Bicycle Tour of Colorado to start, finish in Glenwood
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The 2009 Bicycle Tour of Colorado will begin and end its seven-day, 500-plus-mile route in Glenwood Springs,
The tour, the longest in tour history, will take riders through six Colorado towns ” including Hotchkiss, Grand Junction, Montrose, Crested Butte, Buena Vista, and Glenwood Springs. The tour runs from June 21-27.
“This is one of the longer routes,” said event organizer Kent Powell. “We are known as a little tougher ride than Ride the Rockies.”
The route will showcase the Roaring Fork Valley on the first and last legs of the ride, however, Powell was not a certain whether the tour will utilize the Rio Grande Trail.
“We will probably use it early in the morning and cut off at Carbondale for the first leg,” Powell said.
But on the return leg, 107 miles from Buena Vista, over Independence Pass through Aspen to Glenwood, Powell said the ride would likely use Highway 82.
Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen, however, said using the bike path would be a benefit for the tour.
“I really don’t know, but in 2007, Ride the Rockies came through here and, from Glenwood to Aspen, was a very highly regarded leg of the tour,” he said. “It was an extremely popular leg of the race because of the trail.”
Powell said the Rio Grande Trail was not a consideration when mapping out this year’s route.
“In fact, I don’t know that we are going to use it for sure,” Powell said, adding that the path is a nice ride, but it could be problematic with 2,000 cyclists.
Regardless, Christensen is glad to have the bike tour start and end in Glenwood Springs.
“It’s always easier for those of us that live in Glenwood to participate in a tour that starts and stops in Glenwood Springs,” Christensen said. “Because you get to spend a night or two in your own house and not in a tent somewhere.”
Christensen, an avid cyclist, rode in last year’s Ride the Rockies and in the the 2005 Bicycle Tour of Colorado, which began and ended in Snowmass Village.
“I enjoy any bike tour that I can take advantage of,” Christensen said. “It’s a good way to take a break and get away from the stress of work.”
Glenwood Springs has been a stop for six of the 14 tours since the event began in 1995, including the first three years of the tour.
Given the number of riders in attracts, the event could prove an economical boost to Glenwood.
“The Bike Tour of Colorado is very popular with people from other parts of the U.S.,” Christensen said. “If you live somewhere were it’s flat, you don’t get to experience the type of riding we have here in Colorado.”
“We always have three or four countries and almost all the states represented each year,” Powell said. “We pull a lot from the east and west coasts. It’s a good tour and good bunch of people. It’s just a lot of fun.”
It’s a great opportunity for Glenwood Springs, and for the cyclists involved, according to Christensen.
“It gives people from around the state, nation, and potentially the world a chance to see what a great place Glenwood Springs is,” Christensen said.
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