A risky Ride the Rockies
Dear Editor:Tuesday, June 19, is a day I will not likely forget. My husband and I live in Meeker and also Basalt. By chance, we never saw or read upcoming coverage of “Ride the Rockies.” If we had, I never would have ventured a drive from Meeker to Rifle June 19. I was four miles outside of Meeker on Highway 13 when I was engulfed by a steady river of cyclists all the way to Rifle.What on earth were the Rio Blanco-Garfield county officials and the organizers for the Ride the Rockies event thinking?! Did the lure of profits for the town of Rifle and continuance of the event so as not to disrupt the cyclists schedule override common sense? As a resident of Meeker I am well aware of how dangerous this road can be between the two towns. It is a narrow, two-lane road, under construction for widening, and severely impacted by heavy truck traffic leading to the Piceance Creek area, a site with numerous oil and gas companies.I was overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of cyclists, yet felt sorry for them of the conditions they had to ride under. I was determined not to ride in the oncoming traffic lane, as I know at any given moment a semi-truck could be coming around a blind corner. I was appalled to see the assist/chase cars for the event driving entirely in the oncoming traffic lane! If I could have turned around I would have, but I was trapped by the cyclists on the right and could not see anything past five cars in front of me, all driving in the oncoming traffic lane.I pay my taxes like everyone else and felt the counties and state highway patrol seriously let citizens in this area down by allowing the event to continue in such a hazardous area. I never saw any police presence until I was three miles outside of Rifle. This could have been a tragedy of epic proportions … my nerves were totally shot having to ride so close to the bicyclists and the threat of a head-on collision involving numerous vehicles. As fate would have it, my nerve-wracking trek was not in vain. There are many other local residents that feel the same as I do and will not rest until some accountability by the Rio Blanco County officials, the Colorado State Highway Patrol and the Denver Post event organizers is rendered.Lynn WatkinsMeeker/Basalt
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The Roaring Fork Valley has, by-and-large, avoided the mountain pine beetle and spruce beetle infestations that have decimated parts of the state. However, a 2019 aerial survey showed the Roaring Fork watershed has an outbreak of Douglas-fir and western balsam beetles.