Youth bike race rolls into Rifle Saturday
The USA Pro Challenge Youth Criterium rolls into Rifle Saturday, resulting in road closures for most of the day.
The junior bike races will run down East and Whiteriver avenues between Ninth and Fourth streets between 12:30 and 7 p.m. Those roads will be closed during that time and cars will have to be off the street.
The route was chosen in consultation with the city and is designed to minimize traffic disruption for residents, said Planning Director Nathan Lindquist. The race will not impact traffic on Railroad Avenue.
The city contacted residents along the route and so far only received feedback from one household hosting a birthday party that day, Lindquist told council last Wednesday.
Race organizers are working with the family to try and accommodate party attendees during the race, said John Leybourne, race representative and a planner for Carbondale.
“Safety is of our foremost and utmost importance for us,” he said.
Parking will be available at the Garfield Re-2 administration building at the corner of Whiteriver Avenue and Ninth Street during the race, according to Lindquist.
In the past, the event was hosted in Silt around Memorial Day weekend, but the race has outgrown the town, and organizers determined that hosting the race in May was negatively impacting turnout, Leybourne said. Last year the event brought in 400 people, with one racer coming from Nicaragua and another from Colombia.
Organizers hope to draw at least 200 racers this year, Leybourne said. That number could easily double when including family members and others traveling with racers, he added.
In response to feedback from local businesses, signs will be up during the event informing people that businesses are still open during the race.
The event will likely have a positive impact on the local economy, with the newly opened Whistle Pig Coffee Stop and Cafe catering the meals, Leybourne said. While the host hotel is located in Silt, that hotel usually fills up quickly, leading to some room rentals in Rifle. If the city remains a fixture in the race going forward, organizers would like to host a post-race party for the racers at the New Ute Events Center, Leybourne said.
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The city of Rifle plans to allocate grant funding for improvements to Railroad Avenue and Third Street.