Cyclists roll out on Yampa Street at the start of Saturday's Tour de Steamboat.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Cyclists roll out on Yampa Street at the start of Saturday's Tour de Steamboat.

Tour de Steamboat cycling event continues as labor of love

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Cyclists ride onto Lincoln Avenue at the start of Saturday's Tour de Steamboat.

— Four local nonprofit organizations will reap the benefits from a record turnout during the 10th anniversary of the Kent Eriksen Cycles Tour de Steamboat road cycling event Saturday.

With more than 700 riders participating in the event this year, Tour de Steamboat co-founder Katie Lindquist expected the beneficiaries would receive $10,000 each.

“We’ll probably exceed that,” Lindquist said.

Those groups are Routt County Riders, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, Partners in Routt County and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

The cyclists rolled out at 7 a.m from 12th and Yampa streets and rode 26-, 40- and 110-mile courses.

“It’s phenomenal,” Matt Lieven said after returning from the long ride, also referred to as the Gore Gruel because it traverses three mountain passes, including Gore Pass. “The weather was beautiful. The climbs were awesome.”

This was Lieven’s first time riding in the event. He and his wife moved to Steamboat in the fall after their house burned down in the Waldo Canyon Fire last summer. They lost everything, including seven bikes.

People from 32 states participated in this event, which was staffed by about 75 volunteers who ran everything from the five aid stations to the food line at the post-ride barbecue at Little Toots Park.

Lindquist said the seasoned volunteers are what make the event possible.

She also credited the increase of 200 cyclists over last year to word-of-mouth.

“It’s kind of been a best-kept secret for a while,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist revived the Tour de Steamboat 10 years ago with Brad Cusenbary. Before that, her husband, Kent Eriksen, ran the event as a race.

Cusenbary and Lindquist had been the organizers of the 24-hour mountain biking race in Steamboat, and they started the Tour de Steamboat as a for-profit endeavor. During the first couple of years, between 150 and 200 locals participated in the relatively small-scale event.

Lindquist said that when Cusenbary was diagnosed with cancer, they decided to make it into a charity event with all the proceeds going to The Sunshine Kids, an organization that gives vacations to kids with cancer.

“Brad had cancer, we were passionate about what we were doing and it just felt good,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist said that she and Cusenbary this past year tried to sell the Tour de Steamboat event, but they did not get a good offer.

Instead, Lindquist took over the event and made it into a fundraiser for local causes.

“It got us more riders,” Lindquist said. “It got us more sponsors.”

For Lindquist, board members and event volunteers, it continues to be a labor of love.

“I still love it, and I see it as the same intimate experience" as it was in the beginning, Lindquist said.

The four nonprofits have been identified as the beneficiaries for this year and the next two years.

This was the first year that Eriksen sat out the ride. His knee had swollen up for an unknown reason.

Instead, he watched as the riders and some of his handmade titanium bikes crossed the finish line.

“I’m out there trying to cheer on everyone and congratulating them,” Eriksen said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

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Comments

walt jones 1 year, 1 month ago

I'm stunned none of these folks were hit by cars/trucks. I passed most of them and these riders were riding in groups of 10-15 and not moving into a line when traffic was present. I saw one car nearly taken out by a semi because the car was over so far cause the bike riders felt entitled to the ENTIRE road. Maybe roads with wide shoulders should be selected instead of ones without any shoulder room. Also once again where is the etiquette???????

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Pat West 1 year, 1 month ago

Walt, I'm with you, why is US-40 from Kremmling to Muddy pass without a shoulder? Driving this in winter it would be nice to have a margin of error larger than a single lane, to give plows and oncommong traffic more room. I would rather see shoulders and passing lanes on US-40 than wildlife tunnels on Hwy-9.

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Robin Craigen 1 year ago

I agree Pat, the roads are barely adequate for the current needs. Let's hope there is a long term plan to make the roads safer for everyone.

As to the overtaking issues, the current law requires motor vehicles give a minimum of 3 feet when passing, so with the narrow roads in the county it means in many cases you will have to cross the mid-line of the road. It amazes me that motorists faced with this choice are reluctant to make use of the entire oncoming lane when overtaking. Honesty, what is the difference, unless you are looking to make a point of some kind? Many motorists were extremely considerate this weekend which was much appreciated. A few cut it close unnecessarily. Sharing the road does not mean you are entitled to take unnecessary risks. A small dose of patience would go a long way...

