Stage 2 of USA Pro Cycling Challenge from Gunnison to Aspen
The Queen Stage is the crown jewel of the seven stages. The journey from Gunnison to Aspen will be the hardest, longest and highest of the race, summiting two 12,000-foot peaks in one day.
Starting in Gunnison, the stage travels through Gunnison National Forest before the 2,470 foot-ascent over 13.7 miles to reach the second KOM, cresting 12,126-foot-high Cottonwood Pass, the highest point during this seven-day race. To make it even harder, the climb up is on a dirt road.
After a tough climb and a fast descent comes another beautiful but grueling climb up Independence Pass. The road is narrow and steep with a 6.5% gradient and numerous switchbacks. The 3rd KOM is another lung buster. At 12,095 feet, the oxygen level is only 60 percent that of what athletes inhale at sea level. After 131 miles, this stage ends in downtown Aspen in the shadow of the Maroon Bells, Colorado’s most photographed mountain peaks.
|Date:||Wednesday, August 24, 2011|
|Distance:||130.3 mi./209.8 km Neutral: 0.7 miles / 1.1 km|
|Start Time:||10:00 am MT (9:00 am PT/12:00 pm ET)|
|ETA Finish:||3:26 pm to 4:33 pm MT (2:26 pm-3:33 pm PT/5:26 pm-6:33 pm ET|
|KOM #1||CR 742 – Cat. 3 at 9,450 ft (2,880 m) at mile 30.9 / km 42.6|
|KOM #2||Cottonwood Pass – Cat. 1 at 12,126 ft (3,696 m) at mile 48.3 / km 77.7|
|KOM #3||Independence Pass – Cat. 1 at 12,095 ft (3,686 m) at mile 110.4 / km 177.7|
|Sprint #1||Almont at mile 9.6 / km 15.1|
|Sprint #2||Buena Vista at mile 67.6 / km 108.7|