Tour de Steamboat, a local staple, won’t technically be canceled but will look different this year
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The board of directors for the Tour de Steamboat was determined to host the ride that has become a Steamboat staple each summer.
Plan A, of course, was to go on as scheduled with no changes. Plan B, would still bring people to town, but under strict protocols and with a mitigation plan. Since neither of those will be feasible come July 18, the originally scheduled race day, they moved on to Plan C.
Plan C is what they are calling the COVID-19 Edition of the Tour de Steamboat, COVID-19 Edition, or CE-TDS. It’s also been dubbed the Tour de You, since it’s a more personalized version of the ride, which raises money for local nonprofits.
Kicking off on the originally planned race day, the 2020 Tour de Steamboat will take place from July 18 to Aug. 2. Registered riders can use any day between those dates to ride on a typical course in Steamboat Springs, or map out a similar one wherever they live. They can choose the day, the weather, start time and of course, the pace. The two-week span should also decrease and potential cyclist traffic on the routes that would occur if it were held on a single day.
“Canceling is the easy way out, because we are working our butts off to make this event happen and keep people engaged and (give them) value for what they’ve spent,” said race co-director Katie Lindquist.
While Lindquist doesn’t want to let the registered riders down, she also doesn’t want to leave the four main beneficiaries hanging. Each year, Tour de Steamboat gives about $25,000 to four local nonprofits. Those beneficiaries will likely receive half of what they usually do from the Tour de Steamboat since 600 riders have registered, half of the usual amount.
That money is gifted to Partners in Routt County, South Routt Recreation Association, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council and REPS (Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide). The gift will likely be half of the usual amount this year.
“We’re happy for our sake as well as the sake of the riders that Tour de Steamboat is still able to provide some sort of an event during this tough time,” said Willa Seybolt, communications and operations manager at Partners in Routt County. “I’m happy that we’re making the effort to do that. … We’re really appreciative of people for the people who are still letting their money go to a really important cause.”
Supporting the riders
Tour de Steamboat has always looked out for its participants, providing them with aid stations chock full of snacks and electrolytes. Despite not taking in as much money from registration this year, the Tour de Steamboat is still taking the time to give the cyclists that have registered, as much as they can.
“We’re spending more money on items for our riders because they’re going to need it to support themselves,” said Lindquist.
Riders will receive a swag bag, either at a local pickup or via mail, filled with snacks to pack for the ride, a COVID-19 edition protective buff and many other goodies. If a rider signs up for a longer ride, such as the 100-mile gravel gruel, they’ll receive more than riders who sign up for the 26-mile ride, since they have more ground to cover.
Registrants will also receive a post-ride beer ticket, redeemable at a few locations in Steamboat, as well as a T-shirt and automatic entry into a drawing to win three prizes, including a Custom Titanium Bingham bike. There won’t be a post-ride barbecue, but Alpine Bank is instead sponsoring a food ticket that is redeemable at Yampa Valley Sandwich Co. Lindquist is hoping to lock down at least one other place riders can feast after completing their route.
Tour de Steamboat has also updated their maps on the website, marking where public restrooms can be found near Stagecoach State Park, and where riders can pick up food, drinks and supplies at Bonfiglio’s Drug Store in Oak Creek and Montgomery’s General Store in Yampa.
Those maps are downloadable, printable and social media compatible since routes will not be marked this year.
Between now and July 18, the Tour de Steamboat will publish tips on self-supported riding, route navigation and more.
“We’re able to do this, because it’s a ride,” said Lindquist. “You can’t put on an event that’s a race and expect the enthusiasm. It’s not the same format. I feel like we’re in a positive position to do this. I’m really proud of our team for rallying and putting on a completely different event.”
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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