Glenwood hosts Bicycle Tour of Colorado, 2009 |

Glenwood hosts Bicycle Tour of Colorado, 2009

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs CO Colorado
Photo courtesy of Bicycle Tour of ColoradoCyclists ride up to Independence Pass from Buena Vista and on to Glenwood Springs during the Bicycle Tour of Colorado in 2000.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” In June 2009 the Bicycle Tour of Colorado (BTC) will make its mark on Glenwood Springs. Glenwood has been selected as the beginning and ending site for the 2009 seven-day, 500-plus mile route.

The tour, the longest in BTC history, will take riders through six of Colorado’s scenic towns, including Hotchkiss, Grand Junction, Montrose, Crested Butte, Buena Vista, and Glenwood Springs. The tour runs from June 21-27.

“This is one of the longer routes,” said event organizer Kent Powell. “We are known as a little tougher ride than Ride the Rockies.”

The route will showcase the Roaring Fork Valley on the first and last legs of the ride, however, Powell was not a certain that the ride will utilize the recently completed Rio Grande Trail.

“We will probably use it early in the morning and cut off at Carbondale for the first leg,” Powell said.

But on the return leg, 107 miles from Buena Vista, over Independence Pass through Aspen to Glenwood, Powell said the ride would likely use Highway 82.

Glenwood Springs Mayor, Bruce Christensen, thought that using the bike path would be a benefit for the BTC.

“I really don’t know, but in 2007 Ride the Rockies came through here and, from Glenwood to Aspen, was a very highly regarded leg of the tour,” he said. “It was an extremely popular leg of the race because of the trail.”

Powell said that the Rio Grande Trail was not a consideration when mapping out this year’s route.

“It did not. In fact I don’t know that we are going to use it for sure,” Powell said, adding that the path is a nice ride, but it could be problematic with 2,000 cyclists.

Regardless, Christensen said it’s nice to have a ride that is starting and ending in Glenwood Springs.

“It’s always easier for those of us that live in Glenwood to participate in a tour that starts and stops in Glenwood Springs,” Christensen said. “Because you get to spend a night or two in your own house and not in a tent somewhere.”

Christensen, an avid cyclist, rode in last year’s Ride the Rockies and the 2005 BTC, which began and ended in Snowmass Village.

“I enjoy any bike tour that I can take advantage of,” Christensen said. “It’s a good way to take a break and get away from the stress of work.”

Glenwood Springs has been a stop for six of the 14 BTC tours since it’s beginning in 1995, including the first three years of the tour.

With the number of single riders, the event could be an economical boost to Glenwood.

“The Bike tour of Colorado is very popular with people from other parts of the U.S.,” Christensen said. “If you live somewhere were it’s flat, you don’t get to experience the type of riding we have here in Colorado.”

Powell agreed.

“We always have three or four countries and almost all the states represented each year,” Powell said. “We pull a lot from the east and west coasts. It’s a good tour and good bunch of people. It’s just a lot of fun.”

It’s a great opportunity for Glenwood Springs, and for the cyclist involved, according to Christensen.

“It gives people from around the state, nation, and potentially the world a chance to see what a great place Glenwood Springs is,” Christensen said.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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