If you live in Golden, you may have noticed that we have some bicycles around here.
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If you live in Golden, you may have noticed that we have some bicycles around here. OK, we have a lot of bicycles around here, as well as several bike shops to buy, sell and fix them. You might say that they are kind of a “thing” for us.
It’s not just a “thing” for Golden, it’s kind of a Colorado “thing” and we don’t just use them for local transportation. It’s a huge recreational activity and there are a lot of riders that take things to the next step by training and racing here at the higher altitudes. Plus, it’s just plain fun, although a lot of work, to ride around these beautiful mountains we have in abundance.
In fact, one of our classic bike races started out as a mountain race from Durango to Silverton between a bicycle and a steam train back in 1971. There were two brothers, one of whom was an engineer on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the other an avid cyclist who ran that on a bet. You guessed it, the guy on the bike won. That inspired the Iron Horse Classic race that’s held there every year.
But not all of the big, organized bicycle events are races. Some of them are just fun group rides and one of the largest is the now famous Ride the Rockies event. This year it’s going to be a six day, 436 mile event that is basically a nice little group of about 2,000 cyclists traversing the mountains and camping overnight in various locations. Yeah, this thing is a massive cycling event.
This year’s route starts on June 12 in Copper Mountain and heads west to Glenwood Springs on the first day. Then it runs to Basalt then next day, Salida the following day and up to Breckenridge on day four. Day five has a circular route that starts and ends in Breckenridge, and then on day six everyone heads down the mountain and ends up right here in Golden on June 17.
Now, if you are and enthusiast and for some reason missed that this thing is going to be happening, you can still register for it by going to www.ridetherockies.com, but if that ride is a little bit more than you want to get involved in, you can still participate and have a little fun by heading to the Post-Party event in Parfet Park on the corner of 10th Street and Washington Avenue on June 17. It starts at 11 a.m. and should be going most of the afternoon as riders come in. It’s going to be featuring a vendor expo, so you can check out some cool gear, music, a beer garden and a BBQ. Just come by and cheer some of the riders in as they arrive and help them celebrate the journey’s end of a truly memorable life event for most of them. It should be a nice place to gather and celebrate the joys of riding through our majestic peaks.
Now, that being said, I do want to make sure that everyone who might be contemplating a last minute entry into the event understands that although I make it sound kind of rosey-posey, this is one grueling ride that has hill climbs of up to 7000 feet in a single day, some fast descents with a couple 100+ mile ride days in the mix so you really need to have some experience riding and be in pretty good shape to complete this event. You will also need the right equipment, not only for riding, but for camping as well. If you are new to cycling, you might want to just head to the Post-Party and chat with some of the folks who complete the journey and make plans to get in the mix next year.
I also want to give a heads-up to our residents to let you know that this event will be happening, so be aware that the town will be flooded with people on bicycles for a while. Be careful driving and watch out for them. Over 2,000 bicycle in one place is a lot to look out for.
For more information on this event, including detailed route maps as well as terrain and altitude charts as well as where they are going to be staying and camping just go to their website that mentioned above, you can find out all you need to now there. Meanwhile, to all of you going on this journey, have a blast and we’ll see you at the end and toast you with a nice cold beer.
John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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