Monday, August 29, 2011


The energy of the fans and racing on top Swan Mountain Road, the final King of the Mountain (KOM), provided both a taste of the Tour de France, racing fireworks, and just plain energy.  Fans began taking to the climb during the early morning hours, and built to a crescendo just before the lead moto from the race caravan arrived.  The true signal the lead rider was arriving was the visual of the Versus camera helicopter in the valley below, which provided approx a 10 minute window to get in position, both photographers and the flag bearing fans!  Whew Whoa!   

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pro Cycling Challenge - Prologue TT

August 22, 2011 started at 0230 hrs when I woke and prepped my camera gear for the days race of truth, sorta.  A little later in the AM, I kissed the wife good bye, dropped of Bryce at pre-K, grabbed my gear and headed south on I-25 to the Garden of the Gods, where the start of the greatest bike race since the Coors Classic ended in Colorado was to happen.  As I made my way to the Garden of the Gods, I began to see signs of the circus...event parking, police motos, and just plain traffic.  I then parked my Jeep, grabbed my gear and proceeded to head to the team staging area to pick up my media credentials.  According to officials, there was not going to be a media tent for passes at the start today, just at the finish.  I figured the way the course is laid out, I did not need special access to capture the days race along the first 2 km of the course.  

I found the sweet spot for capturing images of racers with a great back drop on the second hill, near where the Carmichael Training Systems tent was set up.

Link to more images:

Monday, August 22, 2011

US Pro Cycling Challenge - Press Conference Rider Quotes

Here are a few rider quotes from the Sunday press conference:

Quotes from 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Kick-Off Press Conference


Cadel Evans (AUS)
BMC Racing Team
On post-Tour de France reception in Australia and travel to the U.S.:
“It was a long journey to get here, but after the Tour de France I did a few post-race events in Australia.  It was much appreciated and I was very honored that they had celebrations for me – it was quite intense.  But I’ve been here for almost a week in Colorado.”

On what to expect from the inaugural edition of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge:
“The climbs are reasonably hard but the altitude will be the biggest test for us.  I’ve been here for a week and I’m hoping I can adjust in time.”

On his switch to BMC Racing Team:
“The main difference has been that I get to work with a group of like-minded people with like-minded goals.  I always enjoyed training, but I enjoy being at the races more because we have a strong bond and great team unity.  It makes it all the more enjoyable.”

On the favorites to win the race:
“I think I look at the Columbians as the favorites because of the advantages they have training at altitude.  We will do anything we can, but they are definitely in a favorable environment.” 

On the keys to doing well in the Prologue:
“Aside from the really sharp turn, you just go fast tomorrow for the Prologue. It should be interesting.”

Andy Schleck (LUX)
Leopard Trek
On racing in Colorado:
“I’ve been here a few times so I’ve had the chance to train here and to enjoy the beautiful landscape.  I love it here – and the beautiful weather.”

On the biggest challenge the race will pose: 
“The altitude is hard.  It is definitely going to be the biggest obstacle in the race and will be a big challenge.  The highest point is 3,600 meters. I’ve never been that high before so I’m looking forward to going up there. The thing is, we all have to go up to those heights, so its not going to be just hard for me.  It will be difficult for everyone.”

On the effect social media has had on cycling:
“I started racing in the U.S. in 2005. There were always a lot of people when I raced oversees, but in the last year, cycling exploded in the U.S. and in the Amgen Tour of California we get more and more support.  I believe that it comes from the riders and through more social media.  It is good to see the growth of cycling in the U.S. and I believe a big part is due to social media.”
“Last week we tweeted an invite to people to come ride in Steamboat and 40-50 people came out to ride with us.”

On whether this race will be a rematch with Cadel Evans:
“I don’t see this as a rematch.  Of course, I hope to beat him, but that’s not the whole reason I’m here.  There are no bad riders here. Anyone can win this race.”

Frank Schleck (LUX)
Leopard Trek
On racing in Colorado:
“I couldn’t do the Amgen Tour of California this year, but when I had the chance to do the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, I knew the state has a big passion for cycling and the people have a big passion for cycling, so I was excited to come. I heard all about this climbing.  That just made my day.  Colorado has been great – I really love this state.”

Tom Danielson (USA)
Team Garmin-Cervelo
On his mentality following the Tour de France:
“This year was my first Tour de France and I had no idea what to expect. It was really a special race.  The guys up here at this press conference are really legends and heroes in my book.  It was incredible to be in there racing with them.  After surviving the Tour de France, it’s been really cool to see the impact it has had in the U.S.  It’s amazing to see how many people are paying attention to cycling after the Tour de France.  People are really becoming fans.”

On racing on American soil:
“Racing in Europe, you see how guys are respected in their country.  Here we have the opportunity to race in one of the biggest races in the world, with some of the best riders in the world, on our own home soil.  I’m really excited.  I’m really pumped.  It’s great to even be at this press conference right now with these amazing riders in my hometown.”

On the strategy of the Columbian teams:
“Plan on the Columbians attacking.  In this race there are a lot of really strong teams.  I think they are super, super strong.  In order to beat those guys we’ll have to be attentive on all fronts and be ready.  It’s going to be chaos.”

On what to expect from the Columbian teams:
“Based on what we saw at the Tour of Utah, we can plan on the Columbians attacking.  Fortunately there are a lot of really strong teams that will rise to the occasion.  In order to beat those guys we need to be attentive on all fronts.”

