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One for the centuries

Story and pictures by May Eynon

Interest in the sport of cycling clearly increased across the country this July, thanks to the 91st annual Tour de France and a nationwide case of Lance Armstrong fever. The Roaring Fork Valley is no exception – it’s teeming with road bikers, both elite and recreational, and it’s full of interesting routes, from Twin Lakes via Independence Pass to the jaunt up to the Maroon Bells.One way to enjoy a long road ride while receiving food and drink along the way is to take part in an organized tour, such as a century ride. Named for its 100-mile-plus distance, a century is a popular way to spend the better part of a day on the road.The popular Triple Bypass ride marked its “sweet 16th year” on Saturday, July 10. The undulating route from Evergreen to Avon ascends three passes along the way: Squaw (11,140 ft.), Loveland (11,990 ft.) and Vail (10,560 ft.). The total distance was 120 miles, with a total elevation gain surpassing 10,000 feet.Approximately 3,000 cyclists participated in the well-organized recreational ride. Dozens of Roaring Fork Valley riders have made this event an annual tradition, driving to the Front Range the night before the start. The official start time was at 6:30 a.m., but bikers had the option to depart at their own convenience between 6:00 and 7:30 a.m.Five aid stations were strategically located along the route, all with fruit, sandwiches, energy drinks, portable toilets and plenty of water. The aid stations offered everyone a break from the discomfort of the bike every 20 miles or so, as well as an opportunity to refuel, hydrate, stretch and socialize and commiserate with fellow cyclists.As an incentive to ride the whole route and not succumb to catching a SAG wagon along the way, a gourmet meal awaited cyclists at the Nottingham Lake finish line in Avon. But the main attraction at the festive finish area was the massage tent, where a two-hour wait was worth every second.A percent of the proceeds from the Triple is distributed to nonprofit organizations chosen by Team Evergreen, the organization that hosts the event.Another exhilarating century ride, held two weeks after this year’s Triple, was the third annual Colorado Eagle River Ride (CERR). Also a single-day bicycle ride, the CERR course is a 100-mile loop from Beaver Creek to Wolcott, up U.S. Highway 131 to Colorado River Road, down to Dotsero and back to Beaver Creek. A 100-kilometer and 45-mile route were also offered as options.This year’s CERR ride was intentionally staged on July 25, the last day of the Tour de France. Though this event is much smaller than the Triple Bypass – only 400 cyclists participated this July – it is just as welcoming and well run. The ride began in Beaver Creek, leading cyclists down the Eagle River Valley, up through the rural surroundings of Highway 131 and down 20 miles of hard dirt road along the Colorado River.”This is by far the easiest century ride at altitude,” said Ed Ulfe of Lexington, Ky. Ulfe and one of his riding partners, Skeet Glatterer of Golden, Colo., rode both the Triple Bypass and the CERR together. “The Triple [Bypass] is a whole different animal,” added another cyclist who participated in both centuries.The former director of the Triple Bypass for the last four years, Ron Swan, brought his expertise to the CERR this year. He added many clever amenities along the route, including well-stocked aid stations. The most popular one featured an ice cream truck with Dove Bars, Eskimo Pies and other chilled treats.Proceeds from the ride are earmarked for the Snowboard Outreach Society, a nonprofit organization with a mission to teach at-risk youth how to snowboard, as well as for other charities in the Eagle Valley.For those looking for a local century ride, mark your calendars for the upcoming Aspen-Snowmass Ride for the Cure, taking place September 11 around the Roaring Fork Valley.Information and race registration can be found on http://www.aspenrideforcure100.com. The fundraiser for the fight against breast cancer is sponsored in part by Aspen Valley Hospital, Carmichael Training Systems, the Hub, the Aspen Club & Spa and many others.The organizers’ objective is for this Colorado century ride to supplant all the others as the best in the state – and judging by the detail going into it already, it has a good shot at achieving that goal.To contact May to send info, insight or invites, e-mail: allthewaymaymay@hotmail.com


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