Friday, December 9, 2011
Durango will find itself in the international spotlight next August on the starting line of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“It’s such a great city and has such a great heritage,” said Stacie Lange, spokeswoman for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. “It’s definitely a great place to start this race.”
The inaugural race last summer drew more than 1 million live spectators and television viewers in 161 countries and territories, race organizers said. It was carried on national television on NBC and the Versus cable channel.
The 135-rider field included some of the world’s top road cyclists. Levi Leipheimer of Team RadioShack won the race.
The exact route has not yet been decided, but the first stage on Aug. 20 will start in Durango and end in Telluride. The second stage will begin in Montrose. The race will finish in Denver on Aug. 26 with an individual time trial.
Ned Overend, a member of the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame, was thrilled about the news.
“It’ll showcase the mountains in this whole part of Colorado, which a lot of people don’t know about,” Overend said. “It’ll be great for cycling here. It’ll be good for tourism.”
The closest that the 2011 route came to the Four Corners was Crested Butte and Gunnison.
With two possible routes between Durango and Telluride, other area towns such as Mancos, Dolores and Silverton will have to wait to see if the race will pass through. Lange said the final route will not be announced until next spring.
Race organizers noted that Durango puts on the annual Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, an event with 4,000 riders, and the town is home to more professional cyclists, national champions and Olympians per capita than any other American city.
“By incorporating iconic cycling cities like Boulder and Durango in our second-year race, we will further build the virtual postcard for the state of Colorado that we established in our inaugural year,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge, in a news release...
2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge stages
Stage 1, Aug. 20: Durango to Telluride
Stage 2, Aug. 21: Montrose to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
Stage 3, Aug. 22: Gunnison to Aspen
Stage 4, Aug. 23: Aspen to Beaver Creek/Vail Valley
Stage 5, Aug. 24: Breckenridge to Colorado Springs
Stage 6, Aug. 25: Golden to Boulder
Stage 7 (individual time trial), Aug. 26: Denver
Click Here to continue reading this article.
Source: USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Four riders are new to the team including Sarah Sturm, Lauren Catlin. Payson McElveen and Sepp Kuss. Tad Elliot and Colton Anderson are both returning members.
In its short history, the team has claimed several national championship titles thanks to Howard Grotts, Alicia Rose Pastore, Tad Elliot, Sage Wilderman and Teal Stetson-Lee. Sturm is also the current collegiate short track national champion while Caitlin is the current collegiate cross country national champion.
Chad Cheeney, also the manager of the Durango Devo (non-elite) program, is taking over as manager of the team for 2012. "Last year I was busy with the other Devo stuff, but I helped with the idea to have this team back in the day. Durango Devo was seven years old and our under 19 members started graduating from our program and they had nowhere to go, so we created this elite team. This year I'm pumped to be more involved."
Chad Cheeney racing Super D at Nationals at Sun Valley, Idaho
The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite was formed in 2011 with a goal of promoting and supporting riders age 17-25 that are prepared to move to the next level of race competition. The team focuses on providing riders coaching, management, equipment, and funding to travel and compete at a regional and national level. The Sweet Elite is an extension of the successful Durango Devo Youth Cycling Program that provides riders age 5-19 structured after school riding programs with an emphasis on creating life long cyclists.
To be a member of the Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team, you have to be a non-elite Devo program graduate, be a college student at Durango's Fort Lewis College or be a Durango local.
Speaking of the squad's schedule for 2012, Cheeney said, "We're not really targeting any series. We're staying mostly within the Rocky Mountain Region. We'll go to the Colorado Springs and Missoula US Pro XCTs, and we'll go to the Windham World Cup. We'll do Nationals in Sun Valley, Idaho - that's our number one race. We hope to also send riders to Worlds." He also mentioned targeting events like the 12 hours of Mesa Verde, the Ironhorse Classic, the Teva Games and the Whiskey 50.
