Host city spotlight: Steamboat Springs

The 2019 Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation will feature its most challenging course yet with a mix of tough mountain and swift urban circuit routes through Steamboat Springs, Avon, Golden and Denver.

Now a women’s-only event, the pro road race will have something for every racer and fan, with high-altitude QOMs, breakneck sprints, six-miles of gravel, tight technical street racing and one of the most treacherous climbs in Colorado. The course will cover a total of 220 miles (354kms) with 13,667 feet (4,166m) of climbing while showcasing Colorado’s iconic terrain and bike-friendly towns.

Located some 150 miles northwest of Denver in the Yampa Valley, Steamboat Springs is a quaint mountain town that will host the opening stage of the tour. We spoke with Steamboat Springs’ Chief Executive Officer, Kara Stoller, on why Steamboat Springs is the perfect location for bike racers, fans and recreationalists alike.

Colorado Classic: The Colorado Classic isn’t the only cycling event coming to Steamboat Springs this August, with the inaugural Streamboat Gravel race taking place just a week prior. What makes Steamboat such a cycling destination?

Kara Stoller: We have incredible mountain biking. We also have amazing road biking and, as people come to know soon, the gravel riding here in Routt County is spectacular. And for everyone to be able to rest their heads here in Steamboat Springs is just icing on the cake for those who come here to bike.

If anyone is looking to take in some of the Colorado Classic, I would encourage them to come to Steamboat Springs, not only to watch the incredible professional female riders but also to get out on their own and experience Steamboat Springs on two wheels.

We have stunning roads and trails that you can access, as we say, "out of your back door". You don't need to drive to get to trailheads or to head out on a ride. And then, coming back into town, we have amazing food options and dining experiences along with so many other activities to take in.

It's really a place for the whole family and people with a variety of interests but especially for those who are interested in biking.

It seems like cycling events are following in the same footsteps of marathons if you will in terms of bringing tourism opportunities to a town.  How does a small town like Steamboat benefit from hosting events like this?

Having events like Steamboat Gravel and the Colorado classic definitely is an avenue for us to showcase the biking opportunities here in Steamboat. There’s a significant number out-of-town participants who haven’t been here before so it certainly is introducing Steamboat Springs to new guests who, we feel, will have a strong likelihood of returning. 

And with the event production side of things, we do bring in additional revenue and we hope that putting a spotlight on our community and our county will also entice people to come — maybe more so own the road once they see the footage [of the race] and of the great rides that we're putting together for them.

Do you ride yourself?

Yes, I mountain bike.

What’s your favorite local trail?
Just taking a ride on Emerald Mountain. There are just so many different trails up there, but heading up Lupine to the Quarry and down Little Moab and MPR is probably one of my favorite rides.

And where do you go for a post-ride beer?

I would probably say to just go down Yampa Avenue for post-ride beverages with friends. There are so many awesome restaurants and places to grab a beer with beautiful sunsets along the river. 

How about pre-ride coffee?

We have lots of options for that, but I’d say Big Iron coffee and Mountain Brew. 

And post-ride activities?

The Old Town Hotsprings are a great space to soak in some natural hot springs post ride. Also, in the summertime, I would encourage people to not miss our Steamboat Spring rodeo series every Friday and Saturday night.

To learn more about Steamboat Springs and plan your Colorado Classic Stage One visit , check out www.steamboatchamber.com. To ride stage one of the 2019 Colorado Classic in and around Steamboat Springs, you can download the Stava route here.