Races will offer excitement for Eagle County spectators | VailDaily.com

Races will offer excitement for Eagle County spectators

Daily staff report

VAIL — With the start of the 2013 USA Pro Challenge right around the corner, Vail Valley race fans are encouraged to check out the myriad of ways to participate in the fun and excitement of Stage 4 in Beaver Creek on Thursday and Stage 5 in Vail on Friday.

Keeping in mind Beaver Creek’s unique location, spectators are encouraged to leave their cars at home and bike or hike to the resort to watch the exciting uphill finish of the Steamboat to Beaver Creek Queen Stage. With the addition of the new five-mile climb and descent through Bachelor Gulch, this section will also offer prime viewing.

Shuttles from the Elk and Bear lots in Avon to Beaver Creek Village will run throughout the morning, beginning at 5:30 a.m., with the final trip scheduled for 2:15 p.m. Rodeo Lot shuttle service will begin at 7 a.m. and operate until the 2:15 p.m. closure and then resume for the evening as needed.

Fans are encouraged to arrive in Beaver Creek prior to 2 p.m., with a number of special events and activities slated to get under way in the event expo area at 1 p.m.

Spectator Bike valet at Beav’

A bike valet will be available at Creekside Park, located on the north side of Beaver Creek Village, providing a secure location for spectators to leave their bikes during the race. The service opens at 11 a.m. and all bikes should be retrieved by 6 p.m.

As the peloton approaches Beaver Creek, Village Road, the main road in and out of the resort will be closed at Highway 6, beginning at 2:30 p.m. Depending on the pace of the race, the first rider is expected to cross the finish in Beaver Creek Village at approximately 3:30 p.m. Public parking for all race fans will be available in the Traer Creek/Rodeo Lot in Avon and the Bear Lot at the base of the resort.

Vail’s Stage 5 details

For the Vail’s Stage 5, organizers are also encouraging spectators to use public transportation, carpool or ride their bikes into Vail on race day as parking will also be limited. The atmosphere in and around Vail Village will be electric as activity in the festival area will paint a festive backdrop to the racing action.

ECO Regional Transit will offer free express bus service from the Beaver Creek parking lots to the Vail Transportation Center every 20 minutes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the first 2,000 passengers receiving free commemorative cowbells. For those that ride their bikes, free secure bike storage will be offered from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the top deck of the Vail Village parking structure.

Racers will start at Solaris Plaza on East Meadow Drive, heading west, then south onto Willow Bridge Road, east at Checkpoint Charlie onto Gore Creek Drive and passing through Vail Village. They turn north onto Vail Valley Drive and proceed up to the South Frontage Road, heading east to Old Highway 6 and up Vail Pass to the old cul-de-sac.

The first rider starts at 1:05 p.m., with starts every 60 seconds until the last 10 riders, who will start every two minutes. Prior to the start of the Time Trial, forerunners will be riding the course, beginning at noon.

The best viewing areas for the Vail Time Trial will be along the course route in Vail Village and at the climb on Old Highway 6 to the finish. Race fans should consider riding their bikes from Vail Village or head to the top of Vail Pass and ride down to the finish. Another option is to use the East Vail bus route to access outlying spectator areas for those wanting to walk up the racecourse on Old Highway 6.

Following the race, head back to Solaris Plaza for the formal awards and then check out Mountain Plaza for a free family ice cream apres, courtesy of Haagen Dazs, from 4:15 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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