This year, Baseline was a partner of the Denver Post Community Foundation’s Ride the Rockies, a 400-plus mile bike ride throughout Colorado’s most beautiful scenery that takes place over seven days. The ride has taken place every year since it began in 1986, and it has been sponsored by the Denver Post for 33 years. All proceeds from the ride benefit the Community Foundation and are returned to Colorado Non-Profits. Along with supporting Colorado non-profits, Ride the Rockies also supports the communities it takes place in by increasing tourism and providing a significant revenue boost on the day of the ride with total rider spending at average of 250,000 dollars in a 24 hour period for each town.
This year, one of our Baseline team members, Steve Batchelder, PE, took part in the ride, after completing the Ragnar Trail Relay in Snowmass! Over the seven-day course, Steve rode 434 miles and had total elevation gains of 29,623 feet. The loop course began in Crested Butte and wound all through some of Colorado’s best and well known destinations. The first day ended in Gunnison after a 65-mile ride. From Gunnison, it was an 83-mile ride with a 5,393 elevation gain to Buena Vista. Day three, riders took on the Continental Divide riding over Independence Pass with stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks. Steve loved this part of the ride — it was one of his reasons for signing up! Riders lucked out with the weather as the pass opened just in time for the ride. From Snowmass, riders had a somewhat easier day (compared to the rest of the course) of 38 miles to Carbondale. Riders were also treated to views of the Roaring Fork Valley. However, this stage of the ride could be extended for riders who wanted to go the extra mile to get to the ghost town of Ashcroft. From there it was on to Hotchkiss, another 65 miles away. This portion of the ride is described as “a touch easier” but still featured large elevation gains. Day six was another grueling ride of 80 miles and the greatest elevation gain of the ride at 6,861 feet which was tempered by the views of the Black Canyon in Gunnison National Park. After six days of intense riding, all participants had left was to make it one last flat stretch of 31 miles back into Crested Butte for the finish.
Riders are supported throughout the race by organizers and the community. Each night at the Headquarters for the day, the Odell Beer Garden was set up with entertainment and ice-cold beers which were greatly appreciated at the end of a long day of riding. Proceeds from the sales go towards a non-profit in the town the headquarters is located in. Communities also serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a low price to accommodate riders. One day there was even a massage tent that riders could book and take a quick stop during their ride. Riders and community members alike celebrate together at the finish line. This includes a huge party and a closing ceremony to celebrate the accomplishments of the riders.