Cyclists conquer Colorado Eagle River Ride | VailDaily.com

Cyclists conquer Colorado Eagle River Ride

The Colorado-Eagle River Ride returns on Saturday. Cyclists will pedal 42, 68 or 100 miles thought Eagle County with the proceeds going to SOS Outreach.

BEAVER CREEK — Dwight Landman, of Ocala, Florida, posed for the traditional shot, raising his bike over his head, at the finish line of Saturday's SOS Outreach Colorado Eagle River Ride at Beaver Creek.

This is a ride, a fundraiser, and not a race, but it is a big deal for all those involved.

"It's an accomplishment," Landman said after wrapping his 68 miles. "It shows that you can do something like that."

And race or ride, for people coming up from Florida or other sea-level locations, that's a taxing journey on one's lungs.

"The temperature for us is cold and there's less humidity, but the altitude kills us.," Landman said. "You just lose breath riding along on level ground."

'We're Always Training'

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With three different distances — 100, 68 or 42 miles — in the ride, everyone had different goals for Saturday.

Sharon Madison and John Genell were up from Denver for the 100-miler.

"We're always training. We use it as a training ride," Madison said. "It was beautiful. I'd never done it before. First time doing it."

As is tradition for this ride, her most memorable moments were the trip up to State Bridge and the trip along the Colorado River.

Madison and Genell used this race to build miles as they gear up for Levi's GranFondo, run by Levi Leipheimer, the former pro cyclist, in Santa Rosa, California, in October.

Yet like just about everyone else in Saturday's ride, there was a point at which they were asking themselves why they were doing this.

"Every minute," Genell joked. "Probably the last few miles."

A Team Affair

Michael and Barbara King, of Grand Junction, made it a team affair, riding a tandem bike for the 68-mile ride.

"It's a great time to spend together and she has no choice," Michael joked. "She has to put up with me."

The Kings had returned from a vacation in France, where they rode 500 miles and caught a stage of the Tour De France.

"It's more difficult going uphill, but we fly going downhill," Barbara said. :You have to coordinate starting and stopping and cadence."

And while each rider had his or her individual goals for Saturday, the real winner was SOS Outreach, the sponsor of the event. SOS Outreach's mission is to mentor underprivileged youth through snowsports.

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