Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Yesterday the Vail Valley Foundation made an incredibly difficult decision to discontinue our work on bringing a major cycling event back to the valley. The Colorado Stage, so well supported here in our community and among the broader cycling community, could not gather enough support from the corporate world to allow us to complete our mission of bringing pro cycling back to Colorado.
To know how difficult it was for us to cancel this event, you would first need to know the level of compassion and love the Foundation’s staff and board of directors have for this sport. Our staff includes some of the valley’s most dedicated cyclists, and our board has long envisioned a great road cycling event should take place here—a place that is so passionate about the sport.
I cannot offer you enough apologies. I cannot explain in enough words the sadness we all feel in losing an event we have longed to produce. Mostly, I cannot thank you all enough for the way you each embraced the concept of this event, the way you rallied around the challenges it would bring and the way you anticipated seeing the great cyclists of the world take on your own back-roads.
Special thanks go out to those who have labored hard and loved long this event. To the towns of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Leadville, Alma, Buena Vista and Minturn, thank you for all you have done. To the Colorado State Patrol, words cannot express our deep thanks for your commitment to this endeavor. To the volunteers who had begun the work, to S.O.S. for their help, to the police departments and public works groups of Vail and Beaver Creek, you are unequaled in your commitment. To our partners USA Cycling, thank you for believing in us before, and believing in us still.
Please accept my deepest regrets on behalf of the Foundation and rest assured that if we could have done it, we would have. Please know that when the time and conditions are right, we hope to be able to say, “mission accomplished.”
President, Vail Valley Foundation
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
VVF TO CANCEL INAUGURAL COLORADO STAGE INTERNATIONAL CYCLE CLASSIC
VAIL, Colorado—In a move that’s unprecedented for the Vail Valley Foundation, the organization has been forced to pull the plug on the inaugural Colorado Stage International Cycle Classic road bike race scheduled for August 22-24, 2008.
“When requesting the event be placed on the UCI [Union Cycliste Internationale] calendar, we recognized the challenges facing us in finding enough sponsorship support,” explained Ceil Folz, President of the Vail Valley Foundation. “The declining economic picture has made these efforts increasingly difficult, and the final straw came last week when we were not able to close a deal with a presenting sponsor.”
An event the magnitude of the Colorado Stage requires a budget of nearly $2 million, says Folz. While that budget has been pared back significantly, the remaining shortfall was too large for the Vail Valley Foundation to absorb.
“Having to cancel the Colorado Stage is incredibly disappointing,” Folz continued, “because so many people have worked so hard to try and make it a reality. I know that a tremendous amount of interest has been generated in bringing major international road cycling back to Colorado, but we felt that delaying our decision any later would be unfair to the teams and sponsors that have already committed. A major bike race requires major corporate partners, and enough of those were just not in place.”
Support from the community has been enormous, led by the Town of Vail and the Beaver Creek Resort Company. Vail’s Mayor, Dick Cleveland released a statement Monday evening saying, “We’re obviously disappointed the event won’t happen here this summer as planned, but we’re optimistic we’ll have the opportunity to host the races in Vail when the time is right. The Vail Valley Foundation is an extraordinary partner of the Vail community and we commend the Foundation’s board and staff for the multitude of work that has taken place thus far to ensure the Colorado Stage would have been an event to remember. We’re hoping the legwork and coordination will be put to good use in the future, not only for this event, but for other world class activities we’ve come to expect from the Foundation and its longstanding reputation for excellence.”
John Garnsey, Executive Vice President of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division added, “We understand and support the Vail Valley Foundation’s decision to not move forward with the Colorado Stage bike race. For 27 years, the Foundation has produced international-caliber events here in the Vail Valley, and we’re sure that when the time is right, our community will once again turn to the Foundation to lead the way.”
The Colorado Stage, a three-stage cycling race, was scheduled to feature a 135-mile road race from Breckenridge to Beaver Creek, a 72-mile circuit race in and around Vail Village and a 10-mile individual time trial from Vail Village to the East Vail cul de sac.
“I am confident that our team did all they could to make this dream a reality, and we’re so thankful to our partners who have committed and worked so hard up to this point. We are deeply disappointed to have had to make this decision, and we thank the cycling community for its understanding,” Folz concluded. “We believe in the sport of cycling, but feel the conditions were not right for it to be successful here at this time. We will continue to work with USA Cycling and UCI to determine the best methods and strategies to once again bring professional cycling back to the Vail Valley and Colorado.”
Sean Petty, CEO of USA Cycling echoed Folz’s sentiments, “I am hopeful and confident that we will have a major international cycling event in Vail in the very near future. We are grateful for all VVF has done over the years for cycling in the United States and worldwide.”
