Thursday, August 18, 2011

Race Day: Buses and parking meters and bears, oh my!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 18, 2011 at 2:53 PM

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  • Courtesy USA Pro Cycling Challenge

You may have heard that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is coming ... because we've only written like a million words about it in this week and last week's issues.

So anyway, believe it or not, there's even more you should know. The city has finally put out an official release on the race, which details some free meter parking in the downtown, as well as disruptions to bus routes. And the Colorado Division of Wildlife has some tips for you if you're planning to camp out ahead of the race. (Hint: the tips involve you NOT getting eaten by our local wildlife.)

Read on. We know you can't get enough of this stuff:


USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue Information
Bike Valet, Free and Paid Parking, Road Closures and More

Basic Race Information
Colorado Springs is hosting the Prologue Time Trial on Monday, August 22, the kickoff to the inaugural USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The nationally-televised event will feature the top three finishers from this year’s Tour de France in the field of 128 professional riders from 16 different international teams.

The first rider will leave from the Garden of the Gods start area at 1:15 p.m. Riders will leave individually every 60 seconds. The last 10 riders are spaced in two minute intervals. The top riders are seeded last. The last rider is expected to finish downtown (Cascade/Colorado) between 3:45-4 p.m. with an Awards Ceremony following immediately after.

The winner of the Prologue gets the Yellow Jersey heading into Tuesday, a mountain stage from Salida to Crested Butte. The whole event spans 600 miles in the state from August 22-26 on the highest altitude course ever created with a final finish line in Denver on August 26. For more race specific information, visit www.usaprocyclingchallenge.com.

Television Coverage
NBC and Versus is the television home for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Versus will start coverage with a pre-show on Sunday, August 21, at 1:30 p.m. MT. Versus will broadcast live from each stop with the final day aired on NBC. Versus coverage in Colorado Springs on August 22 will start at 1:30 p.m. MT and there will be a post-show each evening at 9 p.m. MT.

Getting to the race - By bike
Traveling by bike is one of the best options for accessing spectator spots along the route. Leave your car at home or park on the outskirts and bike in to avoid road closures and trying to find parking. And you can park your bike for free at the secure and monitored bike parking valet area provided by the City of Colorado Springs and Mountain Metropolitan Transit’s Metro Rides program. No locks needed! The bike parking valet will be at the Expo area, near the finish line at Colorado and Cascade. The free bike valet will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and staffed by volunteers who will keep your bike secure while you enjoy the race and the Expo area. For more information, visit www.SpringsGov.com/transit or call (719) 385-RIDE (7433).

Colorado Springs’ first ever bicycle map will also be for sale in the bike valet area ($7.95 plus tax, cash only). Local bike shops will also be selling the maps. The map contains a wealth of information for those who want to explore the city by bike, including:

· color-coded roads based on volume of motor vehicle traffic, including indications of which roads have marked bicycle lanes or paved shoulders;
· off-street multi-use trails, indicating paved or unpaved;
· street grades above 6% noted;
· parks and open space information;
· roundabout locations;
· transit transfer stations and park and ride lots;
· bike shop locations;
· bicycle safety information, rules and laws;
· how to ride transit with your bike;
· and much more!

With over 110 miles of multi-use trails and 90 miles of bicycle lanes in the City, the map is THE way to help you get around by bike.

Getting to the race - By car (closure information in separate section)
Free On-Street Parking, Noon-6 p.m., Monday, August 22
City Council passed a resolution designating free on-street parking on Monday, August 22, starting at noon. That means spectators won’t have to worry about going back to plug meters during the race. The meters will not be hooded, so spread the word to families and friends to let them know the on-street parking will be free starting at noon that day.

Paid Parking near Downtown Finish Line
Three City garages will have first-come, first-serve parking downtown — Bijou/Cascade, Colorado/Nevada and Kiowa/Nevada. Costs are $0.75 per hour cash only. There is a variety of private pay lots available downtown as well. To access downtown, drivers will want to use the Uintah, Bijou or Cimarron exits.

Parking near Garden of the Gods Start Line
Free parking will be available at Rock Ledge Ranch. Suggested exits are Uintah (Exit 143) for northbound traffic and Fillmore (Exit 145) for southbound traffic and then head west towards Garden of the Gods.

Teams will start arriving at the Garden of the Gods Visitor Center around 11:30 a.m., making it a good spot to watch riders warming up and getting ready for the start. If you want to travel between the start and finish, leave yourself plenty of time to get between the two areas (bike if you can!) and be aware that the route itself will be closed to vehicle and bicycle traffic starting approximately 11:30 a.m.

Parking parallel to the route
Please obey all No Parking signs and be courteous to residents in neighborhoods. Do not block driveways.

Other Spectator Information
· Overnight camping will not be allowed on public streets along the route or in parks.
· Spectators who wish to line up early should be sure not to block the sidewalk and have permission to be on any private property.
· Please DO NOT PAINT on the roads (even chalk paint). If you want to place a slogan on the route, only use chalk.
· The route will be swept by City street sweepers in the very early morning hours.
· No parking is allowed on the route after 11 a.m. on race day.
· School crossing for District 11 schools in the Colorado Ave. area has been coordinated with the district. Click here for more information.
Mountain Metropolitan Transit Route Impacts
· Mountain Metropolitan routes #3, #4, #16, #65 (Ute Pass) and FREX will be detoured due to the closure of Colorado Ave between Tejon St and 30th St as well as all cross streets between these locations. Colorado Ave closure time is scheduled between 12pm — 5pm. Full detour information is available here and is posted in the buses on the affected routes and at the downtown terminal.

