Fans party on Rabbit Ears Pass, bid farewell to USA Pro Challenge
Steamboat Springs — Routt County residents and visitors said goodbye to the USA Pro Challenge in style Tuesday at the summit of Rabbit Ears Pass.
The cast of characters included Gretchen Coleman, who, for the third year, dressed as Wonder Woman to help the cyclists on their way to Arapahoe Basin.
“I’m trying to help them propel forward,” Coleman said. “Telling them to fly like the wind.”
Again this year, more than 100 cycling fans put themselves through a little agony by cycling up the pass. After a crash Saturday during the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike race, Coleman was not up for the ride but was there to support her friends, such as three-time Steamboat Springs Olympic Alpine skier Caroline Lalive Carmichael. Lalive rode up with her husband, Nelson Carmichael, a two-time World Cup moguls season champion and an Olympic bronze medalist.
Caroline Lalive Carmichael has done the ride up Rabbit Ears numerous times, but this time was different.
“I’m five-and-a-half months pregnant, so I’m riding for two,” Lalive Carmichael said.
Lalive Carmichael volunteered at the USA Pro Challenge on Monday, and she said it was great to be part of the energy.
“Today was totally the same,” she said. “I think every person that biked up the pass had a cheering squad.”
Other characters on Rabbit Ears included a man in a devil costume, who identified himself as El Diablo.
“Suffer. Suffer more,” El Diablo would tell the cyclists during the grind.
Steve Kennedy dressed up as Donald Duck while his daughter, Samantha, was Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast,” the same costumes they wear on closing day at the Steamboat Ski Area.
This was their third time watching the race, which has come through Steamboat three out of the five years of the USA Pro Challenge.
“I really like biking, and I like to watch,” Samantha said. “It’s fun to chase the riders.”
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Opera Steamboat’s slate of conductors this summer is to be all female thanks to a recent grant from OPERA America.