See June 14 update: New route for Ride the Rockies will avoid fire zone
Five high mountain passes and 24,937 vertical feet of climbing can’t stop the 2000 cyclists on the Ride the Rockies bicycle tour this week in Colorado, but a wild land fire can.
The High Park Fire has burned about 43,000 acres of forest and grassland approximately 15 miles west of Fort Collins, this year’s finish for the week-long bike tour.
Ride the Rockies officials said they’re considering route revisions for the final day. Options include detouring the last day’s ride to Boulder or ending the ride a day early in Estes Park.
The final day’s route was to start in Estes Park and follow roads around Horsetooth Dam and through Laporte and Bellvue. These areas are now in or near the fire zone.
In addition to obvious hazards of sending a bicycle tour near a wildfire, there are also respiratory issues to take into account and the necessity of keeping the roads open for emergency vehicles.
Ride director Chandler Smith said they’ll make a final decision about Friday’s course by Wednesday night. See wildfire details at InciWeb.
Meanwhile, Bicycle Tour of Colorado is making contingency plans for that ride, which is scheduled to start its loop ride through northern Colorado and southern Wyoming Sunday in Fort Collins.
According to the website, cyclists will be able to get a bus ride to either the Wyoming border or Laramie, the first stage of the tour. If it’s necessary, bicyclists will have the opportunity to take a bus to the finish in Fort Collins from Walden.
The other big Western bike tour isn’t suffering any such problems. Biking Across Kansas didn’t report any wildland fires this week, although several riders are suffering from the side effects of eating too much homemade pie at the host cities.
Photo above of Ride the Rockies by aamartin at flickr.com.