Before you go: USA Pro Challenge | AspenTimes.com

Before you go: USA Pro Challenge

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

Aspen and Snowmass Village have the honor of being the host cities for the overall start to the USA Pro Challenge, a cycling competition now in its third year.

Stage 1 of the race is a 66-mile circuit race involving three laps between Aspen and Snowmass Village. Stage 2 begins in Aspen, takes cyclists on laps through downtown Aspen, over Independence Pass, through Buena Vista, Fairplay and Alma, over Hoosier Pass and finally to the finish line in Breckenridge.

In addition to weekly events such as the Snowmass Rodeo and Valhalla Nights, race-related events and activities are taking place all weekend. While the race brings a lot of excitement, it also will make getting around in Aspen and Snowmass very difficult, particularly on Aug. 19. Here are some things to be aware of when making plans over the next week:

Road closures: Street closures and detours will begin in Aspen on Aug. 17.

From noon to 4 p.m. on Aug. 19, no vehicular traffic will be able to enter or exit Snowmass Village on Owl Creek or Brush Creek roads, with the exception of emergency vehicles. In addition, no vehicles will be able to enter or leave Aspen via Highway 82 or Power Plant Road during that time except for emergency and Roaring Fork Transportation Authority vehicles. Cars heading east on Highway 82 will be stopped at Owl Creek Road. Closures also will cause delays getting to Aspen Valley Hospital and the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

On Aug. 20, traffic will be rerouted on some streets in Aspen. Independence Pass will close to traffic headed east at 9 a.m. and west at 7:10 a.m. The closures last until approximately 2 p.m.

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Emergencies: If you have an emergency, call 911. For non-life-threatening emergencies, drive toward the hospital and explain the situation at the first closure encountered. Public-safety officers at the barricade will either allow drivers to proceed or facilitate a police escort to the hospital.

Bikes: Almost the entire Stage 1 race route is paralleled by a bike path. Bikes will be allowed on the pass during Stage 2 except for as the race passes.

Buses: No RFTA buses will run into or out of Snowmass Village from noon to 4 p.m. on Aug. 19. RFTA will provide bus service into Aspen until noon and after 4 p.m. and intermittently during the race as the race allows. Bus service will resume as the roads reopen.

The Village Shuttle in Snowmass will run as normal until noon Aug. 19. Routes 3 and 8 will combine during the race and will run between laps as possible.

On Aug. 20, bus service into Snowmass Village will resume, but some routes in Aspen will be affected by the Stage 2 race.

Air travel: Flights will continue to depart and arrive from the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport throughout the race. However, departing passengers should arrive at the airport before roads close at noon, and arriving travelers might not be able to continue on if their final destinations are within the closures. The airport is holding a party during the delays, with live music from Bobby Mason, Haden Gregg and Bryan Savage, prizes and race coverage on the terminal televisions.

Parking: On Aug. 19, event parking is at the Intercept Lot at the intersection of Brush Creek Road and Highway 82. Parking will still be free at the Base Village Parking Garage. On Aug. 20, parking is available from mile markers 55 to 56 on Highway 82 for the day. Normal parking restrictions apply in Aspen.

Parking in lots 8 through 13 is closed to the public from Aug. 14 through 20 for race-team parking. However, the lots are open to the public to mingle with athletes and crews.

Spectating: The peloton of cyclists will pass any point along the Stage 1 race route at least three times. Again, the Stage 1 route is almost entirely flanked by a bike/foot path. The intersection of Owl Creek and Brush Creek roads is the first "King of the Mountain" point in the race, and the Snowmass Lodging Association is hosting an event with kids activities on the recreation-center fields. Just be sure to stake out a spot before noon.

Information from the town of Snowmass Village, Pitkin County, RFTA and http://www.aspenupcc.com.

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