Tour cyclists arrive in Glenwood Springs today despite canyon trail closure
Extensive damage to the Glenwood Canyon bike trail from the spring runoff and continued flooding in many sections will keep riders in the 2011 Bicycle Tour of Colorado from pedaling into Glenwood Springs as planned today.
But the roughly 1,500 cyclists taking part in the annual tour will be arriving in town for their scheduled two-night layover nonetheless.
Instead of riding through the canyon on the bike path for the planned Thursday stay in Glenwood Springs, the riders instead will leave their bikes in Gypsum and ride buses to Glenwood Springs.
“We’re excited that they are still coming to Glenwood and spending their day off here on Thursday,” said Lindsay Lewis, vice president of tourism and marketing for the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association. “We will be doing our best to welcome them.”
Special events include a welcoming party at Sayre Park from 1-8 p.m. today, including live music and food served by the Lions and Rotary clubs of Glenwood Springs. The event is also open to the general public.
A day full of activities is planned for Thursday, including options for the participants to visit the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Canyon Resort and other attractions, Lewis said.
Since the riders will be without their bikes while in Glenwood Springs, they are being directed to use the free Ride Glenwood bus system to get around town. Various tourist attractions are also providing shuttles, she said.
The change of plans due to the canyon path being closed also required a route adjustment for today’s portion of the tour. Originally, the riders were to have made their way from Steamboat Springs via State Highway 131, turning onto the Colorado River (Burns) Road at McCoy, and coming out at Dotsero before hitting the Glenwood Canyon trail.
Instead, the riders will now stay on Highway 131 to Wolcott, then cycle on old Highway 6 to Gypsum, shortening the day’s ride from 104 miles to 91 miles, according to tour officials.
Bicycles are to be kept at Eagle Valley High School, and the cyclists will be bused into Glenwood Springs this afternoon and evening. After the layover in Glenwood, the cyclists will be bused back to Gypsum Friday morning to resume the tour toward Frisco.
The change did reportedly result in an extra $20 fee for participants to cover the cost of the bus rides to and from Glenwood Springs, and the use of the school to stage the bikes.
The Bicycle Tour of Colorado has been taking place every year since 1995, taking riders along various routes through the Rocky Mountains ranging from 400 to 500 miles over six or seven days.
Two years ago, the tour started and ended in Glenwood Springs. That was the same year that the larger Ride the Rockies Tour also passed through Glenwood Springs the week before.
This year’s tour began Sunday in Central City and took riders up through Rocky Mountain National Park to Estes Park and Granby, then on to Steamboat Springs yesterday.
After leaving Gypsum on Friday, the riders will make their way to Frisco, before finishing back in Central City on Saturday. This year’s ride covers about 450 miles.
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