The departure of the USA Pro Challenge from Colorado due to lack of investors and profit loss was a major disappointment for Colorado cycling fans. But from the ashes of what was once known as the state’s premier pro cycling race comes a new event that seeks to reimagine the sport for a larger audience. Enter Velorama Colorado.
The Velorama Festival will take over 12 blocks of Blake and Larimer streets, from 28th to 36th streets (including the Rockies parking lot), and feature local food and drink vendors and performances from the likes of Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, and local indie-rock band Tennis. In addition, the festival will play host to a Lifestyle and Bike Expo with more than 50 booths, and the largest iteration yet of the Denver Flea, with more than 200 makers, artists, and retailers in attendance.
Velorama’s ticketed event is the chief revenue driver for the Colorado Classic. The four-staged race, which has both a men’s and women’s heat, covers 313 miles and climbs 20,000 feet of altitude through Colorado Springs, Breckenridge, and Denver. Each stage is designed as a circuit or loop so riders can expect high energy from spectators at the dual start/finish line. After riders take in views such Garden of the Gods in Colorado Spring’s stage one and Illinois Gulch in Breck’s stage two, the race will bring its final two stages in Denver—one that takes riders through the Western foothills and one that charges through the city. (Commuters beware–there will be plenty of road closures to navigate.)
As the hipper cousin to the antiquated cycling race, the Velorama Festival will also host other light-hearted competitions. Check out the pedal-hopper race, the children’s bike parade led by Mayor Michael Hancock, a race between the Denver police force and Denver firefighters, BMX demonstrations, kids’ strider races, big wheel rides, a ride for those with disabilities, and more serious criterion races taking place on the Classic’s courses. Can you think of a better way to celebrate the Centennial State’s unique biking culture?