The state of Colorado has a rich and established place in the history of American cycling. From the Coors Classic to the latest crop of professional riders who base themselves there in the off-season, the state has a draw like no other, with epic terrain and a tapestry of cycling heritage.
Cyclingnews travelled to Denver and spent a week in the company of some of the most colourful, insightful and inspirational people, winding through Leadville, Colorado Springs and, of course, Boulder.
To kick off our series, we head up to 10,000 feet above sea level to spend time with Floyd Landis. The former rider now runs a CBD and legal marijuana business out of Leadville in the Rocky Mountains. We meet up with Landis to talk about his new venture, but also his years in the wilderness that followed his momentous doping confession back in 2010. We listen as Landis opens up about the past, his struggles and his fallibility, but also his search for stability, his family and how he is giving back to the sport and trying to heal old wounds.
- Floyd Landis: Redemption and the pursuit of closure
- Landis: Lance, redemption and the future – Podcast
We then head east to Colorado Springs to meet up with Aevolo team boss Michael Creed. Another former rider, Creed has excelled as a director and found his niche in developing young talent for the professional ranks. Our last feature with Creed was way back in 2010 and, in another similarly personal account, the 37-year-old opens up about his toughest moments but also why he still loves the sport and what keeps him striving for happiness.
- Michael Creed: Fighting back against depression
- Michael Creed: Fighting back against depression - Podcast
Colorado Springs is also home to USADA and USA Cycling, with both authorities almost a stone's throw from each other. We talk to Travis Tygart from USADA about the challenges facing sport, WADA's credibility and how the landscape has changed in the fight against doping, while USA Cycling's soon-to-be-departing CEO Derek Bouchard Hall talks about the state of domestic professional cycling, diversity in sport and why he's moving to pastures new.
Recently retired Danny Pate opens his home to us - providing as much coffee and biscuits as we can manage - and talks about the races that changed his life, before we travel to 250 miles west to shoot hoops with Tejay van Garderen in Basalt. The BMC Racing rider takes us through his training rides in the mountains and shows us that there's more to life as a pro than just racing, as he and his young family plant roots in a new community and help develop a number of local cycling initiatives.
Any trip to Colorado would be worthless without a stint in Boulder - a mecca for cycling in the US - and we meet Mike Friedman, who has set up the inspirational non-profit Pedaling Minds, which encourages children to take up cycling. We then hear from Craig Lewis and Mara Abbott about how they have transitioned from elite sport into new careers, and there's a catch-up with Greg Daniel as he talks about his two-year stint at Trek-Segafredo, life on the road for a young American in Europe and how he is about to start a new chapter of his career.
We visit possibly the coolest bike shop in Colorado in Vecchios, before our final sit-down interview with the living legend that is Davis Phinney to talk about his career, his battle with Parkinsons, his foundation and his legacy.