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It’s time once again for the whirling pelotons to chase their way through Boulder, Golden, and Denver. The final stage of the USA Pro Challenge is changing up its route from last year; in 2013 it was a circuit course through Denver, and this time it runs from Boulder through Golden before winding through Denver and ending at Civic Center Park. With so many miles–78 to be exact–this year’s finish creates more streetside viewing possibilities; here are some ideas about where best to watch the cyclists in each community.
The starting gun is scheduled to go off at 12:30 p.m., but you should stake out your spot early and bring water–the final day has been squelching hot in recent years.
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Park your lawn chair anywhere along Broadway. Racers will have fresh legs and a breakout group will have not yet emerged, giving you a full-scale view of all 93 racers in one quick pass.
If you’re game, climb Lookout Mountain and wait for the peloton. The four-mile climb has been known to break a rider or two, and the leaders will use it to leave strugglers behind. Plus, the slower pace will give you a longer glimpse at the competitors.
By the time riders get to Denver, the group should have stretched out and a lead peloton will have formed. The city has many places with good views of the race, but 17th Street packs the most bang, as riders will pedal out to City Park, circle it, and head back downtown. Warning: The closer to Colfax Avenue you are, the more crowded it will be.
If you don’t mind waiting, set up camp near the finish line at Civic Center Park. The stadium seating is reserved for VIPs, but you can probably squeeze close to the front if you arrive early. The finish will be brief but exhilarating, and there will be TVs set up to watch the race until the cyclists start arriving. Note: Speer Boulevard is an often overlooked vantage point, but its sidewalks and median make it a prime viewing spot. Plus, it’s easy to get to on your own bike via the Cherry Creek trail–spandex attire optional.