Riders enjoy the Colorado-Eagle River Ride | VailDaily.com

Riders enjoy the Colorado-Eagle River Ride

A crowd of cyclists participating in the annual SOS Colorado-Eagle River Ride push up a hill section of the ride early Saturday morning along the Colorado River Road past 4 Eagle Ranch.
Dominique Taylor | Special to the Daily |

BEAVER CREEK — There’s a reason the Snowboard Outreach Society Colorado-Eagle River Ride is often shortened to the River Ride.

The Colorado River during the middle of the fundraising bike ride is the highlight.

“I take 10 or 12 pictures of the same thing every time,” said Dan Gallagher, who’s done the ride numerous times. “It’s always great.”

“Spectacular, breath-taking,” Debbie Thompson, of Short Hills, New Jersey, said. “You felt like you were riding through postcards.”

Roughly 800 riders came out for Saturday’s ride, which varied from 42 to 68 to 100 miles, depending on what participants chose. SOS Outreach director Arn Menconi marveled at what the ride has become.

“The first year I started this, it was called the Tour de Roundabouts to see what it was like to ride in a peloton,” he said. “It followed the energy of the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong. Now, that’s all history. A lot of people have been doing this ride five or six times or 10 years in a row and have a good time. I always feel so selfish because it’s the staff and the volunteers who make this happen. I just wanted to know what it felt like to ride in a peloton. I was just so blown away this year about how beautiful it was on the Colorado River Road. We’re very lucky. That’s what SOS is trying to do — give it back to other people who aren’t so lucky.”

Welcome to altitude

Thompson, from New Jersey, arrived on Wednesday.

“Lemme tell you, I was huffing and puffing,” she said after finishing. “I got here Wednesday night. I had a short ride on Thursday, and Friday a little hike and today, the ride. To do it again, I think I’d come out here a little earlier.”

Nonetheless, she said it was well-supported and scenic ride.

“Great beginning, great end and great in-between,” she said. “I don’t think you could do anything to make it better.”

Meanwhile, Eagle’s David Nudell was riding a long-wheel based recumbent bicycle.

“It has some advantages and disadvantages,” he said. “Its advantages are it’s supremely comfortable. You can ride a long ride like this and your butt doesn’t hurt and your neck doesn’t hurt and your back doesn’t hurt. Your hands don’t fall asleep. It’s also one of the fastest things you can ride down a hill. It is, however, one of the slowest things you can ride up a hill, only because it is a bit heavier than most of the bikes out here.”

This was Nudell’s first century ride, and, with it, came a sense of accomplishment.

“This is a big one for me. I really enjoyed it, and I got here just before it started to rain,” he said after being greeted by his family. “It’s definitely challenging. You have to be ready. We have to carb-load the night before. You have to hydrate. You have to make sure you eat constantly through the day and stop when you need to. It’s a good thing. It’s fun.”

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

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