Twisted Spoke has a cycling journalist on site 24/7 in Colorado gathering intel on the August premier of the Quiznos Pro Challenge, the mother of all Sandwich Cycling events.
Actually it’s just Sam Parker, a long time friend, but he’s been closely involved with the pro race seen in Colorado for thirty years. Here’s his latest thoughts so take it away Sam….
The biggest positive news relates to some key driving personnel and financial support, long term, for the Quiznos race but there’s also some negative news with the National Park Service decision on use of the Colorado National Monument for future editions.
Shawn Hunter, a sports executive who had a hand in helping start the Tour of California, has been named co-chairman position of the race. People seem genuinely excited about him coming on board not only for what he brings to the table for experience, but also for direction he is providing recently (like negotiating TV coverage).
He joins Rick Schaden in the other co-chair position. Schaden, along with his brother Richard, founders of Consumer Capital Partners in Denver, also have a long term majority share in Quiznos. The biggest benefit here is that the two Schaden brothers committed 10 million dollars in investment over an extended period of time in order to sustain this event.
I have seen attempts to start smaller repeat 2-3 day stage races in Colorado (using some of the current host towns) come and go because they were not backed well and could not remain viable from year to year. This commitment means the race should be financially stable for a number of years to come. Very good news.
The most disappointing news comes from the recent confirmation by National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis of decisions handed down by Park Service Supervisor Joan Anzelmo last December, to disallow use of the Colorado National Monument.
You will remember from editions of the Coors International Bicycle Classic that the “Tour of the Moon” stage (also featured in the movie American Flyers with Kevin Costner and Rae Dawn Chong) which ran through the Park in the 80’s was a spectacular setting for a race.
When I worked for the production crew for the Coor’s Classic, the Tour of the Moon stage was fully supported by the town of Grand Junction. They made the entire entourage of competitors and race staff feel so welcome. They totally owned that stage. It was like the town held the Tour of the Moon stage, and the Coor’s Classic just happened to be passing by with competitors. It was terrific.
In spite of efforts by both Democrat and Republican politicians, including Rep. Scott Tipton, US Senator Mark Udall, and Governor John Hickenlooper, Anzelmo’s decision was upheld by Jarvis. Paraphrasing a recent article by Scott Streater in the New York Times, the National Park Service said that “closing the park to accommodate a commercial bike race is not proper use of the National Monument”.
The National Park Service cited revisions made to policies in 2006 which stated that they “should not permit staging of an event in an area open to the public, or closure of an area open to the public, if the event awards participants prizes of more than a nominal value.”
These same revisions were cited when the Tour of California inquired about using roads in Yosemite National Park a few years ago. In the December decision, Anzelmo initially wrote that the event would be “disrupting natural and cultural resources…flight patterns and nesting of birds of prey including Golden Eagles, and Peregrine Falcons…and Desert Bighorn Sheep mating behavior.”
Thanks Sam. There you have it. Quiznos is fully funded for future editions but there will be no bike racing-related interruptions of the mating behavior of bighorn sheep.