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Riding shotgun 

A clutch of events promises to make the race into something bigger.

The cyclists may go by in a flash, but local organizers have done their best to stretch out the USA Pro Challenge festivities. Here's a look at the events scheduled before, during and even after race day.

Stage 4-related events

Wednesday, Aug. 20: UpaDowna Pedal Party, a free, family-friendly 5-mile ride through downtown. Please complete an online waiver before the ride, available online. Wednesdays, through Sept. 24, 6 p.m. McCabe's Tavern, 520 S. Tejon St. tiny.cc/9km8jx.

Thursday, Aug. 21:

• Celebrate Colorado Springs Cycling Ride, a community ride featuring USA Cycling members, USA Triathlon members, cycling clubs, BMX clubs, adaptive riding groups and many more, that loops from Acacia Park down Tejon Street, to Colorado Avenue, Cascade Avenue, Bijou Street and back. Participants are encouraged to wear cycling jerseys and costumes. 10:45 a.m. Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave. tiny.cc/kxn8jx.

• USA Pro Cycling Challenge Old Colorado City Event, live music from the Springs City Jazz Band featuring Laura Davis, restaurant discounts, store sales and viewing areas. Noon. Bancroft Park, 2408 W. Colorado Ave. tiny.cc/h5p8jx.

• Miss-n-Out Invitational Criterium, a short course held downtown. Fifty riders will compete, with some dropping each lap until 10 remain to determine a winner. Noon. tiny.cc/lio8jx.

• Invitational Sprint Tournament, two heats of five riders (both male and female) will sprint 430 meters to the UPC finish line, with the top two men and women advancing to a final sprint. 12:30 p.m. tiny.cc/lio8jx.

• USA Pro Challenge Stage 4, begins at First Street and Lake Avenue at 12:50 p.m., and finishes at Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street between 3:30-4:15 p.m. Go online for information on the spectator festival and other activities. tiny.cc/muo8jx.

• Not So Pro Cycling Challenge, 11 teams of four — from Tony's, Springs Orleans, The Mansion, Jack Quinn's, the Indy, and others — perform a cycling obstacle course on pixie bikes. Held downtown immediately following the Stage 4 finish. 4:15 p.m. tiny.cc/e0m8jx.

• VIP Reception, following Stage 4, cocktails and light appetizers with Phil Liggett, "the voice of cycling," and Paul Sherwen, analyst for the Tour de France, Tour of California and the USA Pro Challenge. To be followed by the Stage 4 Gala at the Broadmoor. $250. 6 p.m. Penrose Heritage Museum, 11 Lake Ave. tiny.cc/amn8jx.

• Stage 4 Gala, a three-course dinner with NBC highlights and live commentary from Liggett and Sherwen, who will conduct a Q&A with top riders of the sport. There will also be a silent auction. $150. 6:30 p.m. Broadmoor Hall at the Broadmoor, 1 Lake Ave. tiny.cc/amn8jx.

Sunday, Aug. 24: Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb, citizen and professional races up the Pikes Peak Highway. Online registration closes Aug. 20. $30-$100. coscycling.com.

Meanwhile, in Woodland Park ...

It's not just America's Olympic City — We're calling it that, right? — that gets Pro Challenge excitement. Woodland Park will host events on Wednesday and Thursday (tiny.cc/av3mkx) before launching Stage 5 at 11:20 a.m. Friday from East Midland Avenue, between North Laurel and North Boundary streets. Cyclists will make a few local circles, then start out for Hoosier Pass (elevation 11,542 feet) before stopping in downtown Breckenridge. Riders will also be accessible to attendees beforehand for autographs, high-fives and maybe the occasional wet willy.

Stuff continues all day in Woody P, with a "kids zone" featuring face painters, clowns and whatever a Flying Carrot Bus is; BMX demonstrations; a village of food, vendors and exhibitors; live music at 5 p.m., and a nighttime ride at 10:30. Highway 24 will be closed for short portions of time, but otherwise up and down the strip is the place to party. The farmers market is even going to stay up later. Overall, the city hopes the event will boost its fortunes, says Stage 5 organizer Michael Perini.

"We've had our challenge with the Waldo Canyon Fire, with Highway 24, you know, with the floods and rains and all that," says Perini, "[and] we have taken full advantage of this to show people that our town is alive and well and that we have a lot of things to do. So, we're trying to capitalize on it and hopefully folks will stay in town."

scene@csindy.com

  • A clutch of events promises to make the race into something bigger.

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