After news of being selected as the start city for the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, planning is under way to make a spectacular representation of Durango this August.
Twelve committees have been formed consisting of city officials, community members and lovers of bicycles to coordinate planning of the race scheduled to begin Aug. 20 in Durango.
Were very excited for this, said Sherri Dugdale, co-chairwoman of the local organizing committee. Its a great thing for the community, and its going to be a lot of fun.
The USA Pro Cycling Challenge held its first race last year, with more than 1 million spectators covering a 518-mile route, race organizers said.
This year, the race will showcase the beauty of Southwest Colorado, beginning right here, in the heart of Durango.
Durango planners propose to create a festival-type atmosphere beginning a week before the race, giving tourists a reason to visit Durango a little earlier.
The Durango economy and reputation undoubtably will benefit from the race, with live spectators as well as national and international television coverage, said Mary Monroe, co-chairwoman of the local organizing committee.
With that level of attraction, Durango can expect to fill its hotels and restaurants this August, Monroe added.
Dugdale and Monroe will oversee local planning of the race.
This will take a lot of coordination, Dugdale said.
Local committees have been created with the intention to provide an impressive setting for the starting leg of the race, and in January, the committees will be put to work.
A few of us will be attending a planning symposium in Denver mid-January for all of the host cities, Dugdale said. After that, they are coming down (to Durango) to do a full-day workshop with us as the start city.
After more coordination with race officials and coordinators, planning locally will be refined, Dugdale said.
With 22 committee directors established at this time, planning for the event is a team effort.
In addition to the subcommittees created, each is equipped with two co-chairmen because most coordinators have other jobs and commitments, Dugdale said.
We also created an advisory committee, which is made up of heads of organizations and community leaders, Dugdale said. This will provide another level of double checks.
Anne Klein, director of the committee in charge of public relations for the Durango stage, says the Iron Horse gives Durango planners a head start.
We have a pretty successful model in place, and with the caliber of people taking positions on these committees, Durango will be able to shine, she said.
The local organizing committee also plans to create a cycling village at Fort Lewis College, Dugdale said. The village, inspired by athletes villages at Olympics, will be all-inclusive to meet cyclists needs and the needs of support and event staff.
The village also will have the capacity to accommodate 1,112 people, according to the proposal.
The race time in August is approaching, but planning is preliminary at this time, Klein said.
The next meeting will be held Jan. 12, she said.