Mother Earth must have been feeling the heat of the Colorado Classic as the temp rose to a sweltering 95 F that Sunday afternoon. As the sun shone down and expo tents went up, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock stood by to lead a group of 100 plus kids in a ride around the Colorado Classic’s Open Streets loop.
With high fives, silly faces, laughs, and a cut of the ribbon, the ride was off. From striders to cargo e-bikes, 3 wheel wiggle scooters to bmx bikes, kids and guardians gleefully made their way around the closed course worry free.
It wasn’t long after all riders had completed the course that the pro teams of riders started rolling in for sign in. As cameras flashed and questions were rattled off by Janel Holcomb and Dave Towle, the time quickly ticked down to the start of the final stage – the pièce de résistance if you may. This would be the last chance for teams to score a stage win to add to their palmares – though many wondered if Chloe Dygert could pull off one last win to crown her the all around “Queen of the Classic.” Camera in hand, squeezed up against the barricades, and sweat dribbling down my spine, we all waited patiently while David Towle continued his roaring commentary to “LAUNCH THESE RIDERS INTO ORBIT!” Seconds later, with the harsh flutter of a thousand shutters, howls from an exuberant crowd, and a thundering countdown, the riders were off.
Grabbing a few photos at the start and first lap of the race, my co-worker Jordan Trout (Government Relations Coordinator) and I decided to head over to City Park - another fan zone hot spot. Hopping aboard JUMP Bikes we snaked our way around Downtown Denver, speedily cruising past cars stuck in traffic, and utilizing the vast network of bike lanes.
Coasting into City Park we were amazed by the crowds of people scattered all across the park. Many had taken this opportunity to have a picnic in the park while watching riders swing around corners at breakneck speeds.
There were no lack of cowbells here either, as some had taken bunches of bells, taped them to hula hoops, and rattled them around with each passing rider.
After two laps, we decided to hurry back to catch the final run to the line. Zipping down roads, we were back at Coors Field in no time.
Under the VIP tent, feet away from the finish, anxiously glancing from TV screens to the final straight away, we waited to see if Chloe Dygert Owen - who had managed to go off the front and keep away from the looming peloton in a two person break - could make it back for her 4th stage win.
As the miles clicked down and Towle and Holocomb continued their parley of commentary, crowds began their push to the barricades. With the sight of a convoy car, the streets erupted! False alarm.
Moments later, we catch a glimpse of Dygert Owen’s yellow jersey. The frenzied pounding, ringing, yelling, microphone gushing, and vociferous cheering flares up and explodes! The crowd is LITERALLY going wild!
As an exhausted Dygert Owen crosses the line with barely enough energy to lift up a hand in celebration, the rowdiness continues. With every passing rider the chaos persists – unrelenting until the final rider has made it through.
Once all riders are accounted for, a crew of volunteers hastily assemble to make the stage ready for the final award presentation. With sprays of champagne and waves to the crowd, the Colorado Classic has come to a close.
Chloe Dygert takes home another stage win and all competitive jerseys (overall, climber, sprinter, and best young rider) accompanied with their respective prize money. Brodie Chapman and Omer Shapira take second and third respectively and Canyon/SRAM wins best team overall. Though the Colorado Classic is over, media still swirls over the massive success from this race and plans are already in the works about making next year’s even better. What an amazing experience and one that I surely will never forget. Thank you to all who helped put on such an astounding event. I can’t wait for next year! - Isaac