AVON — The 12th annual Colorado-Eagle River Ride will be one to remember, say the Lestikows, of Vail.
A yearly challenge for the family, this year their group grew to 10 participants, all of whom completed the 100-mile challenge on Saturday.
But for others at the annual ride, elements such as celebrity basketball star Bill Walton’s participation in the event will make it memorable.
Walton completed the 42-mile version of the challenge.
In between the 100-mile and the 42-mile challenge was the 68-mile race, which competitors such as John Garrison, of Englewood, said was more than enough for them.
“At about mile 50 I started feeling like I couldn’t ride any more,” Garrison said. “I puked twice but I finished. I don’t think I could have rode one more mile.”
The annual Colorado-Eagle River Ride takes nearly 1,000 participants from Beaver Creek to U.S. Highway 131 heading toward Steamboat Springs, where they met the famous Colorado River Road, a well-maintained dirt road which most riders agree is their favorite part of the day.
Garrison, a 40-year veteran of the sport of rock climbing, said he recently injured his toe and is unable to climb, and he just picked up cycling six weeks ago as a way to replace rock climbing.
“The bike is now my salvation to be healthy,” he said.
The bike Garrison was referring to was one of the heavier at the event, an older model Garrison got on loan from a friend.
“My buddy used to use this bike when he was in high school, many years ago,” Garrison said. “It was a great way to get us all together for a good cause out there, but next year I’m going to get some lighter equipment and attempt the 100-mile.”
Next year, Garrison may not find as suitable conditions.
River Ride regular Don Remey said this year’s cooler, cloudy weather made the ride a little less brutal.
Remey is 71 years old and completed the 100-mile challenge for the third year in a row again on Saturday, an accomplishment he strives for every summer.
“I ride 25-30 miles a day to get ready for it,” he said. “When I get home, I take a cold bath, kick my feet up and enjoy a beer.”
100-mile race for 80-year-old?
The oldest person to participate in the event this year was 77-year-old Fred Deming, of New Jersey, who rode the 68-mile course.
“My goal is to do the 100-mile when I’m 80,” Remey said.
The River Ride is the biggest fundraiser of the year for SOS Outreach, which strives to help underserved youth with a life-changing leadership development and adventure sport curriculum.
Staff Writer John LaConte can be reached at 970-748-2988 or jlaconte@vail daily.com.
“It was a great way to get us all together for a good cause out there, but next year I’m going to get some lighter equipment and attempt the 100-mile.”