28th Sonnenalp Casual Bicycle Classic ride benefits ECO Trails

Andrew McGregor, ECO Trails Program Manager Ellie Caryl and Gary Thornton celebrate the Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation's successful 28th Annual Casual Bicycle Classic benefitting ECO Trails. Caryl oversees the planning and construction of the 63 mile long Eagle Valley Regional Trail System.
Betty Ann Woodland | Special to the Daily |

A picture perfect Colorado Rocky Mountain day greeted the early morning bicyclists who ventured out and partook of the Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation’s 28th annual Casual Bicycle Classic ride from Breckenridge to Vail. A handful of hardy folks did the round trip starting in Vail at about 7 a.m. to complete the 76 mile out and back. Most of the cyclists took the ECO Transit shuttle over to Breckenridge to begin the ride.

Some sweet stories emerged as the day went on, while people shared their experiences along the trail. Lori Wachendorfer told us that she was riding with her son, Ryan.

“Ryan promised me to ride in the Casual Classic for my Mother’s Day gift and I am collecting on that promise today. I think that the mothers out there would appreciate that,” Wachendorfer beamed.

Suzette Newman has been doing this organized ride for almost 10 years. This year, she needed to stop on occasion to field phone calls and check in on her husband at home. Chad and Kelli Holtz were celebrating their wedding anniversary on the winding, mountain trail from Breckenridge to Vail, which must have been a romantic testimony to their strength, togetherness and love for the outdoors.

ECO Trails has been the recipient of funds generated by the Casual Classic the past nine years and program manager Ellie Caryl is thrilled with the collaboration.

Support Local Journalism

“We really appreciate the Sonnenalp for this amazing event that they host to benefit ECO Trails,” Caryl said. “They are so gracious. We have this huge mission of having a trail from Glenwood Springs to Summit County and every contribution helps us get closer to our goal.”

Caryl complimented former Mayor of Vail Dick Cleveland who is also the Chairman of the ECO Trails committee for spearheading trails projects. “He contacted the right people at CDOT and got everyone interested, in part, because it is good for economics. That is why the trails are so beautiful now,” Caryl said.

John and Marcia Wild did the ride both ways and were at the Bully Ranch Bar and Restaurant afterwards enjoying the incredible lunch and refreshments. John was ordering a second Paulaner draft beer justified by his round trip efforts. “I rode it twice, so I earned two beers,” Wild said.

Johannes and Rosana Faessler and their children Francesca and Sebastian were the quintessential hosts and Johannes made sure to thank all their sponsors, riders, staff and guests. Executive Director of the Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation, Michele Davis did a wonderful job of organizing yet another class act of a group ride that really should be on the must do list.

For more information contact or call ECO Trails at 970-328-3523.

Support Local Journalism