COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Ensuring that Thursday's USA Pro Challenge bike race proceeded smoothly was the responsibility of the Emergency Operations Center in Colorado Springs.

The center normally is used for wildfires, blizzards and other disasters.  However, it has been utilized for other major events in recent years, such as the annual bike race.

Deputy Director Bart Howard said about 70 city and state department heads staffed the center during the race.

"They're monitoring every detail of where the racers are," he said.  "So, it would be very difficult to monitor something this complex without their help."

Howard said the center coordinated with an incident command post at the race site.

"We don't get involved with the smallest details of the race," he said.  "That's for the race organizers.  What we do is be prepared for the unexpected -- a criminal act, something like that."

Howard said the center staff also used the race as training for future events, and to learn what's good and bad before, during and after an event.