How a 25-minute event will change Durango – forever

Someone said: “We tend to back into the future, longingly looking at the past.” Here’s an explanation: Because the past is known and represents our comfortable norms, it is safe. But the future represents change, which is less determined, and it threatens to alter our familiar patterns and comfort zones.

In 19 days, Durango will host the largest event ever held here, and one that has taken months to organize. And it will be an event that will depart town in only minutes after the 10 a.m. start time: The 2012 USA Pro Cycle Challenge.

Make no mistake, preparing for and hosting the event will leave Durango a changed, but better community.

Why? Because Durango was selected from a list of more richly resourced Colorado towns, so we are honored. Why? Because Durango has a great reputation for cycling and tourism, so we will be a proud host. Why? Because we are given the chance to showcase our community to a world audience, so we will be prepared.

Know that dozens of our fellow community members have stepped up and given hundreds of volunteer hours to organizing the details of this event. Why? Because the organizers know that from Aug. 16 and Aug. 20, our collective performance and enthusiasm represents all 16,000 residents of Durango.

What if you’re not into cycling? Whether you are cycling savvy or don’t know a bicycle sprocket from a Brussels sprout, consider the event and its benefits from a different perspective. Durango succeeds because it continually challenges itself to do more with less.

Preparing for the event has sparked innovative thinking. It has forced creative solutions and problem solving. It has brought people and organizations together behind a goal to isolate the issues and collaborate on solutions.

All these efforts foster community teamwork and build collective confidence.

Is it costing the city a fortune? No, we have had tremendous local sponsor success.

How many will attend? We estimate a crowd on Aug. 20 about twice the size of the Snowdown parade.

How about street closures? Main Avenue will be closed for the Sunday night, Aug. 19, downtown street party.

It also will be closed on race day Monday from early morning until all the event’s trappings are taken down and downtown is cleaned. By 2 p.m., Aug. 20, expect most of downtown to return to normal with the exception of the all-day celebration festival at Buckley Park.

Locals who leave town or stay home will miss seeing a world-class cycling event, but even more, they will miss the opportunity to show our event organizers and volunteers their appreciation of the volunteers’ months of hard work.

Show your support. Buy a T-shirt, consider volunteering, enjoy the Sunday night live bands and fireworks display.

The race starts at 10 a.m. Aug. 20, and special buses will run every 20 minutes from several outlying parking areas. Get up to speed on all the details at Bob Kunkel is the downtown business development manager for the city of Durango.