Mostly positive feedback for USA Pro Challenge

Aug 28, 2013

The USA Pro Challenge has come to an end, and now the City of Aspen wants to know what everyone thought. Last night (Tues. 8-27-13), the city council invited the public to give feedback on the race. Aspen Public Radio’s Rebecca Kruth reports.  

More than 30 people took to the mic at last night’s meeting to voice their thoughts on the cycling event which took center stage in Aspen last week.

No one described any major inconveniences, and the comments were mostly supportive.

Aspen resident Blanca O’Leary said the race embodied Aspen ideals.

“As a family, we just love living here in Aspen, and this is one of the reasons we do,” O’Leary said. “We all received phone calls; it was all over social media. This gives us another sense of pride for knowing we decided to move here.”

Several hotel owners said they were booked full during the event while other commenters brought up Aspen’s growing reputation as a world-class cycling community.

There were also some concerns.

Daniel Song is vice president and general manager of Aspen Music Festival and School. He said the Paepcke Park concert put on by bike race organizers conflicted with the festival’s final performance of the season.

“It was kind of a shock, not only to the patrons in the tent, on the lawn, but also to the performers could all hear it,” Song said. “We’d like to cooperate better going forward and see if we can avoid situations like that.”

Other criticisms included street closures and parking problems as well as the event’s impact on some local businesses.

Aspen resident Lorrie Winnerman said many of the shops she frequents were blocked by the race.

“The bike race had four blocks or so of their own sponsors and their own team people, and people were buying so enthusiastically all of their stuff and then really not buying from our guys,” Winnerman said.

Several business owners at the meeting said sales were either slow or at a standstill during the Pro Challenge. However, most said they still supported the race, and they wanted find a way to work with the city to make race day less cumbersome.

Mayor Steve Skadron said the council will take the public’s feedback into consideration when talks for next year’s race begin in three weeks.