3 Days of Parker Race Week: What happened?
303 Media takes a look at a fast developing story regarding the recent cancellation of the new Parker weekend of cycling. Back in the early fall of 2015 the cycling community heard rumors of a brand new weekend of racing down south. Boulderites where shocked – “what do you mean outside the bubble?,” while those south of I-70 rejoiced.
On Nov 15th at the BRAC road promoters meeting the rumors were confirmed. BRAC had moved its state championship time-trial, traditionally held in late June, to pave the way for a new 3-day cycling race.
Over the winter the details filtered out of the rumor mill like a slow drip espresso. We heard about a new time-trial course, then a road race course on Hess Rd. At the peak of ski season the rumor mill started to churn again with word of a downtown criterium for Sunday to cap off the event weekend. That’s when news went underground.
303 learned from BRAC President Doug Gordon that the original race co-organizer, John Haley, had been deployed to Iraq, and Haley asked Gordon to take over the race. The original concept of a time trial Friday June 17, a circuit Road Race on Hess Road Saturday, June 18, and then a Criterium on Sunday June 19 at the Pace Center, was now in play. As the management shifted, some potentially troublesome race logistics appeared, according to Gordon, such as:
– Timing – with the race weekend coinciding with Father’s Day, other weekend events cropped up, such a Farmers market just west of the race course, that would tax traffic control.
– Traffic – the TT course on Crowfoot Valley Friday afternoon could be poor timing with weekend traffic.
– Profit – the Sunday crit, to be held at the Pace Arts Center in Parker, “was going to be really, really difficult to do cost-wise,” according to Gordon. “The amount of traffic furniture rental was going to be huge, and the extra insurance for the beer garden – which UCI doesn’t cover – was going to be an extra $800… we were going to lose money on the crit.”
– Construction – Gordon came to terms with losing money on the crit, as long as the TT and road race were profitable. But then the news of a water line project surfaced, threatening the road race.
At first Gordon cancelled the crit, and reduced the race weekend to two days, with the road race on Saturday and the TT on Sunday. But then the uncertainties of the road race course brought down the house of cards. Gordon says, “The road race was the crown jewel of the weekend, and without that it just wasn’t feasible.”
“I paid for the traffic plans, I had the permit in on time. Altogether we have about 50-75 man hours put into the creation of this race. But in the end we were told specifically by the county that we would unequivocally be denied access to Ridgegate – the road race route – and I just really felt it would be damaging to the relationships to pursue it,” Gordon says.
“It became a political thing,” says Gordon. “We waited and waited to hear from the water department on the dates of the construction, but finally I had to give up and say, we’re not going to do it.” In the end it was learned the water line project will not take place until August, but by then Gordon had already pulled the plug.
This story continues to evolve as new details are emerging regarding new events taking place on the old 3 days of Parker weekend. According to Gordon, Without Limits will be taking over the race weekend, at the invitation of the city of Parker.
Gordon says, “So Without Limits gets to benefit from all the work we’ve done and the cash we’ve spent. I could be bitter. But in the end more racing in Colorado is a good thing, at the end of the day. We spent an inordinate amount of time and plenty of resources on this project, and I’m really disappointed that we couldn’t make this event what we wanted. But I’m also really happy that some sort of race is happening, and pleased that somebody else can build on the work that was done.”
Gordon also adds, “Next year, when John Haley is back from Iraq, I’m absolutely convinced we can make this a 3-day event in Parker in the same spirit.”