- Words by Travis Dixon, photos by Angelica Dixon –
I love stages like today, when non GC riders get the chance to shine. As we drove into town my excitement transposed the lyrics of Generations X’s ‘Valley of the Dolls’ to Garden of the Gods … Hey, it worked for me.
Today’s circuit is a ‘lumpy’ course through city streets which then winds its way through the hills of Colorado Springs, Garden of the Gods. I’ve ridden here before, it’s just gorgeous and should produce some good racing.
Angelica hiked around scoping out photo spots, I got out on my bike for a few hours to enjoy the course. As the crowds gathered it became apparent the difference between the mountain towns of the previous stages, and ‘rado’s front range. When not on their cell phones, the crowd was busy talking about their wattage numbers and STRAVA KOM’s … we all enjoy our sport differently.
But then I got to hang out with Jamison, a New Mexican transplant. He had his old Surly ‘frankenbike’ out today but he was no retro-grouch. As an old school racer, he still loves to ride his bike and embraces new technology like disc brakes on road bikes and electric shifting … A great guy, but again, we all enjoy our sport differently.
We hit the upper segment of the climb for the first laps. The break went early and ‘farewell Tour Jens’ was again showing the young bucks how to race a bike.
We met up with my teammate, Marcel, and two of the nicest and most skilled moto drivers on the circuit, Dave Wycof and Thom Filkins. Their skill level needed to handle the big bikes necessary for shepherding their photo passengers is quite impressive. Standing between them, the difference in body build between bike racers and moto drivers was obvious.
We made our way down to the 17% Ridge Road climb which revealed some of Colorado Springs nutters. The energy was high but far fewer beer hand ups, actually there weren’t any. Perhaps the rules and regulations of suburban life lead to the self imposed prohibition? Or did they drink it all already?
Four times up this wall took its toll on the riders, it was no day off for the peloton today.
On the last lap Jens broke away and was solo. I told Angelica that if he made it to the climb alone then I was ditching the camera bag and shoes and was gonna show my support for the old dog. He does impress and the sport will miss his racing style.
Kevin and Ian represented the young entrepreneurial spirit by selling pizza, soda, and cookies (a favorite for the youngsters in the crowd). “We sold out our first cart so our boss sent us back up to sell more!” Ok, maybe not quite so entrepreneurial.
Young Colorado fans rooting for their favorite Colorado Pro riders.
Older Colorado fans rooting for their favorite older pro rider.
For those of us still up in the hills of the Garden of the Gods, there weren’t jumbo-trons to watch the finish, so small groups huddled around iPads to catch the race. Phil Liggett slipped up on some simple math and the group fell into an impromptu competition of their favorite Liggett-isms.
As we were packing up we ran across the brain trust of Manual For Speed, who were begging for a ride into town. “The park ranger said we could give him $20 for a ride down … What’s up with that?” A hilarious way to end the day AND the requisite shared selfies!
Not such an hilarious end for Jensie though who was caught right at the end by a charging bunch led home by Cannondale’s Elia Viviani.
USA Pro Challenge Stage 4 Results:
1 Elia Viviani (Ita) Cannondale 2:28:52
2 Martin Kohler (Sui) BMC Racing Team
3 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis
4 Tyler Magner (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development
5 Kiel Reijnen (USA) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling
6 Jure Kocjan (Slo) Team SmartStop
7 Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp
8 Jonathan Cantwell (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
9 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
10 Ryan Anderson (Can) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies
GC After Stage 4:
1 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 13:03:45
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:20
3 Ben Hermans (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:23
4 Thomas Danielson (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 0:00:34
5 Serghei Tvetcov (Rou) Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis 0:00:37
6 Matthew Busche (USA) Trek Factory Racing 0:00:46
7 Carter Jones (USA) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies 0:00:49
8 Joseph Rosskopf (USA) Hincapie Sportswear Development 0:00:55
9 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team Netapp-Endura 0:01:09
10 Julian Kyer (USA) Team SmartStop 0:01:22
11 Clement Chevrier (Fra) Bissell Development Team 0:01:23
12 Alex Howes (USA) Team Garmin-Sharp 0:01:45
13 Bruno Pires (Por) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:28
14 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:02:37
15 Riccardo Zoidl (Aut) Trek Factory Racing 0:02:47