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USA Pro Cycling Challenge – Stage 1

Well, we had our first bout of technical difficulties on the road today. After one successful image upload, the remaining 12 failed. There is a bright side. My favorite image of the day made it! Our plan today was to catch a bit of the pre-race moments in Salida, then hit the road right before the start so we could share all the beautiful Colorado moments along the course. There were plenty! It was amazing how many people came out to see the race. Every ranch in the Gunnison valley had shut down for the day, and the families set up shop along the road to cheer the riders as they passed. We barely made it to Crested Butte. I had forgotten to fill up before we left and we nearly ran out of gas. Once we got to Crested Butte, we scouted out a location that happened to be both beautiful and near some of the most hospitable folk the valley could offer. If you read this blog with any regularity, you write about cycling’s ability to bridge any political, ethnic, or religious gap that may exist between people. After you spend hours, sitting on the side of a mountain, staring at an empty road, you get to know your fellow spectator pretty well. Without fail, this has been the case for me in Europe at the Tour de France. I always leave France with a couple more friends than I had when I left. Today, it was no different in the states. Doug, pictured here (and his family and friends not pictured because they couldn’t be uploaded) are some of the nicest people you could meet. Not only did they keep us amused with their antics, they offered us drinks, dinner, and a standing invite to come visit the largest ranch in the Crested Butte valley. THIS IS WHY I LOVE BIKE RACING!

Update: Technical issues have been resolved! Here are a few moments I wanted to share from yesterday’s stage.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Fans greet the riders as the team busses arrive in Salida, CO

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Other than the Livestrong banner, the team Radio Shack bus could easily be mistaken for Neil Diamond's rig.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Media covering the rider sign in.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Race leader Patrick Gretsech is all smiles at the start of today's stage.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Tour de France winner Cadel Evans greets fans after he signs in.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Cadel Evans makes a buch of kids day. It seems like Cadel is genuinely excited to be here.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

What it takes to win the Tour de France.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

Tom Danielson fields some hard hitting questions from Bob Roll.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

We were racing the BMC bus from Salida to Crested Butte. We crushed it going over Monarch pass. Yep, we dropped the team bus of Tour de France winner Cadel Evans like a bad habit.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

The peloton makes its way through the Crested Butte Valley.

2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge - Stage 1

The peloton heads to the finish in Crested Butte

Quick Reminder: I am providing this behind the scenes look at one of America’s greatest bike races to raise awareness of the Davis Phinney Foundation and it’s mission to match the $20,000 challenge grant provided by the 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge. If you enjoyed any or all of this coverage, PLEASE consider making a donation to help those living with Parkinson’s Disease, ‘Live Well’. To learn how you can help us achieve our goal click here. You can find all my coverage of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge here.

The Complete 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Coverage

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  1. This is a great shot Justin. Love the focus and emotion of the rider.

  2. You did a great job capturing the moments there, Justin. Cool… :)

  3. I am so in love with that first shot. The rest are fabulous as well, but man the guy in a cowboy hat just cracks me up something fierce!

  4. I was wondering. What camera do you use besides your phone? Your photography is fantastic.

    • Howdy!

      Thanks for the question. I have most of my listed on my gear page. There is a link at the top of the page. If you can’t find it, let me know. Over the course of the race I have been shooting a Nikon D700 and a Nikon D5000…as well as my phone.

      Take care,


  5. Awesome coverage! I agree with Chris! Wonderful shot!

  6. Great photos — Keep Working !!!

  7. LOVE, LOVE following this race with the help of ur AMAZING images! Can’t wait to pow-wow with u when ur back.

  8. Hi Justin-great to hang out with you during stage 1-love your shots. Glad our “antics” weren’t too out of hand. Let us know when you get your cowboy boots dusted off, and we’ll go chase some cows!


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