Ride for the Pass organizers keeping an eye on Aspen’s weekend weather forecast | PostIndependent.com

Ride for the Pass organizers keeping an eye on Aspen’s weekend weather forecast

Karl Herchenroeder
The Aspen Times
The first wave of riders in the recreational division begin their climb of Independence Pass in 2013's Ride for the Pass. This year's annual ride is May 21.
Aspen Times file photo |

Hundreds are watching the weather forecast this weekend to see if they’ll be able to hop on bikes and participate in the 21st installment of Ride for the Pass, an Independence Pass Foundation event scheduled for Saturday morning.

According to the National Weather Service, there is a 60 percent chance for rain and snow Saturday. Karin Teague, executive director for the foundation, said organizers are watching the weather closely, but right now it’s full steam ahead for the event. For the most up-to-date information, participants can check the foundation’s Facebook page or follow the group’s Twitter handle @indpassfound.

“If bad weather does move in, we will let everyone know certainly no later than 8 a.m. on Saturday,” Teague said. “Right now it’s full steam ahead. If we get a clear morning, we’re hoping to pull it off.”

Because the pass is set to open to vehicles on Thursday, the event will not be rescheduled if it is canceled due to inclement weather.

Ride coordinator Dina Belmonte said that about 200 people have registered so far, and historically the event sees anywhere from 300 to 500 participants. Though online registration is closed, in-person registration is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at the Limelight Hotel. Participants also can register between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Saturday prior to the race. Belmonte encouraged riders to show up early, as registration will close promptly at 9:30 a.m.

Participants also can register between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. today at Community Bank in Basalt, 455 Gold Rivers Court.

The ride is set to start at 10 a.m. at the Winter Gate, 5 miles east of Aspen. The ride follows the route from the gate to the town of Independence, approximately 10 miles east up Highway 82. Riders climb approximately 2,300 vertical feet, from 8,652 to 10,967 feet. Winning race times are usually around 40 minutes, with most riders in both competitive and recreational categories finishing in less than two hours, according to organizers.

The ride will start in two waves this year, with the competitive group taking off at 10 a.m. and recreational starting at 10:10 a.m.

“The spirit behind the event, to me, is to celebrate our magical backyard and welcome the start of the spring and summer season while it’s still quiet, before the cars come and remind people of how lucky we are to live here,” Teague said. “Also of course to draw attention to the work the Independence Pass Foundation does on the pass.”

The individual entry fee is now $50, while families of four or less can register for $80. Following the race at 1:30 p.m. will be an after-ride party at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen. The event will include a free drink for riders and a for-sale lunch menu, as well as raffle prizes.

The foundation is led by an 11-member volunteer board of directors and staffed by three part-time consultants — an executive director, development director and bookkeeper. The nonprofit works with local, state and federal agencies in maintaining and restoring the pass.


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