To say that Durango is crazy about bikes is a bit of an understatement. While waiting for the gun that would signal the start of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge to go off, a quick look around showed us that cycling fans were everywhere. Over to the left was a father telling his two young sons about the speeds these cyclists would reach on their parade laps through Durango. Just near his elbow a trio of girls in Fort Lewis College sweatshirts marveling in similar fashion. There were bankers who slyly put out their “Gone for Lunch” signs and construction workers on break from some unseen building site. The word on the street was that the local school district had even pushed back starting their school year for the coming of this race.
An even stranger thing happened once the gun went off and all the spare bikes atop team cars had disappeared from sight. The throng that gathered to watch the race and take part in the festivities at the race start pavilion stayed to continue watching. A large monitor that had been erected to show the opening ceremonies played coverage of the racing and the fine people of Durango had eyes glued. They “oooohed” when National Champion Timmy Duggan was mentioned, they “aaahhed” when Tom Danielson was near the front (for a brief moment) and they “wooooped” whenever the named Levi was spoken. These were cycling fans (and bankers and lawyers and mountain bikers) that not only knew what was going on, but were actively following the action.
One has to think that one of the points of these stage races is to bring out the finest in each town and city. This is their chance to show the world that they deserve to be on the map and embed itself even deeper into the psyche of the cycling world. If this is the case then The USA Pro Cycling Challenge is another well justified chapter in the history of Durango (see the Iron Horse Classic Stage Race, Red Zinger and the Coors Classic as well).
Places to visit in Durango:
Durango Cyclery – for its early cycling history and the mind blowing gallery/bike space next door Bicycle Lemonade.
Bread Bakery – if you can find a bigger fan of local cycling than owner Rob Kaeberry I would love to meet them. He is also a sponsor of the local Devo racing team.
The Cycling Statue – there is a roundabout on the way out of town that contains three cyclists made from iron.
Any of the Bike Shops – from Rivendell to Jack Taylor to Kona and Specialized Mountain bikes, there are a plethora of great machines.
The Purple Ice Cream Truck – found at any and all downtown “D-Town” events. These kind ladies kept the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club’s personal ice cream department stocked as the temperatures rose.
Keep in touch with Rapha North America on twitter/instagram @Rapha_N_America and the Rapha Mobile Cycle Club @RaphaMCCNA for the rest of the week as we make our way towards Denver, Colorado.
See Also – Day One: USA Pro Cycling Challenge 2012