Host city spotlight: Avon

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, organizers of the race announced today.

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 100 miles west of Denver in the Eagle River Valley, the Town of Avon is a Home Rule Municipality best known for being the gateway to the Beaver Creek ski resort.  A popular base for launching mountain adventures of all kinds, the Town of Avon is the perfect host for the second and Queen stage of the 2019 Colorado Classic, during which the peloton will complete seven exciting laps around town and before making a brutal ascent up the infamous Daybreak Ridge climb in Beaver Creek. This high-altitude climb will be the decisive moment of the Queen Stage, as the field fights to the top before bombing back to town on a technical descent through Bachelor Gulch. 

We spoke with Elizabeth Wood, Avon’s Communications Manager, on why Avon is the perfect location for bike racers, fans and recreationalists alike.

Colorado Classic: This certainly isn’t the first cycling event to come to and through the Town of Avon. What makes Avon such a destination for cycling events? 

Elizabeth Wood: Yes, we've done a number of cycling events in the past. The inaugural Haute Route North America for example. For two years in a row we hosted various stages of that and specifically the time trial. We have always been attracted to cycling events. They're a great fit for our community because we're very outdoorsy. We have replaced our transit department with a mobility department that specializes in not just public transportation but also making sure that there's paths and trails available; we have a bike share program here in town so Avon has really worked specifically in the last five to eight years on becoming a very bicycle friendly town. 

What kind of riding can you find in Avon?

Well we're not the biggest town in the world. So in terms of road bike riding it's more of a circuit similar to the stage that's going to be here. But then we also have really great mountain biking terrain on both the north and south ends of town. So on the north side of town we have what's called the West Avon Preserve, which is up in the Wildridge neighborhood and there's miles of trails that connect to different communities. And then on the south side of town there's Beaver Creek Resort which also has great mountain bike trails during the summertime.

And what about going out about the town of Avon itself. Where should one go to get a pre-ride coffee or that post-ride beer?

For coffee, I’d definitely recommend Loaded Joe’s. They have an amazing breakfast menu as well, especially if Avocado Toast is your thing. They make all sorts of beverages so you could even have an alcoholic pre-ride beverage if you’d like —their bar opens at the same time as their restaurant does. 

For a post-ride beer, Avon has a number of restaurants with really really great outdoor patios. Blue Plate is one of them and it’s right in Avon’s core. They have a great outdoor bar and lawn seating area as well which is nice and shady for those hot afternoons.

And what about post-ride or no-bike activities?

So the crown jewel of Avon is Nottingham Park. And Nottingham Park has tons of different amenities but one of the nicest is an enormous lake that has a high altitude beach, paddle board and paddle boat rentals there, and it's a perfect place for a family to spend the day. There is barbecue grills, people come with hammocks. So bring your beach toys, the beach itself gets dragged every morning and it's just absolutely beautiful.

We do a lot of open water swimming in the lake, too, so in addition to families who come and spend the day at the beach and hang out, we also have a lot of triathletes that come here to train because this is one of the only places in Colorado where you can practice open water swimming.

So what’s you best pitch if you will, as to why people should come and visit Avon to watch the Colorado classic there.

Avon is really considered the heart of the Vail Valley. So we have a lot of stuff going on here in town but one of the best things about Avon is its proximity to Vail, Beaver Creek, Edwards and the other neighboring communities. It's really right smack in the center of Eagle County, which makes it a great launching place for a long weekend or a getaway.

We have a great public transportation system and everything is really interconnected. So it's very easy to be here without a car. And it's very easy to get from one community to the next using your feet using a bike or using public transportation.

And what about the racing. What are you expecting is going to happen in the Avon stage?

We are so excited to host stage two, and we're anticipating that it’s going to be a very exciting one. The racers are going to do seven laps around this five-mile course, which is flat so we're thinking that those laps are going to happen very very quickly. There's a lot of technical riding that needs to happen in those laps, too. Avon is known for its roundabouts, so riders are going to be going through two roundabouts on each lap. And then we'll sort of bid them adieu as they go up for that last lap up Beaver Creek, and then they are gonna be absolutely flying when they come back down the hill into town to finish the race. So we're going to have a really really exciting spectating for the flat portion of the race as well as that last lap when they're coming back into Avon.

To learn more about the Town of Avon and plan your Colorado Classic Stage Two visit , check out www.avon.org. To ride stage two of the 2019 Colorado Classic in and around Avon, you can download the Stava route here.