Organizers have big plans for Bike Week

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— Some of it was planned. Some of it was just the way it was.

Either way, organizers of the looming inaugural Steamboat Springs Bike Week are hoping the event can help grow the city’s Bike Town USA brand, allow new and growing events to share each other's publicity and give bike lovers in Steamboat Springs and across the state a venue to celebrate their sport.

“It’s huge,” Bike Town’s Doug Davis said. “It’s just cool to showcase what we have, and this week will do that.”

The idea of a bike week came about when it became clear Steamboat would get a stop on the 2013 USA Pro Challenge stage race and that the dates for that stop — Aug. 21 and 22 — came just a few days after what is to be the third iteration of the Steamboat Stinger mountain bike race and running trail marathon, set for Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

“I was looking at doing my Enduro X events at that same time, and we just said, ‘Let’s create a whole event bookended on both sides of the Pro Challenge arriving in Steamboat,’” said David Scully, who helped put the week together.

The first events of the week come on Saturday, with the first day of the Steamboat Stinger and the Enduro X downhill mountain bike competitions, which both are two-day events in their own right.

The 50-mile Stinger mountain bike race will again take place on Emerald Mountain, and again this year, it proved overwhelming popular. The mountain bike portion, which begins at 8 a.m., sold out quickly.

The Enduro X series, meanwhile, returns Saturday after a two-day debut in Steamboat in June. The first of the two weekend races begins at 3:30 p.m. at the top of the gondola with awards scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

Other events are planned during the week, and the end result is something that should keep Steamboat cyclists in the saddle from weekend to weekend with the Wednesday and Thursday stages of the USA Pro Challenge serving as a massive mid-week tent post.

“We wanted to parlay the Pro Challenge into a bigger event,” Davis said. “There were some things already on the calendar, and we brought some other things together so it can all get more exposure.”

The week includes rides with Moots employees Monday and Eriksen Cycles employees Friday. The Steamboat Springs Triathlon is scheduled for Sunday morning, and a bike-in movie presented by the 5Point Film Festival based in Carbondale is set for Tuesday evening.

The BMX track will play host to a cancer-fighting Race for Life leukemia benefit Thursday, then Friday there’s an art cruiser ride that plans to hit a series of downtown galleries, restaurants and businesses featuring cycling-related art.

The Ride 4 Yellow fundraiser originally was to serve as an anchor at the end of the week, but when that event opted not to return this summer, the Emerald Mountain Epic ride stepped in. That event, beginning at 9 a.m. Aug. 24., is raising funds for the United States Ski and Snowboard Association’s Rocky Mountain Division and its Gold Medal initiative, which seeks to help put a native Colorado winter sports athlete on the Olympic gold medal podium.

The week will include elements of nearly every type of riding available in Steamboat, the variety of which is one of the major selling points in trying to draw more bike tourism to town.

“It’s only going to get bigger,” Scully said. “I see the events growing larger. I see more events getting added to the schedule. I can see the reach being further. We have the name ‘Bike Town USA.' Now it's time to leverage that and put events where our mouth is and start filling in with what we have to offer."

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253 or email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com

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