Colorado-Eagle River Ride draws big crowd | VailDaily.com

Colorado-Eagle River Ride draws big crowd

Riders make their way down the Colorado River Road during the SOS Outreach Colorado-Eagle River Ride on Saturday in Bond. The 100-mile ride took riders along both the Colorado and Eagle rivers.

BEAVER CREEK — More than 500 riders took to the roads and trails in Eagle County for the Colorado-Eagle River Ride, benefiting SOS Outreach on Saturday.

The key word was ride, as opposed to swim, which is what the weather forecast looked like earlier in the week.

"The weather was spectacular. Someone called in a favor," joked SOS Outreach executive director Seth Ehrlich.

Pick your bike and route

Road riders had their choice of 100-, 68- and 42-mile routes, starting at Beaver Creek on combinations of U.S. Highway 6, Colorado 131 and the Colorado River Road. Meanwhile mountain-bikers, a new group for the 15th edition of this event, did the Roadhouse Ride, taking on roughly the Xterra triathlon biking trail, cruising from Beaver Creek Landing to Arrowhead to Beaver Creek and back.

Mike Kloser, the official ambassador for that ride, and Josiah Middaugh, who won the Xterra Beaver Creek triathlon last week, led the bunch.

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"I got to hang with those guys because they were taking it easy today," Alex Spaeth said. "They were going nice and slow, so I got to hang out with them a bit. That was fun."

While the Roadhouse Ride starts with 4.5 miles of uphill, Spaeth said it was the final climb up to Beaver Creek that was the biggest challenge. That said, it was a great day for a ride.

"There were places where the flowers were taller than you," he said. "It's awesome. I'll be back next year if they do it again.

First time here

"I've done many centuries, but almost all of this was a new ride for me," Karyn Carr, of Littleton said. "It was great. The scenery was amazing. It was a great ride."

Her partner in the ride Margaret Zieden, of Denver, just started doing 100-mile rides this year, but said, "it's actually getting easier to do."

While the proceeds of the Colorado-Eagle River Ride go to SOS Outreach to fund outdoor and mentoring programs for young people, it wasn't the only cause being supported on Saturday.

Carr and Zieden were both supporting Wish for Wells as well. That group raises money to give bikes to kids on the Front Range.

Gregory and Suzane Norris, of Lakewood, are no strangers to century rides.

"It's beautiful on the River Road, especially after the peak near Wolcott," Suzane said.

"All these red cliffs and the water's just beautiful," Gregory said.

And, after doing such a workout, a reward is certainly due.

Zieden was eyeing a well-served Larkburger.

"When I get done with a long ride, I want to sit down with something cold," Gregory Norris said. "Eating is secondary."

Just a part of the operation

SOS Outreach was happy with how everything turned out — 560 registered riders, cooperative weather and a boisterous after-party. One would think that the organization was ready for a bit of a break after such an endeavor. But more is on the horizon.

"The big picture is that this is just a part of what we do," Ehrlich said. "We organize programs like this year-round. We go from this to having kids camping out on wilderness trips on Monday."

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, cfreud@vaildaily.com and @cfreud.