USA Pro Cycling Challenge announces Pro Challenge Experience citizen's event

By Real Vail
July 2, 2012

On Sunday Aug. 19, the Pro Challenge Experience Presented By UnitedHealthcare will give recreational and competitive cyclists the opportunity to challenge themselves against some of the most difficult and scenic terrain in the world.

Utilizing portions of the USA Pro Challenge Stage 1 route, the Pro Challenge Experience will give people the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride like a pro. Featuring two distances, this historic bike ride and festival is open to cyclists of all ages.

“The Pro Challenge Experience gives fans the opportunity to ride part of the course the pros will utilize the following day,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “We want people to not only have the opportunity to witness the action of the USA Pro Challenge, but also experience it for themselves.”With two distances available – 45 miles and 72 miles – riders can select the option that is best suited for their ability. Both starting at 7 a.m. MT, the routes begin in downtown Durango with a loop of the USA Pro Challenge official start. Riders will then head through Wildcat Canyon and past the breathtaking scenery of the San Juan Mountains and San Juan National Forest. After returning briefly to downtown Durango, the riders will climb steadily to Durango Mountain Resort via Route 250 and Shalona Hill. At this point, cyclists participating in the 45-mile route can stop and celebrate at a festival hosted by Durango Mountain Resort. Those wishing to continue will complete another 27 miles on the return to Durango via Route 550 with a final push into Fort Lewis College to cross the line at the official finish festival.

The cost to participate in the Pro Challenge Experience is $65 and includes an exclusive commemorative shirt. Spots for the event are limited and can be reserved at Upon registering, participants will have the option to raise funds for America's Road Home, a nonprofit organization focused on ending family homelessness, and Trails2000, a nonprofit that builds and maintains trails, while educating users and encouraging connectivity.

Participants traveling to the event can book discounted travel packages through the USA Pro Challenge and Durango Mountain Resort. The race will offer a 10 percent discount on The Grand Depart travel package, and Durango Mountain Resort is offering packages including lodging and mountain activities starting at $51 per person per night to participants. In addition to discounted rooms, participants staying at Durango Mountain Resort can reserve transportation to and from the start of the ride in downtown Durango for $15 each way by calling 970-426-7282.

The USA Pro Challenge, one of the world's most prestigious professional cycling races, will take place Aug. 20-26. The 683-mile route starts in Durango and will take the riders and spectators through 12 official host cities, as well as many others on the way to the exhilarating individual time trial finish in downtown Denver. Featuring some of the best riders in professional cycling, the race comes on the heels of the Olympics and the Tour de France.

For seven consecutive days, the world's top athletes race through the majestic Colorado Rockies, reaching higher altitudes than they've ever had to endure as they ascend over three mountain passes, each exceeding 12,000 ft. in elevation. After attracting more than 1 million spectators in 2011, making it one of the largest cycling events in U.S. history, the USA Pro Challenge is back for 2012. Featuring a challenging, 683-mile course with more than 42,000 ft. of vertical climbing, the second annual race will spotlight the best of the best in professional cycling and some of America's most beautiful scenery.

Referred to as “America's Race,” the USA Pro Challenge will take place August 20-26, 2012, a week proclaimed by Governor John Hickenlooper as “Colorado Cycling Holiday,” and travel through 12 host cities from Durango to Denver. More information can be found online at and on Twitter at @USAProChallenge.

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