USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Stage 1 Telluride!

by Marla on August 21, 2012 · 20 comments

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Guess what rolled into my sweet town of Telluride?! The worlds top professional cyclists that’s who! 126 totally awesome athletes from 24 countries blasted through charming and fabulous Telluride. In case you don’t know the USA Pro Cycling Challenge is a 7 consecutive day road race that rolls through the highest peaks of Colorado.

The entire course (five stages) is 683 miles with more than 42,000 feet of vertical climbing.

Can you imagine how exhilarating this Tour de Colorado / “America’s Race” must be with all this fresh mountain air (albeit less oxygen) and the views?!


Telluride was the finish of Stage 1. This is the first time this race has been held here.

These guys rode a total of 125 miles before they visited us. They started in Durango at an elevation of 6512 feet and had quite the challenge ahead ~ there was a 30 mile climb that got them to Lizard Head Pass at 10,220 feet!

That is a breathy race my friends. (By the way, Lizard Head is where I collect wild mushrooms)

The racers were beckoned by the Telluride box canyon which gazes down at them from 13,000 feet. Above is a view from Ajax Peak into town.


We were all so proud to host them here. This little town was transformed and eagerly awaited their arrival.

If you are like me and don’t know too much about Pro Cycling check out this great Cycling 101.


The San Juan Mountains are some of the prettiest ones in the world. They are sort of like mountain super models. A great place to ride if you are a Pro Cyclist.

Look! Here they come ~ flying down Columbia Street!


I am working on all kinds of photography skills these days. As much as I adore shooting food (my favorite!) ~ travel, landscape and athletics thrill me too.

Since I am so used to objects that don’t move much, it is really tricky to capture athletes doing their thing.


My petite frame might not be made for sports photography though….check out these guys. Their cameras weigh about triple my body weight.


Did I mention that pro cyclists are very good looking?




They are fit, fabulous, lean and mean. Many of these guys have won stages in the Tour de France and plenty are Olympic medalists.

Below is the winner of Stage 1 Tyler Farrar.

You can congratulate him and his team on Twitter @Ride_Argyle and Facebook if you like. He rides for team Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda.

USA-Pro-Cycling-Challenge-Marla-Meridith-IMG_0108People were cheering and ringing bells on perches everywhere….

Beautiful homes.




The Sheridan Opera House.


And any other high perch they could find.

Remember, these folks don’t have a fear of heights. They live at virtually 10,000 feet and ski some of the toughest terrain out there.


I bet you are wondering what these athletes eat? I mean how many calories do you think get burned when you ride like the wind through the high altitude Rocky Mountains? Lots and lots.


My friend told me that her husband catered the dinner for these guys. They ordered lots of protein, some carbs and all of their sauce on the side.

I think they would have a hard time being a food blogger, they might need to eat their sauce on their meal.

Food-for-Athletes-Marla-Meridith on

Thankfully the recipes here on Family Fresh Cooking are great for athletes and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts!

Browse through my recipes and you will find most deliver high energy stats. Here are a few to start…

Look at this fabulous Mavic support crew. How come they don’t follow me around when I am on my mountain bike.

Pit Crew USA Pro Cyclist Challenge Marla Meridith

I could have used them the other day when I went flying off my bike. I am fine. But it sure would have been comforting to know that they could lend a hand.

Have you ever been to a pro cyclist competition? Will you be viewing any of this race?


Stages for the 2012 USA Pro Challenge include:

  • Stage 1: Monday, Aug. 20 – Durango to Telluride
  • Stage 2: Tuesday, Aug. 21 – Montrose to Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte
  • Stage 3: Wednesday, Aug. 22  – Gunnison to Aspen
  • Stage 4: Thursday, Aug. 23 – Aspen to Beaver Creek
  • Stage 5: Friday, Aug. 24 – Breckenridge to Colorado Springs
  • Stage 6: Saturday, Aug. 25 – Golden to Boulder
  • Stage 7: Sunday, Aug. 26 – Denver Individual Time Trial

You can learn more about the USA Pro Challenge on their website. Follow all the fun live on their Twitter feed @USAProChallenge and Facebook.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alyson August 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

I have a good friend who’s competing for Bissell Pro Cycling so cheer for them! Go Joseph Schmalz!!


2 Marla August 21, 2012 at 10:46 am

AWESOME!!! We will :)


3 Michelle @ Eat Move Balance August 21, 2012 at 10:57 am

Oh boy, my husband would LOVE to be there right now. Amazing pictures. I’ll be sharing this post with him later. :)


4 Maria August 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm

How fun! Great photos!


5 Lucy August 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

We watch the Tour de France every year – this year was obviously the best yet for me – with one and two in Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and then Mark Cavendish came in first for the final stage into Paris – go Team GB!!!
As always LOVE you pics and pov on life.


6 Marla August 21, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Thanks Lucy! Girl, that must have been so exciting seeing all those GB champions. It would be amazing to be in France for Le Tour!


7 TidyMom August 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

you pictures are always so stunning Marla!!
Looks like a lot of fun!………and WOW those are some heavy cameras!


8 Marla August 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Thanks Cheryl ~ could you imagine if we had to tote those things around 😉


9 Averie @ Averie Cooks August 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

What a bird’s eye view of the whole thing you had – awesome, Marla! And cannot imagine doing something SO physical at that altitude. Those guys are in ‘pretty good’ shape :)


10 Marla August 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Averie, yes – these boys gotta be in crazy great shape. This would be hard enough at sea level. The lack of oxygen certainly makes for a better challenge!


11 Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] August 21, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Fabulous photos, Marla!


12 Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies August 22, 2012 at 8:15 am

Your photos are stunning, even without those ginormous lenses! I was just telling my husband that I need to start practicing taking pictures of something other than food. :)


13 Marla August 22, 2012 at 9:14 am

Thanks Kiersten! It sure is fun and invigorating to get out there and shoot all sorts of subjects. Great practice and awesome for the portfolio!


14 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts August 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

How cool!! I didn’t know this was going on. I am in Fort Collins, so the closest they get to me is Boulder. Might have to take my 7 year old down there to check it out!


15 Marla August 22, 2012 at 4:31 pm

Erin, I hope you guys can get there!! Well worth your time. The thrill of it is amazing!


16 Sommer@ASpicyPerspective August 22, 2012 at 11:28 am

Marla, your actions shots look fantastic, but I know what you mean about shooting things that move. I have a hard time shooting my kids. :S

Great post!


17 Marla August 22, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Sommer ~ trying to keep up with my kids has definitely taught me a lot the past few years!!


18 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. August 22, 2012 at 11:41 am

awesome post and photos! I love cycling! I can only imagine how awesome it is in Telluride


19 Kristina Vanni August 22, 2012 at 10:54 pm

Wow, what a beautiful setting! Great photos and story!


20 Esi August 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

Cool shots!


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