DENVER (July 13, 2011) – Colorado is geared up to take center stage as one of the world’s top cycling destinations with the debut of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in August. The state is home to one of the birthplaces of mountain biking, Crested Butte, as well as several legendary bike races, including the Leadville 100, in which champion riders like Lance Armstrong have competed.
Colorado plays host to the Assault on the Peak, one of the state’s up-and-coming road-biking events, as well as festivals celebrating biking, such as New Belgium Brewing Company’s Tour de Fat. The state also offers a variety of trails, paths, bike parks and bike-sharing programs for every kind of cyclist from commuters to racers.
This summer, explore the state on two wheels. Below is a sampling of Colorado cycling adventures for every speed:
■ July 16 – The Kaiser Permanente Moonlight Classic is a 10-mile, non-competitive late-night charity bike ride through Denver’s historic neighborhoods. The entire course will be closed to all automobile traffic, and participants are welcomed to ride as many laps as time permits when the course closes at 2 a.m. www.Moonlight-Classic.com
■ August 13 – The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race is among the most challenging mountain bike races in the country, featuring steep climbs and serious descents at elevations in excess of 12,000 feet. Although this year’s mountain bike race is full, thousands will travel to Leadville to watch and cheer on their favorites. www.VisitLeadvilleCo.com/trail_100
■ August 13 – The Stonewall Century is a challenging road bike ride in southern Colorado that starts and ends in La Veta. Be treated to scenic vistas, friendly volunteers, great feed stations, and steep hills. The route follows Highway 12, a Colorado Scenic Byway known as the "Highway of Legends." http://www.SPCycling.org/stonewall-century.php
■ August 21 – Women, Wheels & Wine: Back by popular demand, the 3rd Annual Women, Wheels & Wine brings together all levels of mountain bike enthusiasts. Led by members of Yeti Beti Team, Yeti brings demo bikes for participants to use or try. The day long event includes professional instruction, a catered lunch at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash, tips on bike fit, training and maintenance, yoga and a wine and cheese reception. www.DevilsThumbRanch.com
■ August 22–28 – USA Pro Cycling Challenge: After more than 20 years, world-class professional cycling returns to Colorado with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. This grueling professional bicycle stage race will take some of the world’s best riders through Colorado’s most scenic yet challenging routes in 11 cities and towns across the state. www.USAProCyclingChallenge.com
■ August 28 – 2nd Annual Assault on the Peak: This event will provide cycling enthusiasts with the opportunity to ascend America's most famous mountain. The 24.5-mile route is one of the most challenging organized cycling events in the world, ascending close to 8,000 vertical feet from Manitou Springs to the Pikes Peak summit at 14,115 feet. www.RidePikesPeak.com
■ September 3 – Tour de Fat: New Belgium Brewing’s traveling celebration of all things bicycle will make its mark on its home town of Fort Collins, singing the praises of the bike life while raising funds for local non-profits. Tour de Fat is more than an event; it’s a rite of passage that includes a costumed bicycle parade, New Belgium beer, eye-popping entertainment, local food, bizarre bike contests and much more. www.NewBelgium.com/events/tour-de-fat.aspx
■ September 10–11 – 35th Annual Pearl Pass Mountain Bike Tour: This oldest mountain bike event in the world runs from Crested Butte to Aspen via Pearl Pass. In 1976, the first group of 15 or 20 cyclists from the Butte rode one-speed town bikes over the 12,705-foot Pearl Pass to Aspen. Today the event still celebrates Crested Butte as one of the birthplaces of mountain
■ September 17 – Tour de Vineyards: This 25-mile ride through the vineyards of Colorado’s Western Slope gives cyclists an opportunity to pass by the area’s wineries, as well as acres of fruit orchards. The event is located in the Grand Valley and is held during the Colorado Mountain Winefest.http://www.EMGColorado.com/race_tourvine.htm
■ September 24–25 – Four Corners Bike Fest: Two days of biking, music, beer and revelry are on tap for this event. A number of bike-related activities are included – Stanley’s Fat Tire Cross-Country Race, Wolf Creek Pass Race and the Citizens Ride. For the not-so-serious, there is a "slow" race, the "Bike Toss" and River Race, all in downtown Pagosa Springs. www.VisitPagosaSprings.com
■ Valmont Bike Park: The largest free urban bike park in America opened June 11 in Boulder. Valmont Bike Park is a 40-acre off-road bike park with competition-grade cyclo-cross racing trails, big dirt jumps, dual slalom tracks, pump tracks, and slope-style trails. The park is about the size of 30 football fields of off-road cycling for all levels of riders. Family friendly features include a trike track, a learning loop, a kids’ play area and more. www.ValmontBikePark.org
■ Fort Collins Bike Library is a free service for residents, students, and visitors to Fort Collins. They have a variety of self-guided tours ranging from brewery tours to historic tours, and an environmental learning tour along the scenic Cache La Poudre River Bike Trail. FC Bike Library members have the option of borrowing a variety of bicycles, bike trailers for children and cargo, as well as tandems, and tag-a-longs. Members can borrow the bike for as short as an hour or for as long as five days. www.FCBikeLibrary.org
■ Trestle Bike Park: Featuring 37 miles of downhill trails and over 200 features, the park offers programs for beginners to experts in Winter Park. What sets Trestle Bike Park above other parks is the flow of the professionally designed trail system by thier partners, Gravity Logic, a HUGE beginner experience with the wildly successful Trestle 101 lesson program, the largest rental and high-end demo fleet in the United States, camps geared specifically for women and youth, plus more days made available for riding during the summer compared to any other park in Colorado. www.TrestleBikePark.com
■ B-Cycle: Denver B-cycle is the first large-scale municipal bike sharing system in the United States. There are bike stations (B-stations) in downtown Denver as well as the Cherry Creek and Denver University neighborhoods. B-cycle members are able to pick up one of the red bikes at any B-station and drop it off at any B-station. Bike sharing makes it economical and convenient to use bikes for trips that are too far to walk but too short to drive. B-cycle also launched in Boulder in May 2011. www.Denver.BCycle.com,www.Boulder.BCycle.com
■ Bike the Byways Program promotes bicycling along the state’s 25 designated Scenic Byways routes. Colorado’s byways are scattered throughout the state and incorporate both paved and gravel roads. Routes range from a short 19-mile ride near Sterling, to a breath-taking trip to the top of Mt. Evans, to a multi-day tour deep in the San Juans. Cyclists are encouraged to register for free on the Bike the Byways Web site and check off each byway they complete. www.BikeByways.org
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