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UPCC News Update, 12/5/2011

December 5, 2011

“‘Pagosa Springs is offering Wolf Creek Pass​ as a mountaintop finish to the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge,’ said Morgan Murri, chairman of the town’s local organizing committee, and Mt. Evans is also under consideration.” The Denver Post article including this quote also listed 24 cities who bid to host the USA Pro Cycling Challenge (UPCC) in 2012. Originally news accounts mentioned 27 cities had applied; likely the difference is due to initially counting cities that submitted joint proposals, such as Telluride and its ski resort sister, The Town of Mountain Village, as two bids instead of one.

The same Denver Post piece alluded to how, even with the state’s plethora of ski resorts, not many offer a mountain-top finish. The suggested mountain-top finish, however, had to be Wolf Creek Pass as in the point at the top of the Continental Divide on Highway 160. The 1.8 mile stretch of road to the Wolf Creek Ski base area from Highway 160 is not up; mainly, it descends.

Wolf Creek Pass (via theyeagergroup.com)

The distance from downtown Pagosa Springs to the intersection of Highway 160 and County Road 391 which ends at the Wolf Creek ski area is about 23 miles. The run-up to the last six miles is pretty shallow, but those six miles include pitches of what appears to be 8 % to 11% (a glitch in MapMyRide prevents tracing the road from town to the pass fully).

If the organizers are considering Wolf Creek Pass, this brings into question the validity of the eleven “leaked” host cities, a list that excluded towns within striking distance of Wolf Creek Pass over road surfaces. A Durango to Wolf Creek Pass route is feasible but would seem to remove Telluride from the route and add a long transfer if Ouray is the next start town. One option would be to run an uphill about 3 km prologue as day one of the race from the base of the ski resort up to Highway 160.

There’ll be lots of time to speculate on the route. According to the Denver Post’s John Henderson, the host cities will be announced in the third week of December. The actual route, however, will materialize at a later date.

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