In the saddle: Bike tour returns | AspenTimes.com

In the saddle: Bike tour returns

Janet Urquhart
Aspen, CO Colorado

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour will make another swing through the Roaring Fork Valley next summer on the heels of its inaugural run this past August.

Slightly fewer than 100 riders signed on for the debut tour, a 478-mile route that started and ended in Gunnison and included a stay in Carbondale before riders headed over Independence Pass, east of Aspen, en route to Leadville.

Organizer Peter Duffy anticipates 500 to 700 participants in next year’s tour, scheduled for Aug. 3-9, based on response from this year’s event, he said.

“The riders loved it ” they’re all coming back,” he said. “I’ve got people saying, hey, I’ve got a group of 100 that wants to come.”

The 2008 route will be altered just slightly, totaling 472 miles. Day 1 will take riders from Gunnison to Hotchkiss rather than to Montrose, but transportation from Hotchkiss to Delta will be available, as Hotchkiss doesn’t have a lot in terms of motel accommodations. Day 2 will take riders over McClure Pass to Glenwood Springs instead of Carbondale, and Day 3 ” perhaps the toughest of the tour ” will bring a 100-mile ride to Leadville, including the climb over 12,095-foot Independence Pass.

Next year, Duffy hopes participants can ride the Rio Grande Trail from Glenwood Springs to Woody Creek, where the trail turns to gravel. Some riders used a segment of the trail this year, though the official route made use of Highway 82, he said.

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On Day 4, riders pedal to Frisco, over Tennessee, Battle Mountain and Vail passes; Day 5 is a rest day; Day 6 takes participants from Frisco to Salida and over Fremont Pass; and Day 7 finishes with the ride back to Gunnison, over Monarch Pass.

Duffy, an avid Denver bicyclist, put together the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour with an eye toward a challenging ride, but also opportunities to spend each night in a motel rather than camping, if participants so desire. And, it’s in August, while Colorado’s other two major bike tours are in June, giving participants more time in the saddle before the event.

The registration fee for the 2008 event is currently $335. It goes up to $405 by next June. Go to http://www.crmbt.com for more information about the tour and registration information.

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com.

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