Mayor’s Letter on the Pro Cycling Challenge

by Chuck Rose

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge has come and gone.  I would like to voice my appreciation to all the spectators and especially locals that came out to support this event.  From the start, the number of people and the enthusiasm exhibited was an amazing thing to witness.  Once again, thanks for showing up.

As in all the events that occur in Salida,  it is a small group of dedicated professionals and volunteers that make the day a success.  The support of our citizens and especially our businesses create the engine that drives these special days.

We all know the names of Greg Ralph with Monarch Ski Resort and April Prout with the Chaffee County Visitors Bureau.  They were instrumental in placing Salida in contention as the start city for the first road stage.   Angela Damman, the Director of Salida’s Local Organizing Committee, did an amazing job making the event happen.  It is not possible for me to describe her ability to keep all the various people and organizations working together towards a common goal.  Andy Riemenschnieder is the Local Organizing Committees’ Technical Director.  He is so good at that job that the promoter, Medalist Sports, has tried to convince him to join their operation.  Robin Najime and Dana Porter organized and directed over 175 volunteers.

The Salida Police and Fire Departments, Colorado State Police, Department of Corrections Officers, Rescue and Fire Agencies from outside Salida and Chaffee County all came together to make sure the race ran smoothly.  All the City of Salida departments did a wonderful job in helping the race come off without a glitch.

There are more groups and people that I should name, but l hope everyone knows the Salida start could not have happened without all of you.  Thank you very much.

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge  benefits our community economically.  I should remind you that the few minutes of national and international television exposure would cost more than our local economy can afford.  What impressed me more was  the sense of excitement that permeated our entire community.  Hours after the racers were gone, the buzz was still palpable.  This event created a positive energy among our residents. Given the generally polarized and contentious dialogue that is everywhere at this time, our positive reaction to the bike race was a breath of fresh air.

I will say that, once again, I am struck by the unique beauty and the difficult to quantify characteristics that make up our community.  We have been blessed by the luck of being in one of the most  visually striking places I know.  Salida has maintained its small town feel mostly by luck.  I am of the opinion we are the only remaining city in the Rockies of Colorado that has not sold its soul for a buck.  Yes, our economic engine is cooler than the big cities of the I 70 corridor.

Those of us that have chosen to live here need to decide how how much is enough.  I wonder if we can be happy with what we have and be aware of the trade offs we might make in trying to increase the business of our area.  It is important to me to hold onto the quality of life we have here.  Let us remember “standard of living” is determined by how much stuff we have.  Quality of life states the ability of an individual to live in a satisfying way.  Simply, we need to ask “How much is enough?”

Thanks again to everyone for aiding the success of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.   Let us try to hold onto the positive energy it created.