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USA Pro Challenge race and festival take over downtown, close roadways
Downtown Colorado Springs will focus on all things two-wheeled Friday as the USA Pro Challenge, an international bike race featuring about 130 of the world’s top cyclists, rolls into town.
There's a community bike ride Thursday night and a day of festivities, including BMX stunt riders and live music, Friday. There's even another free community bike ride planned Saturday, in case you don't catch cycling fever until the last minute.
But you can’t have dozens of cyclists racing through the streets and tens of thousands of fans cheering them on without blocking off some areas to traffic. Clearing the way for festivities and Stage 5 of the pro race, which ends in a three-lap circuit of downtown Friday at about 3 p.m., necessitates these closures:
Closed Thursday — Downtown
• Parking lot at Pikes Peak and Cascade avenues, through midnight Friday.
• Tejon Street between Pikes Peak Avenue and Kiowa Street and between Kiowa and Bijou streets, through midnight Friday.
• Pikes Peak Avenue between Cascade Avenue and Tejon Street, through midnight Friday.
• Pikes Peak Avenue between Nevada and Cascade avenues, from 8 p.m. through midnight Friday.
Closed Friday — Highway 24 through Downtown
• Continuing road and parking lot closures from Thursday (see above).
• Highway 24, closed for short durations beginning at about 12:30 p.m. at Hartsel and moving east as the cyclists race toward Colorado Springs, lasting until about 4 p.m. near Manitou Springs.
• Garden of the Gods, no motorized vehicles between 6 a.m. and about 4:30 p.m. (from race course set up through the last race crew support vehicle).
• 30th Street, no parking along the roadway between Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center and Colorado Avenue between 1 and 4:30 p.m.
• Colorado Avenue, no parking along the roadway between 30th Street and Cascade Avenue between 1 and 4:30 p.m.
• 30th Street and Colorado Avenue, closed for short durations between about 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. as cyclists race on this portion of the course; cross traffic will be allowed before the cyclists arrive.
Closed Friday - Downtown Festival Area
• Tejon Street, between Bijou Street and Colorado Avenue, from 9 a.m. to midnight.
• Colorado Avenue, between Tejon and Walnut streets, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
• Cascade Avenue, between Colorado Avenue and Bijou Street, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
• Bijou Street, from Cascade Avenue to Tejon Street, from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Closed Friday - Downtown Circuit Course
• Loop of Cascade Avenue, Cache La Poudre Street, Tejon Street and Colorado Avenue, from 2:30 to 5 p.m. The finish is on Tejon Street near Pikes Peak Avenue.
Organizers encourage cycling fans and downtown workers to ride their bikes to downtown on race day, and will provide a free valet bike parking area from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Acacia Park.
The race continues Saturday from Golden to Boulder and Sunday in downtown Denver.
Community Rally Week Bike Rides
There are plenty of ways to get involved with this year’s USA Pro Challenge festivities. Free community bike rides began Monday and continue through Saturday.
A free bike ride from America the Beautiful Park to The Mining Exchange hotel, 8 S. Nevada Ave., hosted by the Women’s Mountain Bike Association of Colorado Springs, will begin at 6 p.m.
A free bike ride to cap off local festivities will begin at America the Beautiful Park at 6 p.m. and wind around downtown to Blondie’s, 24 N. Tejon St.
Race Day Rides
• A VIP ride with pro cyclist Mario Cipollini, hosted by SRM, begins at SRM at about 9 a.m. and winds through Garden of the Gods to downtown, following part of the USA Pro Challenge course. Cost is $500 and includes the ride, a cycling jersey and two VIP tickets to Stage 5 race activities. RSVP to Rachel@srm.de.
• You can ride or race the Stage 5 criterium circuit, 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m., hosted by USA Cycling. Cost is $25. Register online at usacycling.org or Friday morning at the YMCA, 207 N. Nevada Ave. (across the street from Acacia Park).
Race Day Finish Festival
• Downtown will burst at the seams with activity during the Finish Festival from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. There is no cost to join the festivities that will include live coverage of the Stage 5 race from Breckenridge to Colorado Springs broadcast on a big screen, BMX demonstrations, a cycling and fitness expo, live music by Funkiphino and Martini Shot, a beer garden, the Mobile Music Project, food vendors and a kids activity zone.
• The Not-So-Pro Challenge, a series of adult tricycle races, will be held 5-6 p.m. at the finish line area on Tejon Street near Pikes Peak Avenue.
• The fun continues from 6 to 10 p.m. downtown with free live music, fireworks, and drink specials at participating businesses. Funkiphino will play from 7 to 10 p.m. at The Mansion and Martini Shot will play from 6 to 9 p.m. at Acacia Park. Fireworks will cap off the night.