Basalt, Carbondale Get First Taste of Pro Challenge

May 6, 2014

Riders tackle Independence Pass during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.
Riders tackle Independence Pass during the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.
Credit Elise Thatcher

The USA Pro Challenge will return to the area this August, only this time it’ll cover more ground in the Roaring Fork Valley. The race will spend the first day in Aspen and Snowmass Village. The second day, riders head down valley through Basalt and Carbondale, then cycle over an unpaved pass to Crested Butte. Like in previous years, the route has prompted debate among local officials about which roads are best. So far at least one official is in favor of the proposed itinerary. 

  In previous years the race left Upper Valley by heading east, up and over the strenuous Independence Pass. This year, the plan is to send riders west to Carbondale, then over Kebler Pass, to an uphill finish at Mount Crested Butte. Stacey Patch Bernot is Mayor of Carbondale.

“We’re really excited that we were able to modify the route, to help showcase our great downtown, without really hitting our huge highway project that is going to be under reconstruction this summer.”

This will be the first year the event will pass through Carbondale and Basalt. Patch Bernot says Carbondale officials are still deciding how much money to plug into events or amenities designed to pair with the bike race.

Snowmass Village is hosting riders and their teams for a second time. The town is also putting in eighty five thousand dollars to help cover expenses. Kelly Vaughn is a spokesman for the town and says the marketing department had raised  questions about whether kicking in that money was worth it.

“However I think the fact that they did approve the funds meant that those questions were answered to their satisfaction. And we’re thrilled to welcome the race back in 2014.” 

The USA Pro Challenge runs August 18th through the 24th.