EDITORíS DESK: Cycling storm troopers? Oh, wait
Obviously, Aug. 10 won't be the end of the world. It's just one day that the Spandex Horde will hold the Westside captive to its collective will.
Just one day that we car-driving peasants huddle helplessly in our homes, cut off from the world as synchronized teams of uniformed cyclists - their color-matched helmets gleaming in the sun - perform repeated reconnaissance laps of our neighborhoods, probing our catalytic-converter defenses before the Nonmotorized Empire shock troops arrive and begin hauling multiple vehicle owners off to death camps.
Oh, wait, sorry. I'm mixing up the Colorado Classic with "Rogue 1."
Nonetheless, there's still plenty to criticize about the planning of this race, whose logistics were sorted out months ago, in private meetings of bicycle capitalists and sports marketers, with no one in the room to raise a hand and say, "Hey, y'all, you do know that people live along these streets, right?"
I've got to hand it to Welling Clark, who's been volunteering time to Westside causes for 20-odd years (even while holding down a demanding day job). Once he got wind of what the cycling world had in store for us, he fired off e-mails hither and yon, demanding answers on the lack of public accountability, not to mention the colossal disinterest in how major bicycling events affect the Westside (to wit, they use our streets but situate all the profitable race festivities downtown).
In point of fact, the same kind of scenario has unfolded nearly every year going back to 2011, when the Pro Challenge cycling entrepreneurs fell in love with the Garden of the Gods, the Westside and the downtown and drew up race routes playing to that scenery and architectural charm. And, by the time most of you read this, the June 30 Mavic Haute bike race will have used a similar course design, albeit for just one lap with mostly rolling closures - not eight, like the Classic, with its nine-hour shutdowns of numerous streets, including Colorado Avenue, and 17 hours for the Garden of the Gods. Good luck to any tourists here that day.
I'm not looking for a medal or anything, but I've previously asked questions like Welling's and heard answers along the lines of, well, it'll be a great race, why not enjoy it; or if merchants want to hold an event while it's going on, we'll help publicize it; or if you have an emergency, we have an app for that. And the answers coming back this time are not that different.
Let's be clear. It's not as if cyclists should not be allowed to hold street races. The region's very own Nonmotorized Plan studies have found that .5 percent of residents in Park, Teller and El Paso counties bike to work and as many as 1 percent use bicycles for "transportation trips."
That means 1 in 100, and there are 365 days in a year. So is the spandex crowd asking too much for one day a year of Bicycle Heaven (or even two) while the rest of us are in lockdown?
At the very least, going forward, as Clark has urged, the bike race organizers need to begin sharing their meeting room early on with Westside business and residential leaders so as to hear perspectives and priorities other than sporting excitement and promotional dollars.
What kinds of perspectives and priorities? Well for starters, they could do something about the peloton riders looking like Rogue 1 storm troopers. But maybe that's just me.