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Yampa gets ready for Ride the Rockies

Porta-potties proliferate to combat roadside urination

— Organizers of Ride the Rockies, the bike tour that will swing through South Routt Tuesday, say they hope visions of bicyclists urinating on the side of the highway won’t be as prevalent as those sights were in 1998.

More than 2,000 riders are expected to roll through the upper Yampa Valley on an 80-mile leg of the 432-mile journey throughout the state.

The bike riders will weave their way through the windy roads of Colorado 131 and County Road 14 , some stopping at the six aid stations along the way. The bikers are making their way from Edwards to Steamboat Springs.



Steamboat is one of eight host cities for Ride the Rockies, which started on June 16 in Crested Butte and ends on Friday in Boulder.

The last time the tour went through South Routt, in 1998, there were some problems at the aid station in Yampa because some riders did not use the portable toilets set up at South Routt Elementary School, Yampa town trustees have said.



Ride the Rockies Tour Director Paul Balaguer has told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that organizers have tried to rectify the problem by spending $45,000 to supply more moveable toilets.

“I’m taking this problem very seriously,” Balaguer said Friday.

Sixty-six portable toilets have been dispersed at the six aid stations along the bike route in South Routt, with 24 more to be set up in Steamboat Springs.

An aid station in Yampa this year, across from Lombardi’s Rite Stop, will have at least 11 toilets, Balaguer said.

Like all the aid stations, the one in Yampa will be on the east side of the road. Balaguer said the Colorado State Patrol doesn’t want bike riders to cross traffic to get to stations because it could create safety hazards.

In 1998, the tour went southbound through South Routt County into Yampa, which some bicyclists converted into a portable toilet.

This year, after two stops between Edwards and State Bridge and another at McCoy, the riders will be able to pull over at the Toponas Country Store where owner Russ Gehl will be hosting an aid station.

Gehl said he didn’t think riders urinating on the side of the road is any different than area livestock doing their business in a field.

Balaguer said the urination problem is a bigger issue when the tour goes through a town and said he hopes rides will wait to relieve themselves in a proper place.

The tour is bypassing Oak Creek, taking C.R. 14 through Stagecoach, where the last aid station will be set up.

Stagecoach State Park Manager Fred Bohlmann said he isn’t expecting any problems and, from what he has seen, the race is well organized.

“This is pretty low key,” he said. “The bikers stop to use the bathroom, get some fluids and go on their way.”


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