Tailgating tips for the Pro Cycling Challenge | AspenTimes.com

Tailgating tips for the Pro Cycling Challenge

Andre Salvail
Aspen Times Weekly
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Planning on heading up Independence Pass to watch the U.S. Pro Cycling Challenge on Aug. 24? Here’s a few tips.

• Head up the pass early in the morning on Aug. 24 or even the night before. Campers may want to set up a day or two earlier. Good watching spots will fill up quickly. Remember, the pass will be closed to motorists starting at noon on race day, blocking access to many prime-viewing areas east of Aspen.

• Take plenty of food and water, as well as ice. There are no opportunities to purchase food and beverages between Aspen and Twin Lakes. Don’t forget to bring trash bags to deposit your waste. The pass doesn’t reopen until 5 p.m., so there could be a relatively long wait between the time the riders pass your spot and the point at which you are able to head home.

• Weather is unpredictable along the pass, especially at the higher elevations. It would be wise to bring warm clothing and rain gear just in case conditions turn chilly or wet.

• Independence Pass has some dangerous driving spots: one-lane stretches, steep grades, gnarly curves and areas without guard rails. You’re there to watch professional cyclists in a race, not to race yourself. Take it slow.

• Once you reach your destination and set up your area, have some fun. You’re a spectator at a pro-cycling race, not a golf tournament. Crank up the jams and rock the day away. Show support for your favorite cyclist with a homemade sign or a wave. To paraphrase Jimi Hendrix, wave your freak flag high!

• Practice safety at all times. Exercise caution, especially near roadsides that border steep cliffs. You can’t enjoy the race if you’re dead from a 1,000-foot fall. If you don’t feel comfortable parking in a certain area, then leave it and find another one. In certain spots, goofing around can be very costly.

• Along the pass, it’s been a fairly wet summer. The moisture has provided a prime breeding ground for insects. Bring mosquito repellent. Jeans and long sleeves will prevent an agonizing experience.

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