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USA Pro Challenge host city, Telluride: facts and fables

February 14, 2012

Road into Telluride (photo by Mary Topping)

On August 20th Stage 1 of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge ends in Telluride, a town possibly named after tellurium, an element associated with gold. The town beckons race spectators with its mélange of hippy vibe, outdoor nirvana, and understated opulence.

Hippy ambiance

Telluride Free Box

On a corner of main street, in about the middle of the 12 block long town, a row of bins called “The Free Box” lines the side of a building. Shoes, shirts, and other used soft goods wait for new owners to take them away and shower them with love.

Early race fans can enjoy the annual Shroomfest which will take place in Telluride from August 16th to 19th. Activities still to be confirmed include mushroom identification and exhibits, educational lectures, films, cooking workshops, and a parade on August 18th. Mushroom shaped hats are de rigueur for the parade; several Tour de France polka-dot hats sewn together might pass for something fungi-like.

A free year-round gondola transports people from Telluride up to Mountain Village and the ski area. According to, all of the electricity that runs the gondola originates from wind power generated along the Colorado/Wyoming border. A hiking trail underneath the gondola offers a work-out alternative for visiting Mountain Village.

Telluride provides puppy parking stations, hitching posts with loops for securing a dog’s leash.

Natural places

A rock formation called “Lizard Head” rises on the west side of Colorado Highway 145 between Durango and Telluride. While the head formation itself measures only about 400 feet tall, the elevation at the top is 13,113 feet. The unstable quality of the Lizard Head rock discourages climbers, but hikers can approach the formation by two trails accessed from Highway 145. Sheep ranchers have grazed sheep in the meadows that slope up to the rock formation.

A 1.2 mile hike on a dirt road that begins at the end of Telluride’s main street leads uphill to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, a 365 foot long waterfall. When frozen in the winter, some call the falls “the most difficult waterfall ice climb in North America.”

Bridal Veil Falls in Telluride (photo by Mary Topping)

Celebrity hide-out

Those “in the know” say Telluride has replaced the allure of Aspen for celebrities who just want to melt into the scene. Reported celebrity sightings include Oprah, Ralph Lauren, Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, and Jerry Seinfeld.

As of September 2011, the median home cost in Telluride is $683,000.

Males make up 55% of Telluride’s 2,400 inhabitants (2009 data), who in total number about one-half of the town’s largest population when mining activity flourished nearby.

Does the fact that Butch Cassidy (born Robert Leroy Parker) committed his first bank robbery in town in 1889 attract more men to Telluride, a town, however refined, that might prefer to be called rugged like the mountains that surround it?


See also:

Facts and fables about Durango, CO

Facts and fables about Montrose, CO

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Mount / Crested Butte: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Gunnison: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Aspen: facts and fables

USA Pro Cycling Challenge host city, Beaver Creek: facts and fables

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