By Colin Bane
When the USA Pro Challenge makes its Telluride debut the racers will be rolling right down Main Street and past dozens of cool local shops like CashmereRED, where owner Caci Grinspan says she’ll be cheering louder than anyone. Grinspan grew up in Philadelphia watching the annual CoreStates Race (now known as the Philadelphia International Championship) and rooting for her dad in other cycling events, and — though she’s more likely to be seen pedaling around Telluride on her single-speed cruiser bike than road racing herself — she says she can’t wait to see world-class cycling on her new home turf.
Something Independent: What are you most looking forward to with the USA Pro Challenge coming to Telluride?
Caci Grinspan: I am a cycling fan and I grew up in a cycling family, so I know how thrilling it can be and how amazing the fans can be. It’s just a great event for Telluride. I think a lot of people think mountain biking when they think Telluride, but there are also a bunch of road cycling fanatics that live here. It’s a great sport and it’s great that this race is coming to Telluride.
How will you be spending race day?
I personally am going to try to be in a couple different places during the day. One will be right here at the shop: I want to try to catch the part of the race on the turn by CashmereRED, and not just because I’m biased. Right after that turn is the sprint to the finish, so it should be a good viewing spot. I’m also going to pop over to Box Canyon Bicycles, a great local shop owned by my former employee Sue Hobby and her husband Travis Young. Their shop is right near where the medals are going to be presented, and they’re going to be throwing a huge party and having a bunch of people dressed up as cheerleaders.
Where you do you think the best vantage points for this stage of the race will be?
I think being in town is going to be great because it will be a big photo finish with the riders coming up Main Street and it will be amazing to see the finish. I also think it would be fun to cruise out on the bike path and watch the race come by on the valley floor out by Hillside or Eider Creek. Another incredible spot to watch will be coming down Lawson Hill, because it’s a screamin’ downhill.
If you had visitors in town for the race, where would you send them to get a good taste of Telluride?
I practically live at The Butcher & Baker Cafe and it’s a great place to grab breakfast to go. If people are just going to be here for the day there’s so much to do so there’s not much time, but I’d try to take a hike while you’re here if you can make time for it. The hiking here is exquisite and there are a lot of great hikes you can do in about an hour. The locals’ favorite loop is called the Jud Wiebe Trail, and then another hike a lot of people love is the Bear Creek Trail out to Bear Creek Falls. I’d also send them to get tea or coffee from this little coffee cart The Coffee Cowboy, which is literally in an old horse trailer but is one of my favorite stops in town.
For other food options I’d try La Cocina de Luz, a great, quick Mexican restaurant. I also love the Chop House, which is the New Sheridan Hotel restaurant, and Honga’s is great if you want sushi. A more intimate dinner off the beaten path is 221 South Oak, down at 221 Oak Street in an old house on the corner of Main Street, and my favorite place for drinks is probably There, which is in the west end of town. If you want a really great cocktail to start your night or just want to get a little bit away from all the hubbub, I’d say go There.
My favorite shop in town is Dolce Jewels, and I’d also send people to check out the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.
Can you tell us a little bit about your own business?
I opened CashmereRED five years ago, and we’re a sweater store that specializes in Scottish cashmere. I design a lot of the product, and we work directly with the mill in Scotland so we can also do a lot of custom orders. What we do is we create the quality of your grandmother or grandfather’s sweater and pair it with modern technology like seamless knitting and today’s fashions to create a really high quality product. It’s fun because we sometimes see three generations of shoppers in here, coming in with their families and finding something for everybody. In the last few years we’ve really seen a surge away from synthetic fabrics and towards natural fibers, and that’s because they last and they breathe. I think cashmere is one of the best products money can buy for anybody living in the mountains. There’s nothing better.
What does a big event like the USA Pro Challenge mean for you as a business owner and as a member of the business community in Telluride?
It’s hard to say because it’s the first year the USA Pro Challenge is in Telluride, but I think it’s like anything: it will build and grow. I hope the Telluride stage of the race becomes an annual tradition because Telluride has a lot of great long-running annual events like the Telluride Film Festival, Mountainfilm, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, and the Telluride Yoga Festival, and these special events are really helpful for small businesses in getting our name out there. In two weeks, for example, we’re doing a big Design Your Own Sweater party in conjunction with the Telluride Film Festival — our opening reception will be on the evening of August 30 and it will be running through September 3 — and the Film Festival is a great example of an event that brings a lot of people to town and creates a lot of opportunities for businesses.
The USA Pro Challenge will be so fast and furious I don’t know what to expect, but even if people might not have time to do everything they want to do while they’re here, hopefully they’ll work their way back to Telluride and come for a little bit longer. Maybe next year they’ll say “I really loved this leg of the race” and they’ll plan to come for a few extra days. We’re in the middle of a massive sale right now, so definitely stop by if you’re in town for the race!
Will you be cheering for any specific rider as the race goes by?
I’ll be cheering for the race in general. I think it’s a great thing, and the awesome thing about cycling is that any number of the top riders could come out on top in any one of the stages.
S|I is pleased to have writer Colin Bane authoring A Local’s Look at each stage of our On the Road with USA Pro Challenge tour. His work has been featured in ESPN.com, Westword, The Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine, Aviation Business Journal, Washington City Paper, and Bail Skateboard Culture. Colin is a skateboarder, snowboarder, action sports fan, and proud dad.