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Clear sailing for Ride the Rockies - bicycle race

  • Auteur:helmet
  • Source:bicycle race
  • Relâchez le:2016-01-04
Clear skies, temperatures in the 90s and the open arms of Cañon City welcomed 2,000 bicyclists and hundreds of support team members Friday as Ride the Rockies rolled into town on day six of the 464-mile tour.

"Thanks for having us, Cañon City," one cyclist exclaimed as he cruised into the bike corral set up on the emerald green Hickey Field at Cañon City Middle School.

Tom Puntel of Eagle paused for a breather in front of the fenced-in area sponsored by Fremont Adventure Recreation. This year was Puntel's second to participate, and he said crossing the Royal Gorge Bridge was an event.
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"It's high," he said with a laugh. "You want to get across it so you don't fall in the river. It's a rite of passage that every Coloradan should do."

Puntel's 72-year-old father flew in from Cleveland, Ohio, and joined race followers on Wednesday.

"This is the first time in 30 years I'll get to spend Father's Day with him," Puntel said.

This weekend is also the first time since the 2013 Royal Gorge fire that Ride the Rockies has come to town. Avon cyclist Ben McNair did not miss the significance.

"Today was a good redemption day," McNair said. "That Skyline Drive was definitely the surprise of the day."
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Bicyclist and Ride the Rockies volunteer Janet Slate said coursing over Skyline Drive was an unexpected delight.

"I felt like I was riding on the Great Wall of China," said Slate who works for the United States Geological Survey. "You could see the waves, the ripples, like on the Great Wall of China."

Slate said the median age of the 2,000 participating cyclists was 56. The oldest participant was 73 and the youngest 10.

Several concession stands edged Hickey Field with refreshments, along with booths from the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's, St. Anthony Hospital/Centura Health, and a charging station trailer for participants to securely recharge their cell phones.
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Thirty bicyclists represented the Davis Phinney Foundation, a charity partner with Ride the Rockies, and seven on the team have Parkinson's Disease, said team manager Lauren Kehn of Raleigh, NC.

The Adaptive Sports Center of Crested Butte also sponsored a team. Instructor Krista Pameroy said 19 cyclists with adaptive bikes participated in this year's event.

Bicyclists and spectators alike extended the afternoon to take in the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce-sponsored party at Centennial Park. Live music, beer and food vendors and children's games offer respite in the park's shade.

Bicyclists will leave early Saturday morning for the final 47-mile trek to Westcliffe and the end of the seven-day ride.

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