EDWARDS — Cyclists flock to Colorado’s legendary terrain to be tested on high-altitude climbs, ride leisurely through the scenic valleys and plains and to watch the world’s best race in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge each year.
One of the Colorado cycling hubs is here in the Vail Valley. East, west, north and south lead to some of the most beautiful cycling routes in the country and the USA Pro Challenge Time Trial — a standout day in the race — begins in Vail and ends on Vail Pass.
To discuss the growth of cycling and bike racing here in Vail and in Colorado, the Vail Symposium will host a night of all things cycling at the Cordillera Valley Club tonight. The event features a group ride, showcase of Tour-grade race equipment from Venture Sports and a panel presentation by Michael Carter, Chandler Smith, Greta Neimanas and Jon Copsey. The program is sponsored by Cordillera.
“You can see the streets swell with people out riding all summer in Vail,” said Tracey Flower, the Symposium’s executive director. “We have so many local riders who love the roads around town and enjoy when the best cyclists come to race on their home turf.”
The group ride will leave from the Cordillera Valley Club at 3:30 p.m. for a mellow 75-minute ride and Venture Sports will showcase the incredibly light and state-of-the-art equipment used by professional cyclists before the panel begins around 6 p.m.
The bikes being shown by Venture Sports include the Pinarello F8 and Giant Propel.
“Having Venture Sports bring these bikes will be incredible,” Flower said. “Bikes are like cars in that you can certainly tell a Ferrari from a Subaru. Seeing the highest quality of equipment in the industry is a treat.”
The panel will talk about why so many cyclists visit or chose to live in Colorado, discuss the legendary American races like the Red Zinger and the Coors Classic, and how the Pro Challenge compares to classic European cycling races.
ABOUT THE PANEL MEMBERS
Panelist Michael Carter started racing in Colorado in 1982 and was a member of the first American Pro team to ever compete in Europe in the 1984 Giro D’Italia. He raced the Coors Classic in 1985, 1986 and 1988. He also competed in the Tour de France, Vuelta Espagna, and the Tour de Suisse, as well as raced in various European, Asian, Latin American and South American countries.
Chandler Smith is the organizer of Ride the Rockies — a six-to-seven day ride that takes over 2,000 cyclists around the Colorado Rocky Mountains each June. He also organizes the Pedal the Plains, a three-day, 173-mile tour of northern Colorado.
Jonathan Copsey is the current C4 paracycling national champion, repeating his victory from 2013. He has won five Paralympic national championships in time trial, criterium and road race disciplines. He has raced extensively overseas and trained in various areas of the United States.
Greta Neimanas was a gold medalist at the 2008 and 2012 UCI Paracycling World Championships. She has won various other medals in cycling pursuits and time trials and was a participant of the Redlands Bicycle Classic.