Grand Lake selected as host community for biking event |

Grand Lake selected as host community for biking event

Lance Maggart

The Colorado high country and the surrounding Rocky Mountain region provide a proverbial Mecca for bicycle enthusiasts of every stripe. Local mountain resorts offer lift accessed down-hilling and the mountain ranges are crisscrossed by thousands of miles of single track trails for those who enjoy more strenuous and rugged rides. For road cyclists the scenic panoramas of the high Rockies and the challenging mountain passes offer experiences too good to pass up. Many road cyclists in Colorado and throughout the nation wait patiently each year for Colorado’s annual summer cycling spectacular known as “Ride the Rockies”.

Ride the Rockies is held in June each year and is put on by the Denver Post with various entities sponsoring the event. The event typically lasts six or seven days with participating cyclists riding from one predetermined stop on the route to the next each day. The stops are located within host communities who provide event participants with alternative lodging, inexpensive meals and entertainment for the evening.

Each segment of the race is anywhere between 45 and 100 miles in length with most segments averaging around 65 to 75 miles. Each daily segment of the event also typically sees riders covering significant elevation gains into the multiple thousands of feet each day.

A route for the 2016 Ride the Rockies event was announced last weekend. The tour will start in Carbondale and wind south into Aspen for the first leg. The second leg of the event has riders heading up to Copper Mountain. From Copper Mountain the Ride the Rockies route will take participants on a looping course south to Leadville before turning north and heading to Minturn and then following I-70 east back to Copper Mountain.

The fourth day of Ride the Rockies will see riders heading north from Copper Mountain up and over Ute Pass before dropping down into Middle Park where Grand Lake will serve has the host community for the fourth night. From Grand Lake cyclists will move into Rocky Mountain National Park and traverse Trail Ridge Road before dropping down into Estes Park. The sixth and final day of the 2016 Ride the Rockies event will take folks from Estes Park through Larimer County and across the finish line in Fort Collins.

Ride the Rockies provides significant economic incentives to the mountain towns that serve as host communities. According to the Ride the Rockies Web site in 2014 cyclists spent an average of $250,000 in a 24-hour period in each town. Each host community also receives a $5,000 grant to give to a local non-profit organization.

The total length of this year’s Ride the Rockies route is 403 miles, according the event’s Web site Riders will also climb approximately 29,782 feet over the entire course that traverses Independence, Freemont, Tennessee, Vail, Ute and Milner Passes on the way to Fort Collins. The Ride the Rockies Web site cautions that all routes are subject to change pending permits.

The popular bicycle tour will kick off on Sunday June 12. You can find more information about Ride the Rockies or registration for the tour by going to their Web site

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