More to the USA Pro than just the USA Pro

Community events will include bike parade, bike rodeos and road rides

A bike parade from Buckley Park to Ska Brewing will help put Durango in the spirit of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The parde will kick off events at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16. Enlarge photo

Shaun Stanley/Durango Herald file photo

A bike parade from Buckley Park to Ska Brewing will help put Durango in the spirit of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The parde will kick off events at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16.

As if the USA Pro Cycling Challenge isn’t enough, event organizers have put together a slew of other races and events for tourists, bike fanatics and local residents.

Festivities leading up to the professional bike race will start Thursday, Aug. 16. The race will begin Monday, Aug. 20, which forced Durango School District 9-R to postpone the first day of school until Tuesday, Aug. 21.

For people with an affinity for the arts, the Durango Arts Center will present “The Bicycle Men,” a musical comedy about an American tourist who crashes his bike.

The play sold out in London, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago before making its way to Durango. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased online at www.durangoarts.org.

In its first official event, Twin Buttes will host mountain bike and endurance running races on Aug. 18. Featured are two mountain bike races, a 30-kilometer trail run and a 10K trail run. Participants also can camp on private land at Twin Buttes.

About 100 camping spots are available. To register for the event, visit www.trails2000.org.

Youngsters who want to be the next USA Pro Cycling Challenge champion can attend a community bike rodeo from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Fort Lewis College softball fields. Kids will learn bike safety skills, bike etiquette and proper helmet fitting.

Several professional cyclists are expected to attend the event, and kids who log their total miles ridden will receive a medal.

Want to experience the ride the professionals will be making around Durango? Race organizers created the Pro-Challenge Experience, a 72.75-mile ride that will start at 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, in downtown Durango with a loop the professionals make in the actual race. Riders will go up Wildcat Canyon, then return to downtown before making the trek up to Durango Mountain Resort. The ride will end with a festival at FLC.

If you’re not quite up to the almost 73-mile trek, there is a 45-mile route that finishes with a festival at DMR.

A downtown street party will be held Sunday night (Aug. 19) before the race from 4 to 9 p.m., with food, beer stands and live music from Andrea’s Fault, Kirk James Band, Ralph Dinosaur and the High Rollers.

“We wanted to have the Pro Challenge experience,” said Mary Monroe, a member of Durango’s local organizing committee.

Fireworks reserved for the Fourth of July celebration that was canceled will be set off at 9:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19.

Main Avenue will be closed from Fifth to 10th streets for the downtown block party.

Local businesses and organizers collaborated to put together the Race Day Start Festival, which will begin at 7 a.m. in Buckley Park and will remain open until 5 p.m. Breakfast burritos, coffee and a video display from the JumboTron of the opening stage will be available.

“A lot of local organizations are working together to pull off these events,” said Kristen Muraro, events coordinator for Ska Brewing Co.