Biking the Boat Charity Ride returns to Steamboat with variety of race lengths

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— In a summer packed with bike races, few rides transcend competition and make the event an experience. Julie Taulman, director of Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports, wants the program’s third annual Biking the Boat Gran Fondo Charity Ride to make that transition.

“The thing we really love about this event is there’s really a ride for everyone,” Taulman said. “Everybody comes out to enjoy the day and enjoy the ride and then enjoy the party afterward.”

It is in that spirit that the event has thrown a 100-mile Gran Fondo ride into its variety of race lengths that also include a 55-mile loop, a 26-mile loop and a 5-mile all-ability ride.

Gran Fondo is an Italian tradition where a community comes together and celebrates a day of riding, and this year’s charity ride hopes to embrace that idea of camaraderie.

“It gets families out riding together and gets our kids with disabilities riding with their families,” said Craig Kennedy, the event’s leading fundraiser.

Kennedy, who also works for STARS, is counting the race as an opportunity to not only support a cause he believes in but also accomplish a personal goal.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and finishing my first marathon on a hand cycle,” Kennedy said.

The races are scheduled for Aug. 4, and registration is available here.

Proceeds from the event will go to fund STARS programs, including skiing for injured veterans as part of the company’s Wounded Warrior initiative.

“Steamboat’s a very generous community with over 200 nonprofits,” Kennedy said, “so the fact that we get the support that we do speaks a lot to all that we do here.”

The cost to register is $100 for the Grand Fondo, $60 for the 55-mile ride, $25 for the 26-mile ride and $15 for the all-ability ride. Children younger than 5 can participate for free.

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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