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Aug 22, 2011 7:43 PM by Andy Koen

Racing through town: community impact of USA Pro Cycling Challenge

An event the size of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge impacts the entire community from schools to businesses, even getting around town. The final leg of the Prologue went right down Colorado Avenue which put extra cars on streets not used to having them.

A great example was West Pikes Peak Avenue. The detour traffic put extra cars on the street right in front of West Elementary and Middle School.

Principal Terry Martinez says he made special arrangements with parents to pick up children on Bijou to avoid all of the extra traffic.

In fact, the changes in bus routes and extra security cost district roughly $3,000. That said, Martinez said it made for an unforgetable afternoon recess.

"The morning was normal and we kept it rolling and then this afternoon they got an opportunity to come over for about a half hour and at that point they got to see about 15 riders go by."

With Colorado Avenue closed, businesses owners say that foot traffic was slower. Nevertheless, Lyn Stegiel of the Pyramide Boutique says she's happy to have the course pass through because it makes her neighborhood more visible to shopper.

"Sometimes on these events we'll get a lot of people, and sometimes we wont get as many, but I think it's just the whole feeling of the event that counts," Stegiel said.

Cycling fans are thrilled to have such an up close seat to a professional sporting event in their town.

"We love cycling, we're cyclists, we participate in cycling in the community," said David Kriegshauser. "So, this is really, really super cool to have this in Colorado Springs."

Dennis Dosch and his friends set up a tent brought a cooler with drinks and snacks to the curb near Pikes Peak and Ridge Road.

"The bikers are all pushing hard, they come around the corner and they're going up the hill here," Dosch said. "They're some of the worlds best, so you can't beat that."

The race is perhaps the biggest event in cycling to ever come to Colorado. It's expected to draw hundreds of thousands of spectators along the course over the next five days. The race teams will be leaving the Springs soon. Stage 1 begins at 11:45 a.m. in Salida on Tuesday.

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