By Bill Plock
Colorado is the most dominating and active cycling state in the Country. How do we know that?
Do we need to know the thermometer reads 95 degrees to know it’s hot? Do we need to know a cyclist who is cranking out 375 watts to climb Lookout is twice as fast as we are to know they are fast? No, right? We just know that we feel it. Certain things just “pass the eyeball test,” as they say.
It seems pretty obvious when we pass pelotons of cyclists covered in layers of high tech fabrics dodging small amounts of snow and gravel that Colorado has lots of serious cyclists… heck, maybe not even serious – just lots of enthusiasts. And of course not only cyclists, but triathletes and runners, hikers and skiers, climbers and… the list of activities Coloradans enjoy on a regular basis is long.
But some folks like data. We want proof that what we see is true. There are so many ways to prove that Colorado loves cyclists and cyclists love Colorado!
Let’s start at the front of the Peloton with Governor Hickenlooper and his pledge to spend $100 million on cycling infrastructure and programs. “Biking can be such a positive force, and I think being the best biking state is going to fuel economic growth and tourism. It’s going to lead us toward a cleaner environment, and it’s going to help us be the healthiest state in America,” Hickenlooper said in Las Vegas at Interbike, the largest annual bike trade event in North America.
If we keep looking at what makes the cycling peloton so fast in Colorado, we need to look at the fuel, that being the money residents invest in their passion. According Jim Castagneri, Geographer with the U.S. Census Bureau and avid Colorado cyclist, Coloradans spend more money per capita than in any other state. In the last Economic Census that was tabulated in 2007 (a new one should be released shortly) Coloradans spent $2,685 per 100,000 people. Next was Oregon with $2,004. That is a huge difference.
Take a look at the national hot spots of resident cyclists as compiled by Castagneri and his team. There are a lot of bigger cities and regions that barely warm the map.
And it’s clear that the economic side of spinning the numbers to support the eyeball test corresponds to results in races and events.
More Coloradans per capita are registered with USAT and USAC than any other state. In national events we clean up. At the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2015, Colorado was represented by 68 athletes. Only California had more. At the recent Cyclocross National Champions in North Carolina, Coloradans won twice as many medals as any other state represented. Local Boulder Cycle Sport/YogaGlo cyclocross team is sending three members to World Championships in Belgium later this month (Crystal Anthony, Amanda Miller and Grant Ellwood). These are just a few examples of the dominant Coloradans.
Cycling permeates all ages and levels of athletes and helps motivate us all. We support our own, and in a way have incubated a culture that is unique and seeks a ride no matter the weather. We love to gather and share and compete.
Together, 303cycling and 303Triathlon are proud media sponsors of the upcoming Primal Colorado Bike Expo on May 13-14th at Sports Authority Field where all this wonderful camaraderie will be seen and felt in person as a way to kick off the summer riding and racing season. Stay tuned for more details on that event!