Six hundred people this May will have the opportunity to ride Colorado Highway 82 before anyone else in 2012. Traditionally, every winter Hwy 82 shuts down to vehicle traffic until the warm summer months. However, it opens up to cyclists for just one day during that period to support the Independence Pass Foundation in the Ride for the Pass Race. This year that day falls on May 19th.
The Independence Pass Foundation is a private, nonprofit 501©(3), established to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of Independence Pass. The Pass serves as the historic connection between the Western Slope communities and the Front Range. During the summer months, thousands of people cross over the pass to witness its unique beauty and to experience its incredible recreation opportunities. Since 1989, the people within the Aspen community have supported and sustained the efforts of the Foundation to protect the Pass through donations of their time, money and volunteer work.
The Ride for the Pass Race is just one example of community-supported fundraisers that have helped in the objective to conserve Independence Pass for over twenty years. In this 10-mile recreational and competitive bike race, participants will head out the Winter Gate 4 and ride 10 miles west to Independence Ghost Town. Throughout this ten-mile ride, racers will climb 2,500 feet to go from 8,500 feet to 11,100 feet. Families and first time racers are welcome and encouraged to experience Hwy 82 before the summer traffic takes over.
This same weekend, The Aspen Cycling Criterium will also take place. This race is all about speed! In the heart of downtown Aspen, cyclists will hit speeds of 28mph around a track less than one mile around. As part of the Rocky Mountain Cup, hosted by PreRace.com, the winner in this competition will win big with a $2,500 prize. This is an exciting race to witness and a fan favorite to watch.
As the first real race of the USA Cycling Races season in the Rockies, all racers must have their USAC license. One-day licenses are available for those interesting in participating in this single event. USAC youth racers race for free, while adults race for a mere $20.
Many in the cycling community see these two races as the commencement of cycling season in Aspen and Snowmass Village and refer to this weekend as the “Aspen Cycling Festival.” Last year LIVESTRONG hosted a pre-party the night before The Ride for the Pass at Belly Up with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a chance to win Lance Armstrong memorabilia.
The Aspen Cycling Festival will wind down with a party at the Sky Hotel in Aspen, with free beer and drawing prizes from businesses within the Roaring Fork Valley. As with any Aspen event, the parties and celebration will go on all week throughout town in various restaurants and bars. There will be plenty of fun to be had on the racecourse and off.
The Aspen and Snowmass communities embrace high intensity sports in every season. As the ski season draws to a close in the last weeks of April, Roaring Forks residents don’t waste any time kicking off the cycling season. Come on down and join the fun! When you aren’t racing or enjoying the beautiful spring season in the Rockies, you can take a moment to check out homes, condos and residences in the Aspen and Snowmass Village area. Click here to get started today! www.GregRulon.com
Tags: Aspen Cycling