Ride for the Pass won’t happen this year | AspenTimes.com

Ride for the Pass won’t happen this year

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – The Ride for the Pass, canceled as a result of poor weather last month for only the second time in the event’s history (the first time was last year), won’t be rescheduled this summer.

Organizers with the Independence Pass Foundation, host of the annual bike race/ride up Independence Pass near Aspen, had hoped either to arrange a closure of Highway 82 at some point this summer to accommodate the event or follow on the heels of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August, when the highway already will be closed over the pass, said Mark Fuller, executive director of the foundation. The Colorado Department of Transportation wasn’t keen on either idea, he said.

“We were thinking when it was canceled that we might have a shot at finding another date,” he said.

Holding the event while the highway is open to vehicle traffic isn’t something organizers are willing to take on, though the much larger Ride the Rockies bike tour made the pass part of its route earlier this week.

“The safety issue is just too scary for us,” Fuller said.

Ride for the Pass typically takes place before the highway opens to vehicles for the summer season. This year, the pass opened early, but CDOT shut it down for the May 19 event. The pass reopened ahead of schedule when the ride was called off that morning.

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Last year, wintry weather forced the cancellation of the event, but last spring was generally cold and wet. This year, snow and cold on the pass on the morning of the ride was an anomaly in an unusually warm, dry spring, which made the cancellation all the more aggravating, Fuller said.

But the post-race party took place at the Sky Hotel in Aspen as planned, and plenty of riders showed up.

“We had a good turnout at the party, and nobody second-guessed our decision,” Fuller said. “It was really, really cold.”

Since the event won’t be rescheduled, the Independence Pass Foundation is offering to refund the registration fee to participants – go to http://www.independencepass.org for more information. About two dozen refunds were requested last year, said Fuller, who’s hoping participants consider making their fee payment a donation to the organization.

The Independence Pass Foundation spearheads projects to revegetate eroded areas along the highway on the pass. The ride is its major annual fundraiser.

janet@aspentimes.com