County puts brakes on Aspen bicycling festival |

County puts brakes on Aspen bicycling festival

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Vail, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Pitkin County has pulled the plug on a four-day Aspen bicycling event that had been scheduled to take place in late June, but organizer Craig Canon said he’ll aim to make the long-envisioned event a reality in 2011.

The county has reviewed an application for the event for four straight years, and went as far as issuing a conditional permit to stage the event this year on June 23-26. But several conditions were not met by a June 2 deadline, according to Mike Kraemer, a planner in the county’s Community Development Department.

A June 3 letter to Canon outlines five conditions that were not met in time, concluding: “Pursuant to condition No. 4 of your permit, consider your permit null and void and the event may not proceed.”

The unmet requirements, according to Kraemer’s letter, included providing various types of documentation to various agencies – proof of ambulance service and food vendor licenses were among them. An executed certificate of liability insurance was also required, but hadn’t been provided by the deadline, the letter notes.

Canon, a Boulder resident, has been working on getting a festival up and running for at least five years and came the closest he’s ever been this year. The town of Basalt approved a permit for events taking place there, and Eagle County was prepared to give its blessing to the festival, as well. For the first time, Pitkin County went as far as issuing a conditional permit, pending Canon’s ability to obtain all the other necessary approvals and meet a long list of conditions imposed by local governments.

“The Spin Sports Festival was all geared up and ready to go for what would have been considered an effective prelude in 2010,” Canon wrote in an e-mail this week.

Instead, Canon said he intends to regroup and, this summer, take care of all the necessary regulatory elements for a festival that would take place in late June 2011.

That way, he said, sponsorships and participating gear vendors can be lined up this fall, knowing the festival has the green light, and marketing the festival to participants can begin early in 2011.

County approval of an event taking place a year from now would be unusual, Kraemer responded.

“I think we’re going to have to talk about that,” he said. “It would be unusual, procedurally, to do that.”

This year, Canon had originally proposed capping the event at 2,000 attendees, but a 1,500-person cap was imposed, according to Kraemer. In addition, the planned road rides – on Independence Pass, Castle Creek Road and Frying Pan Road – were to be capped at 500 participants. Mountain biking events, which were to take place at Buttermilk, were to be capped at 1,000 riders.

The rides were all to be supported with traffic control, aid stations, SAG vehicles and the like, according to the festival website. A festival pass was being offered for $300 until June 6, when the price was to jump to $350.

“Aspen is very mindful of an unprecedented opportunity to hold a multiday road and mountain biking festival that integrates absolutely amazing rides with key business-to-consumer elements,” Canon said in his e-mail. “Much like granting the Olympics to a new city, a festival of this magnitude warrants complete unification and enough time to make sure everything is done right from the very beginning.”

Support Local Journalism