DENVER (BRAIN) — FirstBank, a sponsor of this month's USA Pro Challenge stage race in Colorado, is unveiling two novel ways to connect with the race and its fans.
First, FirstBank is sponsoring a Tweeter feed that will include commentary from well-known cycling experts during the race. Second, FirstBank is sponsoring a contest that will reward spectators for safe and fun behavior along the race course.
During the race, the bank's Twitter account, @efirstbank, will be manned by former cycling journalist Jasen Thorpe, owner of Thorpe Marketing, and by "Maiko," a journalist and Twitter cycling commentator. Thorpe and Maiko will curate race comments from women's cycling advocate Sarai Snyder, journalist and bike maker Lennard Zinn, coach and TrainingPeaks founder Dirk Friel, journalist Jen See, and Katie Macarelli, the communications director for 303Cycling.com, a Colorado regional cycling website. Photographer Ryan Muncy of Racershots.com also will provide photos for the Twitter feed.
"Our goal is to bring additional information and entertainment to the race-viewing experience for those following the race on television or Tour Tracker," Thorpe said.
FirstBank also sponsors the race's Most Aggresive Rider competition. During this year's race, the bank will give away three autographed replica Most Aggressive jerseys each day as part of its “Most Respectful Superfan Contest.”
"With the Most Respectful Superfan competition, we want to make cycling even better – and safer – for everyone, by calling attention to the responsibility and safety aspects of bike race spectating by rewarding fans who demonstrate that it’s entirely possible to have a great time while being respectful of the riders, the race, and fellow fans," the bank said in a press release Wednesday.
The release noted that less-than-respectful fan bahavior — including roadside selfie-taking, costumed fans running alongside the peloton and lapses in dog guardianship — has resulted in injuries to riders and fans and altered race outcomes.
Spectators can nominate themselves or others for the Superfan prizes via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Details are on the bank's blog.
The race runs Aug. 18-24.