In the Saddle: Biking weekend |

In the Saddle: Biking weekend

ASPEN Beginning today, bicyclists can sign up in person for Aspen’s spring pedaling ritual, the Ride for the Pass.The 13th annual benefit bike race/recreational ride is Saturday, May 19. On Sunday, May 20, bicyclists take to the streets of downtown Aspen for the annual criterium racing.Racers and nonracers alike are welcome in the Ride for the Pass. Participants may sign up at (online registration closes at noon Friday) or head over to Ute Mountaineer or Aspen Velo to register through Friday.The preregistration fee is $40 per person in either the recreational or competitive division, or $70 for a family; prices go up by $10 on race day. Proceeds benefit the Independence Pass Foundation’s continuing efforts to repair the eroded hillsides left when the roadway was cut over the pass.In recent years, the ride has attracted roughly 500 riders, and start-line registration has been crowded, so riders should register before the event. Those who haven’t picked up their T-shirt and race bib before the event should arrive by 8 a.m., organizers advise.The ride will follow its traditional route, taking bicyclists from the winter gate, four miles east of Aspen, to the ghost town of Independence, about 10 miles up Highway 82 on Independence Pass. The ride gains approximately 2,000 feet of elevation – going from 8,500 feet at the start to 10,500 feet at the finish line.Highway 82 over the pass is scheduled to open to vehicular traffic on May 24; now is the time for bicyclists to enjoy the stunning scenery while they have the highway to themselves.Participants are welcome at an after-party at the Cantina, featuring free beer and prize giveaways, including a new mountain bike.Sunday’s criterium begins at 9 a.m. at the corner of Monarch and Hyman, taking racers on closed city streets. Participants will be separated into various heats. The registration fee is $20 in advance or $30 on race day; go to for more information.Spectating is best on the Wheeler Opera House corner.

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