2018 Ride the Rockies Highlights Grand Lake and Winter Park
The annual Ride the Rockies Bike Tour route was announced last week, and, this year’s event will feature two stops in Grand County. The 418 mile ride begins and ends in Breckenridge, covering 25,935 vertical feet in elevation, with stops in Edwards, Steamboat Springs, Grand Lake and Winter Park/Fraser along the way.
Beginning Sunday, June 10, the tour heads out from Breckenridge, traveling 77 miles, covering Fremont and Tennessee Passes and winding up in Edwards for their first night. From Edwards, they’ll travel 80 miles to Steamboat Springs, where they’ll spend the next two nights. On day 3, for the first time ever, the tour opens up the ride to outside participants for the “Ride the Rockies’ Steamboat Springs 1-Day Loop”, a 48 mile loop finishing back in Steamboat. Day 4 takes the tour over Rabbit Ears and Muddy Passes on a 94 mile odyssey to the Town of Grand Lake, where they’ll camp for the night. Day 5, the tour travels 32 miles to Winter Park, with an option to ride to the top of Berthoud Pass for an additional 29 miles. After spending the night in Winter Park/Fraser on June 14th, Day 6 sends riders over Ute Pass on an 87 mile ride back to the Town of Breckenridge.
RTR Tour Director, Dierdre Moynihan, said “Our hope is that by creating a loop tour close to the I-70 corridor, it will be more accessible to riders on and off the bike.” Moynihan, a seasoned cycling professional, went on to say “We believe this route will entice our veteran cyclists, as well as draw in new folks.”
Catherine Ross, Executive Director of the Winter Park Fraser Chamber of Commerce, is grateful that Ride the Rockies selected two locations in Grand County to be host towns this year. She said it gives the Winter Park and Fraser Chamber the opportunity to work together with the Grand Lake Chamber on this event as well as other projects in the future.
Riders on this year’s tour will spend two nights in Grand County and planning for their arrival is underway. Ross said they are working with Winter Park Resort to offer as many activities to the riders as possible while they are in town. They also plan to reach out to Winter Park and Fraser businesses to determine what will work best “to get the riders in their doors” while they’re in town. Coincidentally, their arrival also aligns with the start of Winter Park’s Thursday Night Concert Series which opens with music by Gasoline Lollipops on the Hideaway Park stage. Provided that it doesn’t snow, the Town will be filled with activities and riders that evening.
Community partners met with Ride the Rockies’ staff this week to develop a site plan. The tour will set up headquarters at the Grand Park Recreation Center and surrounding area, providing indoor and outdoor camping sites and RV parking. Fraser Valley Recreation District Director, Scott Ledin, described this to be “a wonderful venue that provides top notch accommodations for the riders”. He told us the Grand Park Recreation Center would operate “business as usual” while the riders are in town, but hopes residents will be patient with the influx. He said their focus is to be a “good community player during an event that offers such a large economic impact”.
Ross remarked that “working with Grand Park has been great and we appreciate them coming in as a private partner for this event”. They will work to place onsite food vendors in the camping area as well as at Hideaway Park for added convenience.
While the host towns do not pay Ride the Rockies for the privilege of hosting, it still costs the Town to host the riders with added police, fire and other necessary support staffing. Upon notice of the ride’s route, Ross adjusted Winter Park’s portion of the Chamber budget to help accommodate the event. She added that the event “gives us the time to shine” to the perfect audience. “The rider demographic is made up of active people with disposable income who are interested in what we have to offer.”
The event also relies heavily on volunteers and coordination efforts currently in development. All residents are encouraged to participate in whatever way they can to show the riders how well our communities can come together for an event of this maginitude.
We will continue to cover various aspects of the Ride the Rockies Tour during the next few months, so be sure to watch for updates. If you are riding this year, or have ridden in the past, we want to tell your story. You can reach us at email@example.com
The ride is filling up quickly, so interested participants should register soon. Ride the Rockies is the biggest fundraiser for The Denver Post Community Foundation, and registration is on a first come, first served basis. In total, 2,000 cyclists from across the state, the US and around the world come to ride the tour annually. To register, log-on to ridetherockies.com.
This year’s ride kicks-off an exciting summer season in Grand County, and with two of our towns featured, there’s no doubt that some of the riders will be making plans to return again soon.