Rifle to host summer youth bike race | PostIndependent.com
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Rifle to host summer youth bike race

Hundreds of young bicycle racers and their families will descend on Rifle next summer for the Colorado Mini Classic, a national youth bike race for ages 10-22, on the morning of Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, 2014.

The event will require the closure of East and White River Avenues between Fourth and Ninth Streets from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on that day. Rifle City Council unanimously approved the closure.

The Colorado Mini Classic “criterion race” (a type of bike race involving a short loop on city streets) had been held on streets in Silt for the past several years, wrote Rifle Planning Director Nathan Lindquist in a memo to the council. The race would bring 150 to 200 youth riders and their families from multiple states to Rifle, he added.



The Golden-based Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado organizes the annual event, based on the Red Zinger Mini Classics of the 1980s, which offered junior racing in conjunction with the Red Zinger and Coors Classic bicycle races.

“As our event has grown, we have simply outgrown the capacity of Silt’s roads and infrastructure to host two of our stages. Our goal is to relocate both the time trial and criterium in 2014, and the Rifle area is our first choice … The setting for this race is absolutely perfect – the challenging terrain, great roads, and scenic beauty of the Colorado River Valley makes this an event that is on the radar for juniors and their families nationwide. We want to share this exceptional place with the country’s cycling community.”
Chris McGee, executive director
Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado

Executive Director Chris McGee wrote in a letter to the city that Silt had been “a fantastic host for the races in the last three years, and we have been very proud of our positive impact on the community.”



“As our event has grown, we have simply outgrown the capacity of Silt’s roads and infrastructure to host two of our stages,” McGee continued. “Our goal is to relocate both the time trial and criterium in 2014, and the Rifle area is our first choice.”

The time trial is proposed to use the Colorado River Road and a loop around the Garfield County Regional Airport, he added.

During the race in Rifle, residents on the closed streets will have vehicle access to their homes approximately every 30 minutes, Lindquist noted, and will be able to get to and from their homes by foot throughout the event. Vehicles will not be permitted to park on-street during the race, he added. Off-site parking for residents and visitors will be identified in a special event permit, Lindquist said.

Rifle Police Chief John Dyer said he had talked to Silt Police Chief Levy Burris about that town’s experience. Dyer said he was told the race was well-managed and organized, with minimum disruption for residents or town staff.

McGee said race organizers work with A1 Traffic Control for signage and barricade needs.

Race brings crowds to town’s hotels, restaurants

Last year, the race drew 135 athletes (a 33 percent increase from the previous year) from 12 states and two other countries, making the Mini Classic the Rocky Mountain region’s premier development bicycle race, second only to the USA Cycling National Championships in terms of participation at a development-only event, McGee claimed.

McGee wrote that the Colorado Mini Classic was Silt’s largest event and revenue-generator each year for that community’s hotels and restaurants.

In 2013, the event brought approximately 400 people to Silt for two nights’ lodging, three days of eating and “countless filled gas tanks,” McGee stated. The host hotel in 2014 will remain the Holiday Inn Express in Silt, and McGee said Rifle lodging options will be promoted as the next alternatives. Last year, McGee said, the Holiday Inn Express was sold out, and approximately 40 rooms were booked in neighboring hotels.

He also claimed the Miner’s Claim in Silt had their busiest weekend of the year during the Mini Classic. McGee said organizers would promote Rifle restaurants for this year’s event and hope to host a movie night in Rifle during the race, along with an awards ceremony.

“Our 2014 goal is to provide 200 athletes from more than 15 states with an exceptional Colorado racing experience,” McGee wrote. “It is our intention to promote the City of Rifle and the Rifle area as an integral part of the 2014 Colorado Mini Classic. The setting for this race is absolutely perfect – the challenging terrain, great roads, and scenic beauty of the Colorado River Valley makes this an event that is on the radar for juniors and their families nationwide. We want to share this exceptional place with the country’s cycling community.”


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