Seems like there was some kind of big-time bicycle riding race-thing here in Colorado recently. It was really just plain cool to see the incredible turnout of people coming out to watch a few skinny dudes ride past real fast. The crowds for Stage 6, the Golden to Boulder stage on Saturday were pretty much insane for a bike race. The Flagstaff & Downtown Boulder mobs were almost predictable (still bigger than I imagined... picture plagiarized),
but it was the crowds in other, less obvious locations that were amazing. Highway 93, Nederland, Lyons (now THEY know how to party...), Lee Hill, and other less obvious locations were basically mobbed, 3-4 deep and more. Even more amazing was that is was not just the hardcore bike crowd, but just a big bunch of random people coming out to see it.
Having been around in the Coors Classic era, it NEVER had a following ANYTHING like what happened Saturday. Even accounting for the much lower overall population "density" back then, this was like 10 times the people out to watch. This really bodes well for the sport in general right now. The "Lance" effect or not, there is a huge opportunity here, and I hope it can be capitalized on.
My early race watching plan involved riding up to Lee Hill Road, but some "life" kind of stuff got in the way for Saturday morning, leaving little time to get out. Instead, just headed out to the closest random little hill on the course. We ended up at US36 & Hygene Road, just south of Lyons. There were HUNDREDS of people out there.
As usual, it was all over pretty quick, but all I heard as people left was "that was cool", "wow, fun" and that kind of stuff. Never heard the "was that it?" you might expect for an hour of hanging around for a few seconds of people riding by.
Even that quick look at them FLYING up a hill that leaves me CRIPPLED, was inspiring, even though I feel a lot more like this
Than I do a bike racer anymore. No matter, it was QUITE a week for cycling in Colorado. Think the race will be back? Given the turnout all over the place, you have to think so. Hope this thing stays around a while.