The Vail Valley Foundation is non-profit organization with a mission to enhance and sustain the spirit of the Vail Valley by providing leadership in educational, athletic and cultural endeavors. The organization produces the Birds of Prey world cup ski races, the Honda Session snowboard invitational, the American Ski Classic, the Vail International Dance Festival, as well as year-round free concert series. The Foundation is the managing organization of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater and the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek, in addition to funding several educational initiatives for Eagle County students. For more information on all Vail Valley Foundation events, visit vvf.org.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
It was great seeing our friends at the Snowboard Outreach Society and VailVelo this AM at many of the stations. SOS is a nonprofit organization that builds character skills for underserved youth that is helping us coordinate the Divide Ride Citizens Ride at the Colorado Stage (we also work with them on the Honda Session and many other local events). VailVelo is a club/forum/guide to cycling from Vail to Gypsum. They are a great local cycling resource and a wealth of information for anyone looking to cycle in the area.
SOS reminded us that Friday is actually the early registration deadline for the annual Colorado-Eagle River Ride. After Friday, the registration fee goes from $85 to $95. Last year they had 950 riders with all proceeds going to support SOS. The River Ride takes place on July 26 and will be another opportunity for anyone to register for the Divide Ride at the Colorado Stage.
To register for the River Ride CLICK HERE.
To register for the Divide Ride CLICK HERE... or, you can also register in-person at the River Ride.
Check out some photos from Bike To Work Day in Avon:
Local cyclists at the Avon aid station. Breakfast, coffee, SWAG and goodies for everyone!
A Colorado Stage Innagural Sticker sighting!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Being a first-year event, obviously we have nothing. With our other events like the Honda Session and Birds of Prey Race Week the solution is typically pretty easy. Find photos and videos from previous years and use them anywhere we can. But with the Stage, it has not been that simple in year one.
Initially we decided we would just upload a bunch of beautiful mountain imagery from along the race routes. Our thinking was that relevant scenic imagery would convey the natural beauty of Colorado and the Vail Valley. This sounded great on paper until we saw what it started to look like. We had a site that looked like any other mountain destination site full of dramatic mountain images that failed miserably to promote the excitement and action of professional cycling.
We finally purchased stock cycling and peloton images to create a sense of action, instead of just beauty. We combined the cycling imagery with the scenics to convey what we envision this race looking like in person. Exciting cycling in a beautiful (and grueling) setting. As soon as we have relevant event photos we will obviously switch those out, however, for the time being it is the best we could do. Check out the Coors Classic and World Mountain Bike Championships pages to see some photos we dug up from past cycling events we've either hosted in Vail or worked on at the Vail Valley Foundation.
What about video? That one was a bit harder as stock videos are not really compelling and/or relevant in our case (trust us... we looked). As we looked at websites for similar events like the Tour of California and Tour of Georgia we were immediately drawn to the video. Their video libraries were fantastic for conveying the excitement of professional cycling in both states.
Enter the Coors Classic. Since Vail is no stranger to professional cycling considering our history with that event we reached out to Michael Aisner to attain rights to Vail Coors Classic footage. We were able to track down some footage from Vail and were granted permission to use it on our website to promote the Colorado Stage. We are fortunate to have this footage and thank everyone that helped to attain or grant that permission.
The footage from the Coors Classic is great and for anyone that was not around during those days it does a great job of conveying the excitement and spectator base a race of this designation can bring to our Valley. Check out a couple of those short clips below. You can also visit the video/photo gallery on the new website to view more videos.
1987 Coors Classic: Vail Time Trial:
1984 Coors Classic: Vail Time Trial:
As additional teams are confirmed we will let you know. As per our previous blog postings (click here) we are playing a bit of a chess match with our first-year event budgets, UCI requirements and team schedules... all while working to deliver the highest quality event possible to both teams and spectators alike. It's a tough game, however, we are excited to start seeing teams like the ones below expressing an interest in the Colorado Stage.
Pro Tour Teams:
Team High Road
Pro Continental Teams:
BMC Racing Team
Slipstream Chipotle presented by H30
Bissell Pro Cycling
Colavita/ Sutter Home presented by Cooking Light
Jittery Joe's Pro Cycling
Toyota-United Pro Cycling
We have also confirmed Tecos...
The new site is at Coloradostagebike.com.
The new site has all the race info for all three stages as well as the Divide Ride Citizen's ride. You can also check out confirmed teams and access information about viewing access.
The site is brand new and has too much content to highlight everything here. Go check it out and let us know what you think. We value everyone's insight and hope to see you in August for the races!
Friday, May 23, 2008
Since we don't have our official merchandise printed yet, if you come say hello and let us know you read our blog I will personally give you the Stage hat off my head.
Paul - VVF Marketing