6,000 attend People’s Pedal Party to celebrate big race

More than 6,000 people braved a rainy Sunday evening to attend the People’s Pedal Party downtown in celebration of today’s big cycling event.

“We had a terrific crowd – everyone from a 6-week old to an 85-year-old,” said Ron Butlin, executive director of the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership.

The party was among several events during the weekend celebrating today’s USA Pro Cycling race, which begins at 1:15 p.m. in the Garden of the Gods Park with the race time trials.

The Pedal Party, hosted by the Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership, featured 70 booths, two live bands, bike art and prize give-aways.

Rain and strong winds got the party off to a slow start, Butlin said. The crowd peaked at about 7 p.m. when live music performances were in full swing. The Downtown Development Authority and Business Improvement District spent about $65,000 preparing for the party and today’s Pro Challenge event, a seven-day race across the Rockies expected to bring in millions to Colorado’s economy.

Butlin said it was money well spent.

“I think it was a great first year,” Butlin said. “I hope, no, I know, we can step it up next year.”

Beginning today at 1:15 p.m. cyclists will race from the park to downtown, ending at the corner of Cascade and Colorado Avenues. The cyclist with the best time will wear the yellow jersey in Tuesday’s stage of the race from Salida to Crested Butte. The race ends Aug. 28 in Denver.

So far the set up for today’s event, which will be nationally televised, looks smooth, Butlin said. Colorado Springs police are planning for about 35,000 spectators to line the streets today for a view of the top cyclists racing against the clock.

For those who don’t want to be part of the downtown crowd, NBC and Versus television coverage will start at 1:30 p.m., channel 56.  Versus will broadcast live from each stop with daily wrap up coverage at 9 p.m.

Road closures from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on race day

  • Garden of the Gods Park, east side of the park closed all day
  • Ridge Road, northbound closed at Colorado Avenue
  • Pikes Peak Avenue, closed from Ridge Road. to 30th Street
  • 31st Street, closed from Colorado to Bijou
  • Colorado Avenue closed from 30th Street to Nevada.
  • No access to or across Colorado Avenue.