U.S. Senator, Colorado Governor Lobby National Park Service To Allow Bike Race Through Colorado National Monument
National Park Service officials are being lobbied by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper to allow a professional bike race to zoom through Colorado National Monument.
On Monday the two sent a letter to the Park Service's Intermountain regional director, John Wessels, asking him to sit down to discuss allowing a stage of the 2012 Quiznos Pro Challenge race to go through the national monument during the August cycling event's week-long competition.
An initial proposal from a group hoping to lure the bike ride to the Grand Junction area called for a three-lap loop of the race through the monument. It was turned down by Superintendent Joan Anzelmo, who cited the logistics involved, which included closing Rim Rock Drive through the park for 12 hours, feed zones, support vehicles, and overheard air support.
“I denied the permit, but I offered the option of a ceremonial lap without all the race support vehicles and aircraft, and the local committee felt they could not make that viable with the race," Superintendent Anzelmo said Tuesday.
While the local committee, which the superintendent said is planning to bid for a stage of the 2012 race, came back with a somewhat scaled-down approach, one that would entail two, instead of three, laps of the monument, she said it still would have impacts on the monument's normal operations during the busiest time of year.
While the Colorado Monument last summer did host a portion of the Denver Post Ride the Rockies bike tour, Superintendent Anzelmo pointed out that there are significant differences between a non-competitive citizens ride and a professional bike race.