Much hoopla has been thrown around concerning the new Quiznos Pro Challenge bicycle race series, to begin this coming August at several locations across Colorado. Grand Junction is not one of those locations this year, but there are several local residents making up a race committee that have petitioned the Colorado National Monument for permission to run one of these races through the Monument in 2012.
Apparently, the cycling community has nostalgic memories of bike races through the Monument in the 1980's. For those who are unfamiliar, the 1985 film American Flyers has some impressive race scenes through the park along Rim Rock Drive.
"We believe the Quiznos Pro Challenge bike race can further the purpose of the 1916 National Park Service Organic Act if the event is properly tailored to protect the delicate flora, fauna and landscape of Colorado National Monument. At the same time, a properly conducted race would expose countless cycling enthusiasts to the beauty of our landscape and the wonders of what has been described as the religious experience of riding over the monument.I'm still wondering how you "tailor" the event in such a way. If the estimates of attendance are somehow met, and the top of the monument is restricted, perhaps they'll attempt to make that area available for VIPs only. Not necessarily in keeping with the public access aspects of the park, however. And what's this about a "religious experience"? Are we somehow violating the separation of church and state here? ;)By limiting the number of spectators permitted on top of the monument and imposing other thoughtful limitations, the National Park Service can fulfill its dual obligations."