Ride the Rockies plans Steamboat stop | SteamboatToday.com

Ride the Rockies plans Steamboat stop

Racers will spend two nights in town in June

— Steamboat Springs’ place among biking communities has been debated.

Is it Bike Town USA?

Wherever people stand on that, it’s hard to ignore the slate of bike races and tours coming through the Yampa Valley this summer.

Ride the Rockies organizers announced Sunday that Steamboat will serve as a host community for the 2011 ride. The ride will travel the 80 miles between Edwards and Steamboat on June 14 over Yellow Jacket Pass.

The next day, riders will do the 52-mile loop on Twentymile Road.

Steamboat is the only stop on the ride where riders will spend two nights. It’s the ninth time in the 26-year history of the race that Steamboat has been chosen as an overnight host town and the first since 2007. It will be the first time the ride has done the Twentymile Road loop since 2004.

The event is expected to bring 2,000 riders and as many as 3,000 people to Steamboat.

“They’ll be here Tuesday through Thursday and raise the lodging night stays through the middle of the week that we usually don’t see,” said Kara Givnish, the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association’s special events director, who said the Chamber is working on putting on events to coincide with the ride.

The ride originates June 11 in Crested Butte. It travels to Buena Vista, Edwards, Steamboat and Granby before finishing in Georgetown on June 17.

All told, riders will travel 412 miles and climb 22,000 feet.

Tour Director Chandler Smith said a number of variables go into the construction of a route. After spending the past two years in the southwest part of the state, Smith said organizers of the ride wanted to get back to the central and northwest parts of Colorado.

After scouting out communities, Smith said Steamboat was an obvious choice because of the accommodations for the riders to spend two days.

“It offered that nice optional loop,” he said. “It will give our cyclists an authentic mountain experience. There are lots of activities for our riders to do.”

Ride the Rockies kicks off a huge bike season in Steamboat.

The seventh annual Tour de Steamboat hits town July 16, with the second annual Ride 4 Yellow event Aug. 7. The inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge professional cycling race comes to town Aug. 26 and 27, before the Steamboat Springs Stage Race from Sept. 2 to 5.

— To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or e-mail lgraham@steamboattoday.com

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