Vail Valley Partnership CEO: Colorado Classic races bring excitement, exposure and, yes, some challenges (column)
Vail Valley Partnership
The Colorado Classic pro cycling tour will provide excitement, energy, economic benefits and global marketing for Vail when it arrives Thursday, Aug. 16, and Friday, Aug. 17, in Vail Village.
The four-day tour includes another two days of racing in Denver on Saturday, Aug. 18, and Sunday, Aug. 19. The Vail stages coincide with headliner music from the Whistle Pig Vail concert series at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater on Aug. 17 and 18. That concert features the Jerry Garcia Birthday Band, and the Whistle Pig Vail Gravel Grand Fondo biking event on Aug. 17, as well as expos and ancillary events throughout.
The racing begins Aug. 16 in Vail, when riders will experience a technically challenging circuit race for Stage 1 that starts in Mountain Plaza near Gondola One in Vail Village, then up a dirt climb on Mill Creek Road, out to West Vail South and back to Vail Village after looping through the golf course area. Stage 2 is the legendary time trial course starting in Mountain Plaza and finishing near the summit of Vail Pass with 1,574 feet of climbing to the finish.
Pro cycling is in Vail’s DNA, and likely always will be. It is a significant reason why Vail summers are well-known throughout the world. Pro cycling has long been an economic pillar of our community.
As with any event of this size and scale, there will be impacts on the event dates to our residents, guests and employees.
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Before we go too far down that path, let’s set the record straight. Yes, there are events in the valley that sometimes create logistical challenges for residents and businesses, but let’s remember that these are the same events that keep our local economy vibrant, and our resort valley top of mind for new and returning guests.
The town of Vail has done a good job encouraging residents to plan ahead by knowing how the races will impact access to their neighborhoods.
Numerous road closures will be in place on race days; the only access allowed will be for emergency services.
Vail Village and Lionshead Village businesses will be fully accessible to pedestrians during the races. Fencing will be used to separate the racers from the spectators and designated crossings will be used for additional pedestrian access.
My point is not to say that community events have zero negative impacts. Of course they occasionally create noise, inconvenience and frustration for some residents.
But they also bring the community together, create community traditions and offer joy to thousands of people who also live and visit the valley.
There are many resources available to residents, businesses and employees to learn about navigating through town on event days. Visit coloradoclassicvail.com for more information. To sign up for neighborhood updates in advance of the races, visit http://www.vailgov.com/colorado classicvail. For transit information, go to buses.coloradoclassicvail.com. For a map of the parking areas, go to http://www.parking.cooloradoclassicvail.com. For ECO Transit, go to http://www.eaglecounty.us/transit. For race information, follow ColoradoClassicPro on Facebook and Instagram and @CoClassicPro on Twitter.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at http://www.vailvalleypartnership.com.