Steamboat Springs After 41 years of riding off-road motorcycles, Yuba City, Calif., resident Bob Jensen sees recreational dirt bike rides as a way to instantly open up the outdoors.
"Can you ride 170 miles a day on a horse?" Jensen asked. "With a dirt bike, you can go where no man has gone before and see beautiful sights."
Jensen, the inventor and founder of No-Toil biodegradable filters, was perched in his RV on Thursday morning at the Steamboat Ski Area's Gondola Transit Center, the base for participants at the 14th annual Rocky Mountain 400.
Jensen was resting up for a motorcycle tour today that will close the three days of riding events that started Wednesday.
The invitation-only rides are sponsored by Parts Unlimited to reward the nation's top dealers according to sales volume of motocross race apparel by manufacturers such as Thor Motocross, Moose Racing and Alpinestars.
Scott Cameron, a Parts Unlimited sales representative whose territory covers Steamboat Springs, said the main riding group includes 150 riders from select dealerships from "coast to coast." In addition, significant numbers of sponsor riders, local guides, support vehicles and guest riders that include some of the biggest names in motocross, including seasoned Supercross champions such as Chad Reed and Jeremy McGrath, will join the group.
Steamboat alternates with Crested Butte every summer as host of the event.
Cameron said the pack of riders will not all converge on the same trail. Rather, they will spread out each day and rotate through a series of three "dual-sport" rides that cover everything from asphalt to double-track, four-wheeling trails and rolling mountain singletrack.
"We're going on everything from BLM to Forest Service and private access roads we have permission to use," Cameron said of the 200-mile North Park tour, the 100-mile trip in the Hahn's Peak area, and the 175-mile loop to the Kremmling area and back. "All the bikes are sound-checked at 96 decibels and street-legal."
Cameron mentioned the thousands of dollars the event generates in donations to the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition.
"Everybody loves it - it's fun and you get to talk shop with friends from different parts of the country," Cameron said. "You ride on- and off-road through the high desert, seeing some ranges with a little taste of everything Colorado has to offer. It's no competition and there's no trophies. You just try to finish and be healthy."
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