Ride the Rockies cycling tour will focus heavily on Middle Park this year | SkyHiNews.com

Ride the Rockies cycling tour will focus heavily on Middle Park this year

Route for annual cycling tour includes three days in Grand County

Ride the Rockies cyclists cruise through Byers Canyon. Tour participants will pass through the canyon twice this year, going both east and west on days four and six of the event.

Ride the Rockies has announced route plans for this summer's 33rd annual cycling tour of the high country and while the event is billed as a circuitous route through Colorado's majestic mountains the focus will largely be on Middle Park with three of the ride's six days beginning or ending in Grand County.

Day one of Ride the Rockies will kick of in Breckenridge with cyclists heading through Frisco, past Copper Mountain and up and over Fremont Pass to reach Leadville before turning north again and heading down to the valleys far below and the day one end point in Edwards. Day two will see cyclists heading up highway 131 to Steamboat Springs before heading out on a loop course on day three, which will end again in Steamboat Springs.

Day four, set for Wednesday June 13, will kick off the Grand County leg of the tour as riders head up and over Rabbit Ears Pass on their way to their stopping point for the day in Grand Lake. Along the way the riders will roll through Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs.

This is the second time in in the past three years Grand Lake will serve as one of the host communities for the popular biking excursion. Grand Lake was one of the tour's host communities in 2016 when as riders headed up Trail Ridge Road on their way through Rocky Mountain National Park.

Day five of Ride the Rockies will see cyclists heading back west on US Highway 34 to its junction with US Highway 40. Riders will then turn east and roll through Granby on their way to the host community of Winter Park. Ride the Rockies website notes Winter Park plans to have music performances at Hideaway Park for tour riders. The day five itinerary also includes an option climb up Berthoud Pass for riders.

Event organizers offered the optional spur ride for those interested in tackling the massive mountain pass as a do-over of sorts. In 2014 tour riders were scheduled to ride up and over Berthoud Pass but an early June snowstorm canceled those plans.

Day six of the 418 mile Ride the Rockies tour will send cyclists back through Grand County to Breckenridge on a long tour of the Williams Fork drainage. Riders will leave out of Winter Park that Friday morning and will head back up US 40 through Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs before turning south onto Ute Pass Road. Riders will ride past the Henderson Mill complex on their way to Highway 9, where they will turn south and head back to Breckenridge.

The event could be a big boon for local businesses and the area's economy in general. According to Ride the Rockies tour participants spent roughly $250,000 in a 24-hour period at each stop along the route during the 2014 event.