Spoke Talk: Ranch Rally reflections
More than 150 riders were lucky enough to participate in the second annual Moots Ranch Rally. This 50-plus mile cyclosportive is gaining a statewide reputation as a go-to event, benefiting the local Community Agriculture Alliance, headed by the engaging and charismatic Marsha Daughenbaugh. CAA’s mission is “to preserve the agricultural heritage of the Yampa Valley by initiating, supporting and encouraging actions, programs and policies that mutually benefit and connect agricultural producers and consumers.” Perfect, as the heart of Routt County’s heritage is agriculture in nature. As a result, few could suggest a more worthwhile endeavor.
Many members of Routt County Riders sport more than one type of bike in their collections. Several Routt County Riders jerseys scattered amongst the rider population confirmed this fact. Riders both fast and leisurely reveled to participate in this fantastic event; visitors and locals recognize how lucky we are to live in such an amazing place. The more-than seven inches of rain in May — and a mud season some might argue seemed to dry at a glacial pace — meant the hills were bright green and vibrant.
As folks pedaled along — tires humming in the damp dirt road and cattle visible in the distance — it was easy to reminisce of one’s own heritage. My grandfather was a foreman for a cattle ranch just north of Steamboat in the windswept areas outside Pinedale, Wyoming. The stories are unique, but the goal was the same. Endure the hardship of going out on your own in hopes of finding a better way of life. Ironic that many who call Routt County home seek that same goal.
This gravel grinder style bike ride is not unique in the U.S., however our local version is arguably the best of the best. Local landmarks abound, including several area Centennial Ranches which have remained in the same family for more than 100 years. The route circles the 8,744-foot Sleeping Giant (aka Elk Mountain) just outside of town. Local scenery also included passing the Elk Mountain Cemetery, climbing through the Mystic area, a swing by Wolf Mountain, Deep Creek, Fly Gulch and lastly, back to the 44, running along Elk Creek. The blue sky and clear weather meant a stunning view of the 12,059-foot summit of Big Agnes in the eastern skyline.
This event illustrates the spirit of friendship and community. The Ranch Rally grows in the value it brings its participants and the CAA. For participants, the event meant morning snacks and coffee, a stellar ride, then finally a remarkable lunch at the Daughenbaugh Rocking Bar C Ranch, where local companies really stepped up to provide a one-of-a-kind, unique experience. For the CAA, this year’s Ranch Rally provided an amazing donation of $5,000. Not bad for a bike ride, huh?
Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling, be it road, gravel, trail, dirt jump or BMX. If you need help or advice, contact us. Find us at facebook.com/rcriders or email email@example.com.
Alan Perkins is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.
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