BRECKENRIDGE - When a professional cycling race comes to Colorado, there are many elements that riders can encounter.
Steep roads. Crazy weather. Thin air. And wildlife.
On Friday, as the Colorado Classic rolled through this ski town, those competing in the men's race had no idea what lurked within a quarter-mile of the showcase climb of the day. Neither did the fans who lined Moonstone Road, cheering, dancing and playing loud music.
Tucked away in the forest between the jubilant scene and downtown was a large black bear weighing at least 250 pounds. The bear never ventured onto the course, and that's a good thing. Instead, it lay at the base of several large trees, easily within hearing range of the nearby music.
At one point late in the race, it became startled and quickly began to climb a tree. But imagine the chaos if the bear had been the one doing the startling.