Editorial: Independence Pass belongs in USA Pro Challenge
November 6, 2013
Monday's announcement that the USA Pro Challenge will return to Aspen in 2014 is exciting news on many fronts. Most importantly, it reaffirmed Aspen as one of the country's premier cycling hubs and means that the community will get to celebrate two days of the world's top cyclists once again.
The first stage will be a criterium through Aspen and Snowmass Village; Stage 2 will leave Aspen for Crested Butte. It's the second stage's course that has us concerned. Pro Challenge organizers have two options: The second stage would go to Crested Butte by way of Independence Pass, or it would take Highway 133 to McClure Pass and then Kebler Pass.
To their credit, Pro Challenge officials are concerned about having riders take Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass to Crested Butte the day before the first mountaintop finish in the race's history — Stage 3 will have riders start in Gunnison and finish at the base of Monarch Mountain ski area, at an elevation of 10,790 feet.
But endurance races are supposed to be demanding, and having Independence Pass included in this seven-stage event would only cement the USA Pro Challenge's reputation as one of the most demanding cycling races in the world.
It would be a shame for America's premier cycling race not to include Independence Pass, which has been part of the event in its first three years. In the local cycling world, it would be no different from replacing the Green Monster in Fenway Park with a chain-link fence or substituting Amen Corner at Augusta National with three miniature-golf holes.
This decision should be an easy one for Pro Challenge officials: Bring back Independence Pass for another stage. We can't imagine the race without it.
Trending In: Opinion
- Paul Andersen: Those weed-loving goats of the Rio Grande are mesmerizing
- John Colson: Good call, CPW, on reopening Basalt gun range
- Roger Marolt: Time to spread traffic jam on a thick slice of Texas toast
- Sean Beckwith: A round of Razzies for Aspen and Snowmass
- Mike Littwin: Can Coffman, the escape artist, still break free when new poll shows him 11 points down?
- Parents demand change at Aspen School District, fill school board meeting
- Glenwood Hot Springs to add new water attractions
- Aspen man accused of killing pedestrian on Highway 82 makes initial appearance
- Aspen thief has tough road ahead, judge says
- Four fires burning in northwestern Colorado, including new one near Wyoming border