Some thought it couldn’t be done. You couldn’t convince world class Tour de France caliber cyclists to come from Europe to race in Colorado at 8,000 to 12,000-ft. elevations. You couldn’t get thousands and thousands of spectators to watch such an event in Bronco/Rockies/Avalanche/Nuggets territory. And an upscale burger chain to be a founding sponsor? Right.

Yet the third annual USA ProCycling Challenge is set to kick off Monday, Aug. 19 in Aspen, with 16 top international teams fielding dozens of the world’s top cyclists. And founding partner Smashburger — itself growing and expanding in tough, demanding conditions — will again fly its banner over the start/finish lines.

When we attended and researched the inaugural 2011 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Smashburger’s founder Tom Ryan saw a natural connection between the world’s fastest and most durable cyclists and a company devoted to serving better burgers. Cycling is an physical activity, something that makes people feel better having accomplished it. Smashburger’s building burgers to make folks a meal they feel great about. After all, great food and the great (mountain) outdoors is part of a great life.