race
  Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 19 – Aspen to Mt. Crested Butte
  Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 20 – Gunnison to Monarch Mountain (mountaintop finish)
  Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 21 – Colorado Springs Circuit Race
  Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 22 – Woodland Park to Breckenridge
  Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 23 – Vail Individual Time Trial
  Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 24 – Boulder to Denver