Road Closures
The City recognizes road closures will inconvenience some residents but asks for citizens’ patience and to be aware of the overall benefit to the whole community in significant positive impact on the local economy. The overall USA Pro Cycling Challenge has contracted with a group to provide an economic impact report which will be available approximately 30-45 days after the race.


Saturday, August 20 Traffic Impacts
Cascade Ave. northbound lane closures btwn Vermijo and Colorado 9 p.m. to approx. 8 p.m., Aug. 22
Sunday, August 21 Traffic Impacts
Colorado Ave. closed between Tejon and Sawatch 4 p.m. to approx 4:30 p.m., Aug. 22
Cascade Ave. closed btwn Pikes Peak and Vermijo 4 p.m. to approx 4:30 p.m., Aug. 22
Monday, August 22 Traffic Impacts
Garden of the Gods Park. East side of park closed all day.
Ridge Rd. northbound closed at Colorado Ave. 10 a.m. to approx. 4:30 p.m.
Pikes Peak Ave. closed from Ridge Rd. to 30th St. Noon to approx. 4:30 p.m.
31st St. closed from Colorado to Bijou Noon to approx. 4:30 p.m.
Colorado Ave. closed from 30th St. to Nevada Noon to approx. 4:30 p.m.
No access to or across Colorado Avenue Noon to approx. 4:30 p.m.

Ancillary Events
The cycling celebration isn’t limited just to the race. Visit www.pikespeakcyclingsociety.org for a calendar and information on other events leading up to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue.


BIKE RACE CAMPERS CAUTIONED ABOUT BEARS

ASPEN, Colo. - As thousands of cycling fans prepare to camp along state highways and in designated campgrounds to watch the Pro Challenge bike race, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding everyone that following a few simple camping tips can help reduce the possibility of a conflict with a hungry bear.

The reminder is especially timely after a bear entered and damaged two tents in Difficult Campground near Aspen. Due to the increasing number of incidents involving bears in this campground during the past few weeks, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U. S. Forest Service mutually agreed to restrict the site to hard-sided camping only.

"We decided to err on the side of caution and protect human health and safety," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Area Wildlife Manger Perry Will. "Based on the bear situation in this campground, we don't think camping in a tent is safe."

According to the Difficult Campground host, the site is fully booked next Monday and Tuesday night as cycling fans had planned to camp overnight and watch the race as it passes over Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass into Aspen on Wednesday, Aug. 24. It is likely the restrictions will remain in place as the race progresses through the area and fans are advised to make other arrangements if they were planning to sleep in tents.

"We want fans to enjoy the race and people are still welcome to stay there, but they will need to be in hard-sided campers only, such as an RV or even their cars," continued Will.

In addition to the large number of race fans staying in designated campgrounds, the Colorado Department of Transportation will temporarily allow camping just off the highways along the race route, and wildlife managers are concerned that the large number of people concentrated in these areas could increase the risk of conflicts.

"One thing that campers need to keep in mind is that although they may be doing the things that will help prevent conflicts, their camp neighbor may not be so careful," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Assistant Regional Manager Dean Riggs. "Bears are large and powerful animals that are strongly attracted to the smell of food and other odors, so keep an eye on those around you and perhaps offer some gentle encouragement if you see potential problems brewing."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife managers recommend that race fans planning to camp along the route consider following these camping tips:

Stash Your Trash - Use bear-proof containers when available. If they’re full, double bag trash and lock it in your trunk or RV. Never leave trash outside.

Store Attractants Safely - Store food, beverages and toiletries in air tight containers and lock them in the trunk of your car. Many bears have discovered that coolers, bags and boxes are full of food; never leave them in your tent or anywhere a bear could see, smell or reach.

Keep a Clean Camp - Bears are attracted to odors of all kinds and will investigate anything interesting in hopes of finding food.

Keep a Clean Tent - Don’t bring anything with an odor into your tent—that includes all foods, beverĀ­ages, scented toiletries, gum, toothpaste, sunscreen, candles, and insect repellant. Don’t sleep in the clothes you cooked in; store them with your food.

Lock RVs and Vehicles - Close windows and lock your vehicle and RV when you leave your camp site and at night before you go to sleep.

Although bear conflicts remain relatively rare, wildlife managers advise race fans that bear sightings are common in Colorado, and watching all wildlife from a distance is the best way to enjoy the experience.

"If race fans are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bear, deer, moose, elk, or other wildlife while they are camping, they should remember to keep their distance," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Watchable Wildlife Coordinator Trina Romero. "We ask folks not to feed, approach or harass wildlife, but do make sure to bring some binoculars and a camera so you can safely capture the moment."

In Colorado, people can be fined if they are observed harassing or feeding wildlife, and race fans that plan to camp with their dogs are cautioned to keep their pets on a leash. Dogs can severely injure wild animals and Colorado law enforcement officers are authorized to immediately euthanize any dog that is observed chasing or harassing wildlife.

The seven-day race will run through several areas in Colorado, but on both the day before, and opening day of archery season, Saturday, Aug. 27, the race route will take cyclists through Eagle, Routt and Grand counties. Campers and hunters are reminded that they should drive carefully, and that traffic delays are likely due to the concurrence of the events.

For more information about camping in bear country, go to: http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeSpecies/LivingWithWildlife/Mammals/Pages/HikeCampBearCountry.aspx

For more information from CDOT about camping along the race route, go to: http://www.coloradodot.info/news/2011news/08-2011/CDOTParking-Camping-Info-Additions.html

For more information about the race, routes and possible delays, please visit: http://www.cotrip.org/content/usapcc/

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