On racing Lookout:
“Lookout is one of the local races we have in Colorado.  It was one of my favorite climbs and my current record is 16 minutes.  I don’t think we’ll go that fast up it because it’s the beginning of the stage, but perhaps the Columbians might have other ideas…”

Ivan Basso (ITA)
On what they bring to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge:
“Cannondale is an important sponsor for us.  We brought a really good team to Colorado to do the best race possible.”

On his personal preparation for the race:
“For me the problem is that I only got here two days ago.  I saw the map and we go really, really high – almost to the sky.  I am in good condition.  The only problem is the altitude and the jet lag.”

On his time in Colorado:
“It’s fantastic.  I have been training the past two days and it’s nice to see cars following our team and asking for pictures.  Many people want to speak with us and get autographs.  Cycling has a big following in Colorado and all the riders will do their best for the fans.”

Christian Vande Velde (USA)
Team Garmin-Cervelo
On his time in Colorado Springs:
“We checked out the Prologue course this morning and it’s spectacular.  It is going to be fast and it is going to be a great way to kick off the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  

On racing in Colorado:
“We go through some of the most beautiful parts of the country during this race.  Our team has been based out of Boulder since day one. We always have extra motivation when we’re racing in the U.S., but these are our home roads in Colorado.”

On the excitement surrounding competing on home soil in Colorado:
“We race hundreds of days per year. It’s nice to come off a great Tour de France and show off a little bit on our home soil.”

Robert Gesink (NED)
Rabobank Cycling Team
On his preparation for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge:
“I’m motivated to do the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  I’m happy I came early to prep for the altitude.  We did some nice training.  The hours go by pretty fast because you look around and see all the great views.  I like to race outside Europe, but it’s nice to be over here because it’s completely different.  I’m motivated to get good results.”

On the time trial:
“The time trial has a crazy descent.  It is pretty exciting.”

Sergio Luis Henao (COL)
Gobernacion de Antioquia-Indeportes Antiquia
On the advantages the Colombian teams possess:
“For the Columbian people, the advantage we have is the altitude because we train every day at more than 2,000 meters.  Colombians are generally good in the mountains.  For us this is an important race and we think we can be in the key places in the race.  There is a high, high level here, but we will fight to win and race for the people here in Colorado.  I am very proud to be here with the top riders in the world.”


Shawn Hunter
CEO and Co-Chairman, USA Pro Cycling Challenge
On what separates the USA Pro Cycling Challenge from other races:
Three things will be different about this race: First of all, stage racing in America was born here and it belongs here. Secondly, as a very proud resident, this is one of the most beautiful places to live in the world.  To be able to showcase it on national and international television is a privilege.  Thirdly, the terrain is definitely a big factor.  This race is going to take everyone to new heights and we can showcase all the state has to offer while pushing the riders to their limit.  We don’t know who is going to win, but the big winner is the state of Colorado.”

On the involvement of Colorado Springs:
“I think the fact that USA Cycling and the UCI are here says a lot for this race.  All of our cities are world class.  It’s going to be hard not to come back to Colorado Springs in the future because they’ve done such a good job.”

On the contributions of the Schadens:
“To produce an event like this is not an easy undertaking. The Schadens have allowed for this entire event and the stellar field is a credit to what they have done.”

Pat McQuaid
UCI President
On the importance of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge:
“This is a very important race for world cycling.  Cycling is about to enter into a golden year and this race will be a part of that year.  Cycling is one of the few sports that can showcase a region or city.  The state of Colorado will be the one that benefits the most from the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  Events such as this are very important for our sport.”

Jim Birrell
Race Director
On being in Colorado:
“I can’t tell you what an honor and privilege it is to get here.  I originally got my start at the Coors Classic, so it is great to come back here for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to have this backdrop and showcase these compelling courses.”

John Hickenlooper
Governor of Colorado
On the sport of cycling:
“John Kennedy once said that ‘nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.’  I don’t think he was referring to what these guys do on a bike but the truth remains that biking is one of the most beautiful, true activities one can do. Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the country – we are also one of the fittest states and one of the top bicycling states.”

On bringing the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to Colorado:
“This race is going to go through some of the most beautiful and historic places in Colorado.  The world will get a chance to see why we are all so proud of living here and why it is a great place not just for cycling but also for building businesses, for building a family and for building a life.  This event will help people to see Colorado in all of its glory and at the end of the day; the state will be the real winner.”

“Everyone wants to be outside in the incredible landscape that we call home.  Cyclists are going to be working hard to go over passes in the mountains.  The race is going to give Colorado a real chance to shine.” 

Steve Bach
Mayor of Colorado Springs
On being a host city for the inaugural race:
“We are humbled and honored as a city to be a host for the inaugural race – a race that is truly America’s race.  So much electricity is in the air – you can feel it everywhere you go.” 

On Colorado Springs:
“We are a city of outdoor enthusiasts – we have hundreds of thousands of cycling enthusiasts here.  We are a city of around 600,000 people and home to the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Cycling.  We are also home to 23 national governing bodies and the headquarters for U.S. Air Force Academy.  There is a lot of history here in Colorado Springs, yet this is truly a life changing event for our city – to host the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.  We are truly honored.”

US Pro Cycling Challenge - Prologue

I will be attending many of the stages of the US Pro Cycling Challenge held in various parts of Colorado from August 22 through August 27, 2011.  My goal during this period will be to provide media outlets contents for their product, and the cyclist / non-cyclist a feel of what the race is like...Stay tuned!