Race food: The locals’ guide to dining at Colorado’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge

VeloNews has made its home here since 1989. We know the state inside and out and with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge just days away, we thought we would fill you in on our choices for coffee and eats across the state.

Camp 4 Coffee, Crested Butte. Photo: Kevin Krill

BOULDER, Colo. (VN) – With great bike racing go great coffee and food.

VeloNews has made its home here since 1989. We know the state inside and out and with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge just days away, we thought we would fill you in on our choices for coffee and eats across the state.

Now don’t everybody go at once; we need a table.

Colorado Springs – Prologue

Pikes Perk Yelp Review
The Colorado Springs Independent voted Pikes Perk best local coffee shop and best local roaster. Tech editor Nick Legan agreed. Start your day at this locally owned coffee shop and pick up a bag of their Afternoon Thunder Blend.

Poor Richard’s Yelp review
Hit the Poor Richard’s complex downtown for pizza, wine and a good read. The restaurant/bookstore/toystore/cafe/wine bar/gift shop is a funky locals’ hangout. Hit Rico’s Café for tapas and pasta e olio after the podium.

Bristol Brewing Company Yelp review
South of downtown, on Tejon Street, the Bristol’s Compass IPA is to die for, and the microbrewery is very supportive of local cycling.

VeloNews‘ cartoonist, online editor and occasional Friday Ranter, Patrick O’Grady, has lived in Colorado Springs for years. We won’t reveal the location of his coffee hangout. But if you do find it, be sure to stay off the lawns in the neighborhood. You never know where a toothy Mad Dog may be on patrol.

Salida – Stage 1 start

Café Dawn Yelp review
Opened in 2008, voted best coffee in 2009 and 2010, stop in to Café Dawn for a wake-me-up en route to the stage 1 start. Co-owner Phillip Benningfield penned a book on coffee culture, The Dark Roast.

Moonlight Pizza Yelp review
The local pizza joint in the heart of downtown is fun and dishes up great pies. Try the Mirkwood Chicken or Harvest Moon, depending on your vegetarian tendencies.

Crested Butte – Stage 1 finish

Camp 4 Coffee Yelp review
Go to the small building adorned with license plates. Order the Sledgehammer. Drink. Top off with breakfast burrito. Go out and do things. There is a Camp 4 in historic Crested Butte and another near the finish line in Mount Crested Butte.

Ginger Café Yelp review
The Ginger dishes up the best Thai food you’ll find on the tour. It’s small and intimate. Make a reservation.

Gunnison – Stage 2 start

The Bean Coffee House Yelp review
We never visit Gunnison without a stop in at the Bean. Grab a beautifully put together coffee and an even more adventurous pastry before the start of the race’s biggest stage.

Aspen – Stage 2 finish

Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar Yelp review
In honor of maillot jaune Cadel Evans’ place in the race, stop into Victoria’s Espresso and Wine Bar for the Aussie cafe experience.

Brexi Brasserie Yelp review
You’re at a bike race. Why not get back to some traditional French fare at the new brasserie in town. Stop in quickly for some Parmesan Frîtes or settle in for a dinner that starts with Brexi Beef Tartare.

Vail – Stage 3

Loaded Joe’s Yelp review
Loaded Joe’s stands out among the throng of Vail Village Starbucks. Friend of VN and pro triathlete Kristen Peterson called it, “a fun little place that is totally skier rad…”

Bol Yelp review
What do hip people do when they want to bowl? They drop the “w” and put the alley in the back of a restaurant and bar. Bol is family friendly during the day, before the live DJ and drinks list take hold.

Avon – Stage 4 start

Avon Bakery & Deli Yelp review
Homemade bread and tasty coffee await at one of the few breakfast joints in Avon. Enjoy a walk along the Eagle River to work the pastries off before the stage starts.

Steamboat Springs – Stage 4 finish / Stage 5 start

Amante of Steamboat Springs Yelp review
The best espresso bar in Boulder is in Steamboat, too. Wear your wool Bianchi jersey and you’ll fit right in.

Sweetwater Grill Yelp review
It doesn’t get more scenic than the Sweetwater in Steamboat. On the banks of the Yampa River you’re in cowboy country, so order up the Cracklin Pork Belly. Cowboys can pair pork with a nice wine as well, right?

Winona’s Yelp review
Before you head out to Mount Werner for the stage 5 start, make your way to Winona’s. Like hollandaise? They have the best Eggs Benedict around. Sweets? Try the giant cinnamon roll.

Breckenridge – Stage 5 finish

Cool River Coffee House Yelp review
Dial your morning in with a dark roast coffee, quiche, pumpkin lemon cranberry muffin and a chocolate croissant. Laid back, friendly atmosphere will have you feeling like a local.

Rasta Pasta Yelp review
Mmm. Rastafarians make good, spicy pasta in Breckenridge (and Fort Collins). Get your Marley and kind carbohydrates at Rasta Pasta; Spaghetti Trench Town is the go-to.

Golden – Stage 6 start

Windy Saddle Cafe Yelp review
It’s been a long week. Fuel up with good espresso and Trompeau Bakery croissant in the heart of Golden. Make a reservation and watch the race roll by twice before heading to Denver.

Woody’s Wood-fired Pizza Yelp review
Our memories of Woody’s in Golden go way back. Saddle up to the bar, order the all-you-can-eat buffet and go to work. Make sure they throw a Bleu Buffalo pie in the oven when you sit down.

Denver – Stage 6 finish

Novo Coffee House Yelp review
Get back to coffee’s roots, in Ethiopia, at Novo. Just south of the final stage finish, you’ll find some fine Bunna.

Mona’s Yelp review
What’s better than heuvos rancheros and a Leonardo-Mosa on a morning before the big big race?

Sushi Den Yelp review
If you’re in the capital city and looking for sushi, the Den is your only stop. The brother of the owner lives in Japan, shops daily at the local market and overnights fish with dry ice to Denver. Yeah, they’re serious about sushi.