COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Spectators came from as far away as Denver and Texas to attend Thursday's first-ever stage of the Colorado Classic bike races in downtown Colorado Springs.
"One of the the cyclists rode in the Tour de France," a spectator said. "That adds prestige to the event."
Bike racing is a family affair for Charles White and his three sons, who traveled two hours from metro Denver to watch the races.
"We travel all over the country to see these events," he said. "It's a big deal. It's a lot of fun, it's inexpensive entertainment for the day and we get to see riders at a level you don't normally see."
Francine Fowler, visiting from Austin, Texas, accompanied Jackie Grabbert, a friend from Woodland Park, to attend the races.
"This is is my first race that I've ever seen up close," Fowler said. "I love it."
Grabbert said the races were especially enjoyable because it included a women's competition.
"We don't get to see too many women's events," she said. "The women riders are inspirational."Organizers tried to provide a variety of events downtown connected with the races -- including product vendors, music, food, drink and entertainment for all ages.
Terry Juneau, a Colorado Springs resident attending his third cycling event in town, said he's disappointed that there weren't more spectators Thursday.
"More people need to come out and support this," he said. "It's great. The course goes to Garden of the Gods and all over town."
The threat of rain that eventually fell in the afternoon, and the event being held on a weekday, may have kept attendance down for the races.