DENVER — The annual Denver Post Ride the Rockies Cycling Tour sponsored by Flexential today announced it is finally getting to celebrate its 35th year June 13th - 18th as the beloved Colorado institution, and one of the Denver Post Community Foundation’s signature events. The 35th anniversary tour was postponed in 2020 due to event restrictions from COVID.
Over the last 6 months spearheaded by Deirdre Moynihan, Tour Director for Ride The Rockies, a group of seven Colorado based bike tours, all with events over 1500 participants, organized a COVID mitigation task force to review each and every aspect of bike tours and make recommendations for best operating procedures.
“In 2020, the sport of cycling flourished, as one of the activities people could safely do on their own during the pandemic. On the other hand, bike tours were hindered by the necessary restrictions and mandates with only a few small bike tours able to occur. As we approach the 2021 season, there is renewed hope that the bike tours can move forward with appropriate risk mitigation,” commented Ride The Rockies Tour Director, Deirdre Moynihan.
Ride the Rockies is closely monitoring the Colorado state COVID mandates and has made sure to stay within all guidelines.
This year’s tour features the stunning roads of southwest Colorado, with the start and finish situated in Durango, one of the Centennial State’s most popular outdoor recreation and tourism destinations.
And for the third year in a row, the Ride the Rockies route is a loop, simplifying logistics while taking riders on a breathtaking adventure around one of the most scenic areas in all of Colorado. Besides Durango, other host communities along this 6-day, 418-mile clockwise tour include Cortez, Norwood, and Ouray County. Along the way are challenging uphill encounters with Lizard Head Pass, Red Mountain Pass, Molas Pass, and Coal Bank Pass, which together account for the bulk of the route’s 28,484 feet of climbing.
During — and between — those ascents is a bounty of spectacular scenery. Indeed, the 2021 route rolls along the banks of the Animas River, winds through Southern Ute Tribal Land, climbs the Uncompahgre Plateau, and ventures deep (and high) into the San Juan Mountains. This year’s route also includes a few forays off pavement and onto packed dirt roads, which means less time on busier roads and a little extra adventure. Add it all up and this will truly be the bike ride of a lifetime.
“Access to trails, good weather and a bike friendly community are just a few reasons why Durango has more cycling national champions, world champions and Olympians per capita than anywhere else,” said Rachel Brown with Visit Durango. “We are excited to welcome back riders after a long year, to experience Durango’s world class cycling, hospitality and the stunning San Juan Mountains.”
Known for its beautiful vistas, RTR has added a new host community, Norwood, who will be host to Day 3 after cyclists have ridden 100 miles north from Cortez.
Also new this year will be two 1-day cycling options, Sunday, June 13th with a loop starting and ending in Durango and Thursday, June 17th, a loop starting and ending in Ridgway.
Some of the protocols in place for all event staff and participants include:
* Wear a mask when not riding their bicycle
* Maintain 6’ social distance
* Must be healthy to participate. Participants will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test result within 3 days of the start of the event.
* Answer a health screening questionnaire no more than 48 hours prior to the event
* Wash or sanitize hands frequently
* No sharing of equipment
* Follow all COVID protocols as laid out by Ride The Rockies
* Provide a list of lodging for the event should contact tracing is needed
* Sign a Social Contract confirming that they understand the protocols and will follow them
A strict “one strike you are out” policy must be in effect and enforced. Any person that does not follow the COVID protocols puts others at risk as well as the event and will be asked to leave.
“For 35 years, Ride The Rockies has showcased some of the best places to visit, quaint back road towns, beautiful mountains passes and iconic landscapes. This year is no different. More than any other year, we are anxious to be back together and excited to support the towns hit hard from COVID. We are thrilled to welcome Norwood as a new host community and taking riders to a new place we haven’t experienced as a tour,” said Ride the Rockies Tour Director, Deirdre Moynihan.
Jason Sumner, cyclist and author who helped design the course, said, “I’m truly excited to get back on the bike and be around fellow cyclists. This year’s route has a little bit of everything, high mountain climbs, quiet country roads, amazing scenery, and some great host communities. It’s definitely going to be a ride to remember.”
Ride The Rockies is a non-competitive event that’s open to cyclists of all ages. Participants are encouraged to ride at their own pace. All registrations are on a first come, first serve basis, until the ride is sold out. Proceeds from the event benefit The Denver Post Community Foundation and all the funds raised are returned directly to Colorado nonprofits. Registration is open and a list of everything that the tour fee includes can be found on the website at https://www.ridetherockies.com/registration/.
To learn more about Ride the Rockies, please visit www.ridetherockies.com. To learn more about Ride the Rockies’ sponsor, Flexential, please visit www.flexential.com.