Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., one of America’s premier craft breweries, is returning to the USA Pro Challenge as a founding partner for the 2014 professional cycling race. In a three-year agreement, Sierra Nevada will be the official beer partner of the world-class cycling race and will have a sizeable on-site presence in the finish festival beer gardens. Additionally, the coveted King of the Mountains jersey, worn previously by fan-favorite Jens Voigt, will be entitled by the craft brewer.
“Sierra Nevada was such an important partner during the inaugural edition of the USA Pro Challenge in 2011, and we’re looking forward to having them back for many years,” said Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge. “With roots in the sport of cycling, Sierra Nevada will bring the company’s signature brews to our huge crowds of cycling enthusiasts.”
With three decades of innovation and experimentation in the brewhouse, Sierra Nevada brings to the race a unique cycling history. A cyclist from an early age, Sierra Nevada Founder Ken Grossman skipped his high school graduation ceremony in 1972, opting instead for a bicycle tour along the Northern California coast. It led him to visit and fall in love with Chico, Calif., where he soon moved and combined long days working in bike shops with long nights building the first Sierra Nevada brewhouse.
Grossman instilled in the brewery a bike culture that’s unavoidable today: repurposed kegs as bike racks, public bike tools and maintenance stand, and even hand-built beer bikes that take people on tours of the grounds. Voted the most cycle-friendly place to work in Chico by the city and awarded as a silver level bicycle-friendly business by the League of American Bicyclists, Sierra Nevada will bring the beer that helped launch the American craft beer movement to professional cycling.
“What I loved and learned about bikes growing up translated pretty well to the crazy idea of building a brewery,” said Grossman. “Whether it’s riding a bike or maintaining one, cycling does a lot to shape you. It’s a sport and ethos that’s been great to see thrive at our brewery, and we’re fortunate and excited to again support the USA Pro Challenge—such a premier event and group of athletes.”
Dubbed “America’s Race,” the fourth annual USA Pro Challenge’s seven stages will take riders throughout the state of Colorado from Aug. 18-24. Beginning in Aspen, the race winds its way through the towering Rocky Mountains, through the cycling towns of Colorado Springs and Boulder, to the finish in Denver. The race challenges the sport’s toughest professional cyclists to compete on the epic course consisting of lung-busting climbs, winding mountain passes and heart-pounding sprints.