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Ride the Rockies rolls in this week

Pete FowlerGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Glenwood Springs can expect more than 2,300 people to arrive in town Wednesday for the 22nd Ride the Rockies, said Krista Kaufman, Chamber Resort Association special events coordinator.The annual bicycle ride started Sunday in Frisco.A total of 2,000 riders were selected in a random lottery from 49 states and other countries, including Canada, Denmark, Austria, India and the United Kingdom. The oldest rider is 77-year-old Eugene Glenn from Bailey. The youngest is 6-year-old Emma Kerr from Boise, Idaho.In addition to the registered riders, several hundred family members and people in supporting roles will arrive.Kaufman said each rider spends around $75 a day on average, not including accommodations or food. Ride the Rockies says it generates an average of $200,000 in each community it visits. Many of the riders will camp at Sayre Park and St. Stephen’s Church.There will be very few rooms available in Glenwood Springs.”We’re pretty much sold out that Wednesday night,” Kaufman said. “In previous towns (enough lodging) hasn’t been available to them so the ones that are staying in hotels are really ready to stay in a hotel.”

On Tuesday, Rifle will play host to the riders and Ride the Rockies entourage.According to Annick Pruett from the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, local service clubs including Rotary, Boy Scouts, Lions Club and the Elks Club are preparing and selling meals. Cyclists will be camping at the Rifle Middle School. There will be festivities in Heinze Park and Sixth Street with live music and a beer garden that will go from 2-9 p.m. in Heinze Park. A community dinner will also be held at the park.Scooze will be playing from 2-4:30 p.m. and Bones from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Heinze Park.The Art Dague Pool in Metro Park will have free admission to all Ride the Rockies participants from noon to 9 p.m. Local vendors will be set up from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sixth Street.

Former Tour de France rider Ron Kiefel will speak on cycling at the Rifle Middle School at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and at St. Stephen’s Church in Glenwood at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday.Riders will leave Rifle Wednesday morning and are expected to begin trickling in to Glenwood around 9 a.m., but the majority will arrive between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Cyclists will leave Rifle on Highway 6 before taking backroads along Silt Mesa before heading up to Harvey Gap, down to New Castle and finishing the trip to Glenwood on Interstate 70 from Cañon Creek. “We’re trying to encourage people on that route to do a nice big warm welcome,” Kaufman said.Glenwood Springs High School cheerleaders will sell lunch and dinner on Wednesday and breakfast on Thursday at Sayre Park. On Wednesday, a beer garden will also be set up. There will be around 25-30 booths for all kinds of food, vendors, bike reps, massages, nonprofits and others. Local band SoulFeel will play from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon will play from 3:30-7:30 p.m.Riders in Glenwood will head out June 21 and stop in Aspen. The next leg takes cyclists over Independence Pass to Leadville for a 61-mile day. The 422-mile ride ends Saturday with a trip from Leadville to Frisco.The ride’s first leg started in Frisco and stopped in Steamboat Springs. The 99-mile leg is expected to be the toughest of the tour. Riders will stop in Craig today before coming to Rifle on a 90-mile ride Tuesday.Contact Pete Fowler: 945-8515, ext. 16611pfowler@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO


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