2012 Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Durango Devo Sweet Elite Team Roster
Tad Elliot (elite man)
Colton Anderson (elite man)
Sarah Sturm - (Cat. 1 / elite woman)
Lauren Catlin (U23 woman)
Payson McElveen (U23 man)
Sepp Kuss (Junior man)
Team Steering Committee
Ned Overend - Former World and National Mountain Bike Champion
Chris Wherry - Former US Pro Champion
Sarah Tescher - Director of Durango Devo
John Glover - Manager of Mountain Bike Specialists
Gaige Sippy - Director of Iron Horse Bicycle Classic
If you look up Ned Overend’s Wikipedia entry you’ll notice it claims he retired from professional racing in 1996, which goes to show you that you can’t trust everything you read on the Internet. While it may be technically true, Overend did stop racing mountain bikes full time to focus on other endeavors, like winning two XTERRA World Championships. Racing is no longer part of Overend’s job description; his daily duties include marketing and product development for Specialized, his long-time sponsor.
That’s not to say Overend is a desk jockey. One certainly couldn’t tell he was no longer racing and training at the professional level from his showing at this year’s Cross Country National Championship in Sun Valley, ID. “Deadly Nedly” finished ahead of 48 professional racers decades younger than himself—it has to sting knowing this guy was in his prime while you were in diapers, and you still can’t hold his wheel... Today, Overend is a legend in his spare time.
What has been your most rewarding accomplishment as a mountain biker?
Well, there are individual races, but at this point it’s longevity. When people talk to me that is what they are excited about. The fact I’m still passionate about racing has become my biggest accomplishment, more than winning a World Cup or World Championship.
Is there a race you look forward to each year?
I always look for different races, but the Road Apple Rally in New Mexico is a favorite. It’s a high-speed race with bermed turns—not as painful as a lot of other races. It is also the oldest mountain bike race in the country, must be going on 30 years.
Road, mountain or cyclocross, do you have a favorite?
Mountain for sure. I love ‘cross racing for the intensity, even though it doesn’t so much suit my style. It tends to be more power-oriented.
This July you finished 14th at Cross Country Nationals. How does it feel to be 56 and able to leave riders half your age in the dust?
[Laughs] I’m conflicted. I do a lot of different stuff for Specialized, my job is more than racing, but it does allow me to train a lot. At the same time, when I get a result like this, I think “Jeeze! If I focused more on training then I could probably improve that result.” That’s just the way a racer thinks. It’s cool to be able to perform at this level still—I think it helps that there’s no pressure for me to race.
Any advice to master’s athletes, or any mountain biker who wants to be able to ride at their full potential, regardless of their age?
I’m not too obsessive about cycling, or training in general. My training approach has obviously worked for me. You need to be informed about the training process, don’t rely on a coach. Living in the mountains has helped me—it forces me off the bike in the winter. I Nordic ski and do other sports to create a physical balance that I think is responsible for my longevity.
What is your favorite trail?
We have a new trail in Durango, the Skyline Trail. It was initially built for the Singlespeed World Championships in 2009. There was a lot of hike-a-bike back then—we made the climb more rideable. It’s a super technical trail along a ridgeline.
Tech question #1: Do you see 29ers taking over the XC market?
I do. The 29er has reinvigorated the hardtail market. They have evolved to the point where they are a superior bike for cross country in most situations. There are a lot of situations where 29ers are faster and very few where they are slower. I think this year is the tipping point for 29ers in Europe.
Tech Question #2: What do you think the future holds for disc brakes in cyclocross?
[Todd] Wells and I have had cross bikes with disc brakes for a while. It gives those bikes a lot of range. It gets boring training in the grass, we like to go out and do trail rides on our ‘cross bikes in a variety of riding conditions. That is where disc brakes excel. We’re still trying to figure out how big the disc needs to be—the weight really needs to come down, but discs will evolve in ‘cross and on the road.
Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
[Laughs] I don’t know. I didn’t see myself doing this 10 years ago! I’m for sure a lifestyle rider—this will be part of my lifestyle. My wife and I moved closer to town for more of an urban lifestyle, I see ourselves moving even closer to town and using our bikes more and cars less.
Drink of choice?
IPA. We have some great breweries in Durango. Someone needs to start brewing more IPA’s in Europe! I enjoy the beer over there, but a good IPA is one thing I look forward to when I get home.