Some friends are I are planning a trip to follow the USAPCC in an RV. We want to get in a lot of riding (60 to 80 miles per day) and a fair amount of race spectating.
Can anyone recommend the best way to do this? That is, is it best to ride in the morning before the race start? Is better to ride while the stage is going on and then make it to the finish before the race end ends? Are the courses open before the pros come through?
We're flying blind here, so any advice the you can share is appreciated.
roads are closed to autos sometimes hours before race bicycles are allowed on the course almost until the last minute just like mpg where 'your mileage will vary' based on location your plan should vary there is a bicycle blog out of the Denver area that talks about how to watch the race when I find the link I will share short term I can speak from experience for vail time trail day park in Dillon or frisco or copper mtn ski area and ride vail pass to finish
I'm glad you asked this question, it made me think it through for myself. Essentially, you have to look at the route for each day and the map of the area and figure it out, there is on one way to do it.
The ideas below could need to change depending on the timing of the race, road closures, or maybe someone will come up with something better. Last year close to the race date, there were suggested viewing locations and information when the race would come through various spots, and road closures, on the race site. That stuff is not there yet.
In any case, if you are planning to be out on the race route for a long time on your bike, plan on bringing warm clothes and a rain jacket, it can thunderstorm in the mountains and you will want to be prepared. If you have a non-riding driver for the RV, the logistics can be different, too, you can part the RV on top of a pass and ride up to it. Last year I drove SAG for my friends (in a car, not RV) because I was injured, and that worked well for them.
1) circuit in aspen - stay in aspen, ride maroon bells before or after race, depending on race time, extend west out to Basalt or Carbondale if you want more miles, there is a great bike path (will be crowded)
2) aspen to breck over independence pass - ride indy early, watch race at top, ride back to aspen, drive to breck
3) breck to steamboat - watch race leave breck, drive to copper or Minturn, ride copper triangle, drive to avon/vail. This might or might not work depending on the race timing and rode closures, the Copper Triangle takes 5-8 hours to ride.
4) steamboat to beaver creek - rest day or ride up vail pass & back to Avon in time for finish, or ride out on race route, or ride up to the ski area (short), or ride towards Leadville over Battle Mountain, or ride the Copper Triangle early if you didn't do it the day before.
5) Vail Pass tt - drive to Copper, ride up the other side of the pass to watch finishes, or ride up vail pass from the vail side, depending on if you have any legs left, and if you want to be stuck up there all day until the race is over. best would be if you have someone move the RV to Copper/Frisco/Dillon area, and most of the group ride up from vail to the top, then continue on to Copper. Drive down to the front range afterwards, stay in boulder or loveland or estes Park or wherever
6) Loveland - Ft C - many choices.
stay in Estes, ride TRR or Hwy 7, back to town before race goes thru.
Stay in the flats, watchi in the flats, ride in the flats - I would watnt to watch start then ride over to Horsetooth and watch them climb a steep part
Stay in the flats(loveland) ride up the race route before the race, watch the race once at Glen Haven then ride back down and watch it again at drake
7) Denver circuit race - can do anything before/after the race, but it's going to be busy. I would probably do something short before and then get over to the race to get a good spot, it will be very busy. or if you are sick of spectating at this point, drive to boulder and ride one of the iconic canyon climbs, lefthand to ward, flagstaff, etc.
one of the really cool things about stage 6 in Northern Colorado is the abundance or circuits and the tight footprint (even though the course is 120 miles long, the start and finish are less than 20 miles from eachother.
theres several points where you can see the race twice either in the same spot or with minimal relocation (crossroads and fairground near the start in loveland, CR29 and Hwy 34 near carter lake, the town of drake, the intersection of hwys 34 and 36 in estes park), and as valleygirl said, a lot of ways to double dip and check out, say, the first couple of sprints in windsor and loveland, and then head up to horsetooth reservoir for the final climbs. the KOM in Glen Haven near Estes is gonna be awesome too. you might consider parking in loveland and riding up 34 and Devils Gulch and taking a crack at the switchbacks of devils gulch before the race comes through and then trying to stake out a spot along the switchbacks.
note that Reservoir Road hear HT res, which is gonna be a really great spectator area, will be closed to cars well in advance of the race (likely overnight) so if you wanna watch on the dams you'll have to park remotely and ride up to the dam climbs (the dams themselves are gonna be off limits for spectating for security reasons).
also, the start festival at Ranch Events Complex in Loveland has TONS of parking, and has good roads to get to the finish. consider leaving your car there and riding (theres been talk of a bike parade from the start to the finish) and taking advantage of thew bike valets that the city of FC will be providing.
Just saw the list of riders for the race, holy cow!! A who's who of the top guys in the sport! I think it is so cool that they are going to ride that road along Horestooth going North in the Loveland-Fort Collins stage that I slog up and down all the time. I'd love to see the data on how fast those guys climb those hills! Oh and the start of that stage makes a loop right around my house in Windsor .. too cool!