Steamboat Springs Before skiing became Steamboat Springs’ claim to fame, the town’s ranching roots were firmly set, deep in Routt County's rich history.
And as Steamboat’s quest to become a dual threat — Ski Town USA as well as Bike Town USA — took hold, the blend of its past and present culture has progressed.
These days, as the snow runs off the Yampa Valley’s surrounding peaks and drains into its miles of nearby creeks and rivers, road bikes and mountain bikes are pulled from garages as cyclists swarm the town from May through October.
The mountain bike trails are plentiful, with even more singletrack on the way. The road cyclists are a bit more limited, though, to the paved roads in town and the outside lanes of U.S. Highway 40, Colorado State Highway 131 and other major roadways.
The roads a little less traveled wind through Routt County’s vast ranch land along Routt County Roads 44 and 42.
As more and more cyclists hit rural roadways, Moots marketing manager Jon Cariveau explained the importance of expanding cyclists’ ventures while also bonding with the prominent Routt County agricultural community.
On Saturday, the bike manufacturing company is hosting its first Moots Ranch Rally, a 50-mile non-competitive benefit ride through some of these vast ranching community roads.
“That’s the tie-in,” Cariveau said Monday just outside the Rocking C Bar Ranch along C.R. 44, owned by Doc and Marsha Daughenbaugh. “A lot of us at Moots ride out this way. You end up meeting a lot of people on the side of the road — these ranchers. We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do one of our favorite loops as a benefit ride?’”
The group ride — which will be limited to 100 riders — will begin and end at the Moots headquarters on Copper Ridge Drive. Of the 50-mile route, only 5 miles are on pavement, with the other 45 on rural dirt and gravel roads.
The route will pass by multiple centennial ranches, and all proceeds from the ride will go directly to the Community Agriculture Alliance.
“Obviously, ag is still so important out here, and we want to appreciate it,” Moots public relations manager Cathy Wiedemer said. “We just thought it would be a nice relationship.”
And Wiedemer insists the style of bike that cyclists own shouldn’t scare them away from taking on the Ranch Rally and the hefty off-pavement terrain. Moots recommends that road bikes have no less than a 28-millimeter tire, that cross bikes have a 30- or 32-millimeter tire with semi-slick tread and that mountain bikes have a 1.5-inch-wide tire.
Cariveau said although it's a more casual ride — one that won't be timed and a winner won't be crowned — it does include some endurance-testing stretches.
"You can ride in groups and at your own pace. It's not a race," he said. "It's a ride. They do a lot of these in the U.S. and Europe. It's kind of like a cycle sportive, but it's challenging with 2,400 of vertical climbing and constant rolling."
Course marshals will be on duty, and the company will supply a mechanical-support van, should riders need the assistance.
Registration is available on Moots’ website for $75. Registration comes with a care package and an automatic entry to the after-party raffle, where a Moots frame is up for grabs. Saturday’s ride begins at 9 a.m., and the after-party social is from 4 to 7 p.m.
To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll