Tour de Steamboat back for its 12th ride Saturday | SteamboatToday.com

Tour de Steamboat back for its 12th ride Saturday

Austin Colbert

— Take away the competitive aspect of a race, and what you have left is a ride, which is exactly what the Eriksen Tour de Steamboat is all about.

"It's not a race at all. It's a non-competitive ride," said event organizer Katie Lindquist. "Riders are expected to be able to take care of all their own needs, follow the rules of the road and ride at their own pace. It's more of a challenge than a race."

The 12th annual Tour de Steamboat will get underway at 7 a.m. Saturday with three different distances available, the shorter two also having an optional 9 a.m. start. As of Wednesday afternoon, about 700 people had pre-registered, with online registration ending at noon Thursday.

Packet pick-up will take place from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at Ski Haus, located at 1457 Pine Grove Road. Limited in-person registration will occur Friday as well, with no day-of registration available.

"We are on schedule. We have to be," Lindquist said. "It's 100 percent volunteer effort. The board of directors and everybody involved are all volunteers. There are no paid positions. So people can be assured, all the money they donate, that they use for the ride entries, everything goes directly back to our local beneficiaries."

Returning as event beneficiaries are Routt County Riders, Partners of Routt County, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council. This is the final year of a three-year commitment to these organizations.

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Riders will have the option of choosing a 26, 40 or 110-mile route. All rides start and finish at Little Toots Park, located at 12th and Yampa streets in Steamboat Springs. Where riders go in between depends on how much of a challenge they are interested in.

Route 1 is the Classic Tour de Steamboat, which is approximately 110 miles, locally known as the "Gore Gruel." The route takes riders 37.5 miles down U.S. Highway 40 to Colorado Highway 134 and through Gore Pass. The return journey takes riders through South Routt, including Toponas, Yampa, Phippsburg and Stagecoach State Park. Routt County Road 14 will take riders back to Steamboat with a 6 p.m. close to the finish line.

Route 2 is the Stagecoach Out-n-Back, a 40-mile round-trip jaunt down U.S. 40 to Colorado Highway 14, where an aid station will greet riders at Stagecoach Reservoir before their return.

Route 3 is the Sidney Peak Ranch Ride, which takes riders to the Sidney Peak Ranch property, located along C.R. 14 on the way to Oak Creek. There is one aid station near the turnaround at mile 13.

"It's a long day in the saddle, that's for sure. That's why we give them such great aid stations," Lindquist said, mentioning there are five total aid stations for the 110-mile ride. "We get professional cyclists that come out. We get local pros, Colorado pros — they just join in because it's a fundraiser, so it really helps our community."

Riders can expect a bit of climbing, with the 110-mile ride climbing 7,559 feet, the 40-mile ride climbing 1,608 feet and the 26-mile ride climbing 951 feet.

This year's title sponsors are Shimano and Kent Eriksen Cycles.

For more information or to register before Thursday's noon deadline, visit tourdesteamboat.com.