OURAY – The City of Ouray and the surrounding region got a welcome surprise last week when it was announced that 2,000 bicyclists participating in the 25th Annual Ride the Rockies bicycle tour will be making a stop in Ouray, and stay overnight.
The 532-mile 25th anniversary route was announced on Feb. 7. The tour, scheduled for June 13-19, will begin in Grand Junction and end in Salida. Cyclists will tour 46 miles of Colorado National Monument on June 13 before heading south to Delta on June 14. Then, on June 15, the tour will head further south to Ouray on June 15 for a one-night stay before heading over Red Mountain Pass, Molas Divide and Coal Bank Pass to Durango.
“For 25 years Ride the Rockies has showcased some of our state’s finest communities,” observed Tour Director Chandler Smith in a release, adding that the organization has “supported numerous charitable organizations and introduced thousands to the pleasures of road cycling.”
“So many people have had their hands in making this a great tradition, and in doing so, the Tour has become synonymous with summer in Colorado.”
Riders will travel from Durango to Pagosa Springs and Alamosa, wrapping up in Salida on June 19. For Ouray, a first-time tour host, the event marks an exciting start to the 2010 summer season.
“It’s going to be huge,” said Ouray Chamber Resort Association Executive Director Jennifer Loshaw. “This will be a great way to start the season. With the 2,000 riders, 1,000 volunteers and other support staff combined with the continuous TV coverage, it’s going to be great for us.”
Preparations are already underway to work out lodging accommodations for the riders and that afternoon events, including live music and a beer garden, with opportunities for local nonprofit organizations to fundraise. “I am expecting a lot of overflow to go to Ridgway,” Loshaw said. “We are including the entire county in all of this.”
Ridgway-based Alpine Cycle Connection will book local lodging for the riders – approximately 400 rooms to accommodate 800 riders on June 15. Alpine Cycle connection can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on lodging.
“The cool part about this,” Loshaw said, “is it’s local. We are trying to use as many local services as we can.” Ouray Travel will be organizing private homes for housing riders on June 15, as well, and can be reached at email@example.com
As part of the tour, Denver Post Charities is offering a $5,000 grant to each host community, earmarked for local nonprofit agencies with programs serving children, youth, recreation and literacy efforts. The grants are awarded in each community on the same day the cyclists come to town.
“We take great pride in this grant program, which allows us to leave a positive legacy in the host communities,” said Smith. Grant applications are available only to nonprofit agencies in towns where Ride the Rockies makes an overnight stop or finishes. For more information or to request a grant application, contact Elizabeth Norris, community relations coordinator at 303/954-6703 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Award announcements for the 2010 Denver Post Community/Ride The Rockies grant program will be made the first week of June.
Ride the Rockies is a non-competitive event, open to cyclists of all ages, and riders are encouraged to ride at their own pace. Proceeds benefit the Denver Post Charities, a McCormick Foundation Fund. All funds raised are matched at 50 cents on the dollar, and returned directly to the community.
Cyclists may only register for the event online at www.ridetherockies.com. Applications will be accepted through Feb. 25.