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walt jones 1 year ago

Robin, even though you are correct about overtaking rules do you think it's acceptable that riders bunch up in packs and take up the road from the yellow to white lines making it even more of a risk for vehicles to pass??

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Pat West 1 year ago

Walt, are you talking about groups of cyclists in a 700 person charity ride that is organized, advertised and permitted by law enforcement, or daily riders?

I think a large organized group charity ride should be allowed different rules due the the size and scope of the event, while casual riders should make an effort to stay to the right and not hold up traffic. But Colorado law does allow cyclists to ride two abreast.

I'm sorry that so many of the events that make Steamboat's summertime special, and attract outside visitors have caused a delay in your travels. Robin is right on when he says a little patience goes a long way. Slow down and enjoy the drive, what's the rush?

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Robin Craigen 1 year ago

Walt, I don't think that it is acceptable that cyclists bunch up and slow other road users unnecessarily or deliberately, but that is not typically what is happening.

The fact that cyclists may ride in a group speaks to the nature of cycling - it is something frequently shared and I see nothing wrong in people riding together, even two abreast (see my post above about 3 feet to pass - it makes little or no difference to the overtaking vehicle once they cross the centerline). Larger groups like this past weekend is a matter of "sharing the road" with an event and for the infrequent occasions that this happens I see no difference between that and "sharing our supermarket isles" with the many weekly visitors we see in our town. It requires a little more patience and understanding that this is what comes with the territory of a community that attracts outside visitors.

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Scott Wedel 1 year ago

3 feet to pass is ridiculous if the passing riders are left of the white line and there is traffic.

Cyclists that feel a need to swerve that far into the traffic flow to pass other cyclists are a menace to others and put their lives at risks.

If you are going to have be left of the white line to pass and think you need to give the overtaken riders more than a foot then wait until the traffic clears.

Because this is a rural area with generally less traffic, there are unfortunately far too many cyclists that never learn good bike handling skills or good judgment in dealing with traffic. Too many riders here would have too many close calls if they rode the same way on busier highways.

I've seen cyclists about to pass other cyclists and given them what would be plenty of room and then suddenly they right next to me 5 feet from the white line. Another driver might not have seen the cyclists passing each other and not have given them room and then that cyclist would have been killed.

If you cannot confidently ride on the white line that might be 4 inches from the edge of pavement then learn how to do it. You don't need to always ride like that around here, but when some RV with a trailer starts to pass you and then sees an oncoming car then you better be able to take as little of the road as possible.

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Pat West 1 year ago

Scott, the cyclist has the right to use the road. Law mandates riding as far right as safely possible, where in the lane that safe place is, is determined by the cyclist, and the roadway, not your 4in ruler. There is no requirement to ride on the white line, in fact the white line isn't there for any reason but to show drivers in poor weather the edge of the road surface.

3 feet is the law, even if you deem it ridiculous. Learn the laws that concern your use of the road or quit driving.

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Scott Wedel 1 year ago

Pat,

I bicycle commuted for years in San Jose. I am speaking as a cyclist that dealt with heavy traffic on a daily basis and often on streets with narrow shoulders.

A cyclist can proclaim whatever rights to the road. But any cyclist that expects a semi to drop from 65 to 15 mph because cyclists are well into the traffic lane are not going to be alive for long. And the truck driver may not be at fault because he might not have enough distance to safely slow down, there was oncoming traffic and he didn't expect the cyclist to swerve 5 feet into the traffic lane in order to give 3 feet to the overtaken cyclist.

A cyclist on a narrow highway that is well used will discover that vehicles will move over to pass, but if they are surprised by oncoming traffic then they will avoid the head on collision and move right even if not clear of the cyclist.

I did not say that cyclists are legally required to be able to ride the white line within inches of the edge of pavement. I am suggesting that is an useful skill because there are times in which there will be very little room left for the cyclist and the cyclist is the loser in any collision.

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Pat West 1 year ago

Scott, I'm sorry you do know it all and I will not ever post against you.

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