Cyclists tackle Moots Ranch Rally
Steamboat Springs — A congregation of 150 Moots bicycle owners and other cycling enthusiasts explored Routt County’s less-traveled roads and agricultural heritage Saturday.
The Third annual Moots Ranch Rally sold out again this year and attracted local riders, as well as those who made the trip from other states.
“This might have been the most epic ride I’ve ever biked,” said Tracy Brooks, who has been biking since 1989 and turned the ride into a family vacation from his home in Monroe, Louisiana.
The event resulted in a $5,000 donation to the Community Agricultural Alliance and a free bike frame for one lucky rider. It also showcased a 50-mile course that toured historic ranches on county roads.
A road bike with standard wheels did the trick, but many of the cyclists outfitted their “gravel grinder” bikes with larger tires to navigate the gravel, dirt and ruts on a sweeping loop around Sleeping Giant.
There were a few crashes along the way, and cyclists had to focus while navigating the variable road conditions and checking out the scenery.
“Today was all about having good conversation and checking out bikes,” said Hayden resident Essam Welch, who was riding a vintage steel Moots bike built in 1981.
This was the first Ranch Rally for Brent Whittington, who, in the fall, bought Moots, which has been handbuilding bikes for 35 years.
Whittington spent his ride visiting with participants and customers.
“I call this my chamber of commerce ride,” Whittington said. “Anyone that comes to see me from out of town, I take them on that ride.”
One of the missions of the ride is to promote Routt County’s agricultural heritage, and it exposes city folk to local food producers and their ranches.
Near the end of the ride, participants stopped for lunch at the Rocking C Bar Ranch, owned by Doc and Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agricultural Alliance and a third-generation Routt County rancher.
“This is a way to let them know that agriculture is still important,” Doc Daughenbaugh said.
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State of Colorado Water Commissioner Scott Hummer, whose position administers water rights in south Routt County, said longtime ranching families fear this is the worst year for water availability in their lifetimes.