MONTROSE – On Sunday, June 22, more than 650 cyclists from all over the world will participate in the 20th Annual Bicycle Tour of Colorado through the beautiful Colorado Rockies.
The tour wraps up in Gunnison on Saturday, June 28.
The seven day adventure starts in Gunnison, with Montrose as the first stop on June 22. Cyclists conclude that day’s trip at Columbine Middle School in Montrose with a local welcoming celebration next door, at Rotary Park. The public is invited to this all-day event. Festivities kick off with a Lions Club pancake breakfast fundraiser at 9 a.m., welcoming riders (and is also a send-off for participants of the Veterans of Foreign Wars State Convention, in town June 18-22).
“Bike tours are great for tourism, and we’re thrilled Montrose is on the BTC route this year,” said Stacey Ryan, special events coordinator for the City of Montrose’s Office of Business and Tourism, which is sponsoring the event along with the Montrose Area Bicycle Alliance and the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Association. “The tour brings hundreds of visitors to town, and we get to throw a party for locals and visitors to come together for the day and showcase Montrose.”
Combining the tour celebration with a send-off breakfast for the VFW State Convention participants “is our way of saying thanks to the VFW for choosing Montrose as the host site of their 93rd Annual State Convention,” Ryan said. “Sharing the morning with the VFW participants surrounded by all the bike tour festivities will bring these events together at a venue where the town can enjoy the day, too.”
Music, food, arts/crafts booths will be open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Businesses and nonprofits are encouraged to become vendors for a nominal fee: businesses,$25; nonprofits, $10.
Shuttles will move participants out to the Black Canyon National Park and throughout town to eat, shop, and enjoy Montrose. All three museums will host a “Fee-free Day” from 12-6 p.m., opening their doors to riders and the public. MABA and COPMOBA will provide a beer garden (including wine and margaritas) as a group fundraiser from 4-8 p.m.; at 8:30 p.m., MABA will cap off the evening with a free Bike-in Movie, Back to the Future, sponsored by Alpine Bank. People are encouraged to bike or walk to the park to enjoy the movie. Popcorn will be available on a donation basis.
“We’re looking for everyone in Montrose to serve as a host and help warmly welcome visitors to our All-America City,” said Ryan.
Rotary Park is located next to Columbine Middle School on South 12th Street in Montrose. After an early breakfast in town, riders will head off Monday morning for Ouray and the San Juan Mountains. The seven day adventure begins in Gunnison and tours through several of Colorado’s pristine mountain towns, including Montrose, Ouray, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Creede – and ends up back in Gunnison. Gaining well over 24,000 feet in elevation, riders will be climbing over Cerro Summit, Red Mountain Pass, Molas Divide, Coal Bank, Yellow Jacket, Wolf Creek Pass, Spring Creek Pass, and Slumgullion Pass.
Kent Powell, director and Colorado native, developed the tour based on his own experiences with biking and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Since 1995, Powell has designed tour routes with skilled cyclists in mind, centering on amazing scenery, friendly towns and hard climbs. “This tour, for many cyclists, is a trip of a lifetime. Friends and family members get together to ride one of the most challenging, breathtaking tours in the country,” said Powell. “It’s such a great feeling to see hundreds of cyclists come together and experience an extraordinary journey across the Colorado Rockies.”
Over the last 20 years, the Bicycle Tour of Colorado has catered to over 25,000 cyclists and has raised over $375,000 for a number of charities in Colorado, including Rocky Mountain PBS, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Special Olympics and Adaptive Adventures.
For more information about MABA, visit www.MontroseBicycle.org. For more information about the BTC, call 303/985-1180 or visit www.bicycletourcolorado.com.