The USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Stage 2

Montrose to Crested Butte

Aug 16, 2012
Outside Magazine
The Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway   

This stage finishes with the four-minute-long climb where Levi Leipheimer laid the foundation for his victory last year. Along the way, the racers will climb Blue Mesa and pass through downtown Crested Butte. Expect an early breakaway from Cerro Summit. While the crowds shuffle between Telluride and Montrose, you'll be staying in the top-secret town of Ouray.

WHERE TO STAY: Rather than spending the night in Telluride after Stage 1, take the Million Dollar Highway to Ouray, Colorado, America’s little Switzerland (be prepared for incredible views and narrow lanes). Spend the night at the Best Western or under the stars at the Amphitheater Campground at an elevation of 8,400 feet. You'll be surrounded by the popular Upper Cascade Falls, Baby Bath Tubs, and Chief Ouray Mine trails.

WHAT TO DO After you arrive, head over to the Historic Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa. Indulge in the private outdoor spa, vapor cave with 108-degree soaking tub, and outdoor hot spring-fed pool. Everyone from Travel & Leisure to National Geographic Traveler has visited, and so should you. Next morning, you'll need to head to the Blue Mesa Reservoir before the road closures take effect, so plan on an early day. Your visit in Ouray will be short, but once at the reservoir, take a stab at fishing or horseback riding.

WHERE TO EAT: The Ouray Brewery offers the only roof-top dining in town, but don’t miss out on the Monte Alta Dining Room & Saloon for the beer, dessert, and vibe.

HOW TO WATCH THE RACE: Get up fairly early and head over to the Blue Mesa Reservoir before the riders take-off.

RACE DAY SCHEDULE: The race begins at 11:25 a.m. and riders should reach the reservoir between 12:43 and 1:07 p.m.