Aspen residents, businesses can weigh in on USA Pro Challenge at Tuesday council meeting | AspenTimes.com

Aspen residents, businesses can weigh in on USA Pro Challenge at Tuesday council meeting

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times

Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron says he wants to gauge the impact and disruption the USA Pro Challenge had on local businesses. He said he has fielded numerous emails from business owners, and he hopes to get more feedback at a 4 p.m. work session Tuesday with the City Council.

Skadron requested the meeting last week.

"The bike race is a big investment on the city's part, and I want to make sure that it's supported," Skadron said.

He also floated the idea of changing the name of the bike race. He said USA Pro Challenge has the potential to put Colorado on the map as a "high-altitude capital for cycling."

A less generic name would help the Colorado brand grow, he said, suggesting a name with more of a regional connection: Colorado Bike Tour or the Rocky Mountain Challenge.

Comments from Open City Hall, an online forum on the city's website, were in overwhelming support of the event, with only one critical comment posted by noon Monday.

Recommended Stories For You

Erik Skarvan, of Aspen, commented, "As a resort, world class events are a big part of Aspen's tradition, cache & brand & there will always be some inconveniences associated with them. But, if folks can see the bigger picture, including tv exposure to over 200 countries and the long term financial gains, hopefully they can see beyond their 1-2 day loss of business or transportation hassles. That being said, we can probably minimize those few negative impacts."

Aaron Humphrey, from outside Aspen, commented: "As valley locals and avid cyclists, our family looks forward to these days in Aspen every year. We would come to this race if it was held every weekend."

One critical comment, made by Lanny Curtis, from outside Aspen, cited "lost wages, retail decline and one construction company reduced to 40% of normal operations."

"More likely, most all construction in the upper valley was shut down for at least one day. That is more than a mere inconvenience," Curtis wrote. "The entire Airport Business Center was deprived of normal commerce. I would like to see an unbiased cost/benefit analysis of this event."

The USA Pro Challenge is a seven-day cycling race across Colorado. For the past three years, Aspen has hosted one or more stages of the race. In 2011, Aspen hosted the finish of Stage 2. In 2012, it hosted a finish of Stage 3 and a start of Stage 4.

More recent, on Aug. 19, it hosted the overall start, a circuit race between Aspen and Snowmass, as well as the start of Stage 2 on Aug. 20.

herk@aspentimes.com