Carbondale: Base camp for Ride the Rockies
Carbondale is preparing to roll out the red carpet today as participants begin arriving in town for the 31st annual Ride the Rockies.
Carbondale was an overnight stop in 2012, and Glenwood Springs hosted a stop in 2009, but this is the first time a Garfield County community has served as the weeklong ride’s starting point.
With 2,000 riders plus friends and family in town, locals are likely to notice.
“You’ll definitely see an increase in spandex,” said Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrea Stewart. “I think the majority of people will start arriving on Thursday and Friday, then Saturday is the registration, so it’s kind of Day Zero,” she said.
“It’s an honor and a privilege,” she added, for Carbondale to host the ride’s kickoff. “The benefit is so much larger than the time we put into it.”
More than one business is staffing up in anticipation of the crowd, and the Marble Distillery Inn is booked through the weekend. Aloha Mountain Cyclery has already received some bikes for assembly and hopes to be an information source for the visitors.
Ride the Rockies estimates that local hotels, restaurants and retailers in each host community benefit from an estimated $250,000 in economic impact every day of the tour. The Denver Post Community Foundation, in partnership with Wells Fargo, will also award a $5,000 grant to a nonprofit organization in each host town.
The event also comes with resources and activities to support the riders and the community.
Entertainment begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Fourth Street Plaza, with free live music by local and regional bands. Main Street will stay open while a block of Fourth Street will be closed to accommodate a beer garden and vendors. Local restaurants and caterers including White House Pizza and Momma Bears Organic Bakery will join Ride the Rockies’ food lineup along with a host of retail and informational booths.
ViaWest and Wish for Wheels will host a bike build at the plaza from 1-4 p.m., a team-building exercise that ends with 25 free bikes for local kindergarten through second grade kids. Dance of the Sacred Fire takes the stage at 8:30 p.m..
“Anyone is welcome to attend,” Stewart said. “We want everyone to come and partake.”
The main event is staged out of Roaring Fork High School. Parking is available at Carbondale Middle School at $15 for the week, with proceeds benefiting the school’s library book club program.
On Sunday, True Nature Healing Arts will run a yoga and stretching workshop until 7 a.m. at the high school. The opening ceremony begins at 7:30 a.m. with the national anthem performed by Earthbeat children’s choir and a presentation of the colors by the Glenwood Springs High School Junior ROTC.
After that, the riders take off for Aspen via Missouri Heights and the Rio Grande trail. This year’s ride goes 403 miles, ending June 17 in Fort Collins.
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New hiking and biking trail at Sutey Ranch could ease pressure at main Red Hill trailhead later this summer.