The USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Stage 5

Breckenridge to Colorado Springs

Aug 16, 2012
Outside Magazine
Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake   

The finish in Colorado Springs is fit for a sprinter. While the day begins with a 10-mile climb up Hoosier Pass, it’s mostly level after that, covering 117.9 miles total. A small breakaway could steal the show, but expect the sprinters to show their heads after all of the climbing. Instead of staying in Beaver Creek after the finish or heading to Breckenridge, make the move to Vail and get ready for an action-packed morning.

WHERE TO STAY: Stay at the Sitzmark Lodge in Vail because it’s not worth the drive into Breckenridge after the finish on day four, and staying in Beaver Creek puts you further away from the far-superior food and lodging options Vail has to offer. The Sitzmark is the best value in Vail proper, but it’s no Motel 6. If you want to camp, the Gore Creek Campground is a great option near town.

WHAT TO DO: You won’t have much time in Vail in the morning, so maximize it by getting some delicious food and taking the gondola up the mountain for breathtaking views. If you have your bike, a ride up the car-free Vail Pass will take you on the same roads the race covered in 2011—time yourself against the likes of Cadel Evans and Greg Lemond. And if you’re ready for an early and action-packed morning, bang out the quick hike to Hanging Lake, one of the most spectacular lakes you'll ever visit (be sure to protect the site by staying out of the water and off the logs); stop by the country's largest hot spring pool in Glenwood Springs. Once you’re in Colorado Springs, make it to the Garden of the Gods to check out the famous rock formations.

WHERE TO EAT: Coffee at Yeti’s Grind. Don’t get fooled by the chains, Yeti’s Grind is all-local and features some of the best cappuccinos in the state. Also, their scones are some of the most buttery and delicious treats you’ll find, not just in Vail but anywhere (blueberry is best). You won’t have time for lunch in Vail; you’ll be eating in Colorado Springs at La Baguette in the part of town know as Old Colorado City.

HOW TO WATCH THE RACE: After coffee and some outdoor activities in Vail, head to Colorado Springs by way of I-70 E and I-25 S before noon—leave earlier if you want more time for lunch in Colorado Springs.

RACE DAY SCHEDULE: Racing begins at 10:50 a.m. and should be over at 3:50 p.m.

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