The new Velorama Festival is like a craft cocktail, pairing seemingly disparate but intriguing components. In this case, those ingredients are a music festival, a professional bike race and a flea market. The race began today, August 10, in Colorado Springs, but the festival itself will descend on RiNo on Friday, August 11, and festivities run through the weekend. Here are seven tips on how to navigate your Velorama experience.
The music acts
The lineup is stacked. Country-tinged alt-rockers Wilco headline Friday, after La Santa Cecilia and the New Pornographers open at 8:30 p.m., and introspective indie-rock group Death Cab for Cutie plays Saturday at 8:30 p.m., preceded by Tennis and Saint Motel. Sunday's acts include a variety of Colorado musicians from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Rob Drabkin at 5 p.m., the Jayhawks at 6:15 p.m., and the Old 97's at 7:30 p.m.
How to sound knowledgeable about the Colorado Classic
Pro biking is technical stuff, but here's a basic summary. The Colorado Classic is a four-stage race that will take competitors (there are a variety of men's and women's age groups, as well as a junior division) over 313 miles and climb over 20,000 feet in altitude. The third stage of the men's race uses RiNo as home base, heads up to Gilpin County and then circles back downtown. The women will do a circuit race in RiNo on Friday. At Velorama, you will likely be sipping a brew right beside some of the world's top cyclists.
Speaking of booze...
RiNo's a brewery hotbed, and the Drink RiNo group is offering plenty of opportunities to imbibe. Epic Brewery's patio will host a sixteen-foot video-game screen, courtesy of DreamHack. Urban winery Infinite Monkey Theorem will offer $5 cans of wine all weekend and will host a recording of Lance Armstrong's podcast, Stages. Ratio Beerworks will debut its outdoor bar (featuring a 100-foot mural and spray-misters to relieve you from the heat), put on a free silent disco starting at 9 p.m. Friday, and launch a new beer called Float On, Hefeweizen (with notes of banana and clove). Mockery's special is $3 Wish You Were Here blonde ale all weekend as well as two new beers to sample, American Wheat with Orange Zest and Rye Rock the F*ck on Forever IPA. To find out about other deals, just barhop through the twelve blocks of Velorama.
Not just the pros are racing
Making cycling accessible (and entertaining) for those of us without quads of steel, Velorama will host some more lighthearted races. Police and firemen will face off on one of the pro courses in the Battle of the Badges, Saturday from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m., at Summit Church. Mayor Michael Hancock will lead children in a bike parade at 9:10 a.m. Saturday, starting at the Colorado Classic start line, Walnut and 30th streets. And if you miss the tykes, check out the trikes at the Adult Trike Race (you can also get a half-off ticket if you register).
Shop ’til you drop.
With over 200 vendors at the fourteenth Denver Flea Market, you can plan ahead and buy a year's worth of handcrafted gifts. And selections are diverse: tea towels from Counter Couture, a Planned Parenthood shirt from Craft Boner that reads "Don't Fuck With Us/Don't Fuck Without Us," almond and dried-cherry bark from Bartleby Chocolates, up-cycled license-plate art from Junk Love Art and shimmery hair styling by Acid Hair Glitter. Find more about the vendors and hours of the flea market, as well as a festival ticket discount, at denverflea.com.
Here's how you can get a free ticket.
Velorama still wants a few more volunteers. In return for moonlighting as a bartender for four hours, you score a complementary ticket, free grub and a Velorama T-shirt. Register here.
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Actually, biking to the bike festival might not be a great idea.
Because of the bike race, several streets will be closed starting Friday at 4 p.m. (see a complete listing here), so driving and biking may prove more difficult than you bargained for. Westword recommends taking the A line to the Blake and 38th Street stop. Lyfts to or from Ratio Beerworks are subject to a twenty percent discount that applies to both new and returning users (code: RATIOVELO20OFF). Finally, if the Colorado Classic does inspire you to bike, the designated bike corral is located at Blake Street and Downing Street (or you can find one of these new artisanal bike racks in RiNo).
One-day Velorama tickets are available online for $35, and many different organizations are offering promotional discounts. One-day access prices jump to $50 on the day of the event, so buy early. Three-day passes cost $90, a four-pack of one-time tickets are $120, and on Sunday, children ten and under get in for free. View more information and a schedule on the Velorama Festival website.