What is Ride The Rockies?
In 1986, 1,500 cyclists pedaled off on a 300-plus mile citizen’s tour that crossed three mountain passes and became an annual tradition called Ride The Rockies. The tour that Outside Magazine called a “celebration of fitness” now celebrates its 33rd year as a beloved Colorado institution sponsored by the Denver Post Community Foundation. Ride The Rockies embraces not only cyclists but the towns, sponsors, volunteers and Colorado residents who enjoy following the annual multi-day event.
While the Tour route changes each year, the benefits and responsibilities of each host community remain the same. Benefits include publicity, positive economic impact, fundraising opportunities and a grant provided to an eligible non-profit agency in each host town by The Denver Post Community Foundation. Cyclists in 2018 spent an average of $250,000 in a 24-hour period in each town and many planned to return at a later date as tourists. Host communities provide alternative lodging, inexpensive community meals and entertainment.
Riders on past Ride The Rockies have represented all 50 states and 18 foreign countries. Ride The Rockies is a non-competitive event open to cyclists of all ages and participants are encouraged to ride at their own pace.
Proceeds from Ride The Rockies benefit The Denver Post Community Foundation. All funds raised are returned directly to Colorado nonprofits.
The 34th Annual Ride The Rockies Bike Tour, is again a loop like 2018. Starting in Crested Butte, the 2019 Route has great highs with peaks including Monarch Pass, Independence Pass and McClure Pass and wonderful lows as you meander through both the Gunnison and Roaring Fork Valleys.
The Gunnison-Crested Butte region has escaped the contiguous development of many ski valleys in the American West. The legacy ranching community is strong, and working ranches stretch from the south of the valley all the way to the most northern points. You will pass through many or stay in the many welcoming communities of the area including Gunnison, Almont, Crested Butte, and Mount Crested Butte.
Another highlight is Buena Vista where 14,000-foot peaks abound in its vicinity. After climbing Monarch Pass the route will ride alongside the College Peaks such as Princeton, Yale, Harvard and Columbia. Breathtaking views of the Rocky Mountains and the Arkansas River cut a magical valley, and gives you the “postcard perfect” views from every angle.The day will end at Riverside Park where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the Arkansas River and the warm hospitality of the community of Buena Vista.
Independence Pass is the Queen Stage of the Tour providing both climbing and descending challenges. The 12,095-foot Independence Pass is a visual feast with vistas of wildflowers, thick forests and ample wildlife. The day will end in Snowmass, the first time RTR has stayed in this community.
The Roaring Fork Valley, encompassing Snowmass and Carbondale, is the quintessential Colorado Rocky Mountain high. Like Buena Vista, this valley is surrounded by 14er’s providing amazing vistas. From the Roaring Fork Valley you travel to Delta County an area of small country farms, orchards burgeoning with fruit and winemakers. The host community of Hotchkiss has an infectious enthusiasm.
From Hotchkiss you will head to the Black Canyon of Gunnison, As Colorado’s own Grand Canyon, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison will leave yu speechless with its beauty and dramatic landscape.
We return to Gunnison, fondly known as Gunny but the locals, you will be hosting a celebratory street party for all the riders. It is a great day to celebrate as the final day travels from Gunny to Mt. Crested Butte, a shorter day ending with a steep climb.
Like many of the previous tours on Ride The Rockies the goal is to showcase the beautiful Rocky Mountain state of Colorado. This year’s tour is guaranteed to convince you to not only come back to visit but to maybe to stay forever.