Each June Colorado’s oldest newspaper hosts a charity bike tour through the varied and diverse beauty that is Colorado. Over 6-7 days the tour covers anywhere from 450 to 525 miles through tiny towns, world-famous resorts, high desert plains and some of the highest mountain passes in the Rockies.
Each day the tour’s 2500 riders and additional 1000 volunteers, families, vendors and guests, stop and sleep, eat, shop, refuel, relax and take in some scenery. This is not a race but a recreational tour, so everyone from spirited recreational cyclists, families with children, to cyclists in their 70’s can be found along the way. The route changes each year and in 29 years the route has never been repeated making it a fantastic way to see the state each year. The organizers account for at least $5000 for local charities in each town, and will carry the luggage to the hotel each day so all we do is ride, relax, socialize and think.
Check out the videos:
- http://vimeo.com/14249 102
89 Miles from Boulder to Winter Park
Day One Is always fantastic. 2500 People all excited to begin celebrating their love of Colorado with a group bike ride. Just like at a large meeting there is nervousness about experiencing the unknown and excitement at the same time. I always use this excitement to get to know as many people as we can. I find it fascinating to learn why people choose to come from near and far to see our great state.
The start of the day was the ascent of Berthoud Pass. This pass tops out at 11,315 feet in elevation. It is a major geographic barrier shielding the northern part of the state. This coaxed President Eisenhower to build the tunnel that now bears his name. In winter the terrain is regularly cleared of avalanche hazards with long-range artillery to prevent trapping motorists under mountains of snow.
For the cyclists of RTR, ascending this pass provided PLENTY of trepidation and the experience did not disappoint. From nearly the moment the Kleimer Co cyclists rounded the first corner at the base of the formidable climb, the light rain turned to snow.
We were then faced with the choice of turning back to ride downhill through the cold rain for a few miles to a shelter that by now was likely over crowded with fellow cyclists, or just go! We chose to persevere. After nearly an hour of riding up hill we reached the 11.315 foot summit of the pass. By now the snow storm had turned into a blizzard and the Colorado State Patrol closed the remaining 16 miles down the pass into the nights rest stop in Winter Park for safety. By the time every rider had been bussed down to the safety of campgrounds and hotels the entire town was abuzz with the stories and energy of a chilly alpine adventure.
Lessons of the day:
- Perseverance, commitment to goals,, focus and tenacity count: Choosing to continue on through the snow got us to the warmth and safety of the summit shelter much sooner than others. Many did not arrive at their hotels until after 8 or 9 at night.
- Preparation and practice count: By spending less time in the snow and being properly protected from the body energy sopping wet and cold we still had a great time while others were shivering miserably.
- Celebrate your successes: Wow! What an adventure! Biking over a high mountain pass during a freak snowstorm is something we were all proud to have conquered and celebrating that filled us with enthusiasm to experience what lay ahead.
- Colorado is great. People LOVE it here. People love it and are willing to travel long distances and willing to PAY to enjoy some time here. If you live here, consider yourself lucky.