Tour returns

Tour de Steamboat returns for second year Aug. 12

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— After more than a decade hiatus in the mid-1990s, the Tour de Steamboat returns for its second installment in as many years.

The Aug. 12 tour, which will cover three passes, about 110 miles, and see more than 6,000 feet of elevation gain, will start and end in Steamboat.

Last year, the event drew 220 competitors, and Tour Director Katie Lindquist said she expects the same this year.

To go along with the race, competitors will receive a free T-shirt and food from Double Z. Competitors also have the option of making a donation to the Lance Armstrong Foundation or the Routt County Riders.

The tour starts at the base of the ski area, then travels over Rabbit Ears Pass, along U.S. Highway 134 and over Gore pass, then follows U.S. Highway 131 to Stagecoach and over Yellow Jacket Pass and then back to Steamboat.

"This is an endurance ride and a lot of climbing," Lindquist said. "Recently there has been a big popularity in the one-day and multiple-day tours so we wanted to put on an event for cyclists by cyclists."

In years past, the ride had a competitive niche to it, the past two years have moved toward the more rider-friendly tour format. For Lindquist, this element only adds to the event.

"It's such a fun event all around," she said. "It's so much better than a timed event. A lot less headaches and arguing."

Longtime competitor and former race director Kent Eriksen said the growth of the Tour de Steamboat and cycling in general is a good sign.

"Well, I just love cycling," he said. "It blows me away that there are so many people that participate in these events.

"A lot of locals do it. I guess that's what this Tour de Steamboat is all about. I bet half of them are local, and that's what is amazing to me."

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