Why: USA Pro Cycling Challenge (America’s Tour de France)
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge runs August 22-28, across more than 600 miles of Colorado. The race is the brainchild of part-time Aspen resident Lance Armstrong, who trains on the roads and singletrack of the Roaring Fork Valley. Drawing 16 international teams and 128 pro cyclists, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is on par with the Tour de France, with altitudes even higher than riders face in the Alps.
Stage 2, the “mountain stage”, begins in Gunnison, crosses two grueling passes, Cottonwood and Independence, and finishes in Aspen. Racers will overnight in Aspen on August 24 before heading by car to Vail for a time trial the following day.
Beyond offering a rare spectating opportunity, mid-August in Aspen is a cyclist’s paradise. There are more than a week’s worth of five-star road rides in the Roaring Fork Valley and the mountain biking is some of the most under-rated in the country.