The year 2011 promises to be one of the most exciting seasons of biking that Gunnison County has ever witnessed. Not only has the Gunnison-Crested Butte Valley been selected for a stage finish and a stage start for the first-ever USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Crested Butte is one of three stops on the new Leadville 100 Qualifying Series and is the start for Ride the Rockies, which has chosen Crested Butte or Gunnison as one of its stops 12 times since 1987.
That’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are mountain bike races and rides galore, the 31st annual Fat Tire Bike Week (the world’s oldest mountain bike festival), downhill and cross-country racing, a 24-hour cruiser bike tour, and the 35th annual Pearl Pass Mountain Bike Tour from Crested Butte to Aspen. Plus, there are new trails to explore.
Biking is a way of life here, whether it’s on skinny tires, fat tires or a bike with one gear. Since the 1970s, when locals started retrofitting old Schwinn paperboy bikes with multiple gears, Crested Butte has helped write the history of mountain biking and is now home to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.
2011 Biking Events
May 1 Trail Work Day at Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area, Gunnison
May 5, 12, 19 GunnisonGrowler Mountain Bike Series, Gunnison
May 29 Original Growler Mountain Bike Race, Gunnison
May 29 Pedal to Paradise Gran Fondo (road bike ride), Gunnison/Mt. CB/Gunnison
June 4 National Trails Day – Work on Trails in Gunnison & Crested Butte Areas
June 11 – 12 Ride the Rockies Kicks Off in Crested Butte on June 12
June 23 – 26 31st Annual Crested Butte Bike Week, Crested Butte & Mt. Crested Butte
June 24 – 26 10th Annual Wildflower Rush Mountain States Cup Race, Mt. Crested Butte
June 25 – 26 Bridges of the Butte (24-hour townie tour), Crested Butte
July & August Pinnacle Summer Race Series, Mt. Crested Butte
July 31 Crested Butte Alpine Odyssey – Leadville 100 Qualifying Race, CB/Mt. CB
Aug. 20 – 21 8th Annual 24 Hours in the Sage, Gunnison
Aug. 23 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Stage Finish in Crested Butte/Mt. CB
Aug. 24 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, Stage Start in Gunnison
Sept. 10 – 11 35th Annual Pearl Pass Mountain Bike Tour, Crested Butte
Nov. 5 The Last of Light Classic, Gunnison
Gunnison Growler Spring Series, Gunnison, April & May
The sixth annual Gunnison Growler Mountain Bike Series takes place on three Thursday evenings, May 5, 12 and 19, at Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area in Gunnison. This classic mountain bike race/fun ride series is for all ages and abilities with men’s and women’s divisions in three categories: short course, long course sport and long course expert. There also are races for kids up to age 11. The races begin at 5:45 p.m., with registration starting on-site at 4:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit Gunnison Trails. For more information and costs, visit http://www.gunnisontrails.com/.
Original Growler, Gunnison, May 29
The local mountain biking race season officially kicks off on May 29 with the Original Growler at Gunnison’s Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area, organized by racing great Dave Wiens. Registration for 350 spots is already sold out for both the 64-mile (two laps) and 32-mile (one lap) competitions, with each lap climbing 4,000 vertical feet. The races start at 7 a.m., with proceeds benefiting Gunnison Trails. Go to http://www.gunnisontrails.com/for information.
Pedal to Paradise Gran Fondo, Gunnison/Mt. Crested Butte/Gunnison, May 29
This new addition to the biking calendar is a metric century-plus bike ride of 108.2K or 66.6 miles from Gunnison, located at 7,700 feet elevation, to a turn around point in the Mt. Crested Butte area at 9,900 feet, and back to Gunnison. Enjoy spectacular views of Paradise Divide and the Elk Mountains along the way during ride, which begins at 7:15 a.m. immediately after the start of the Original Growler and is expected to take three to six hours. The pre-registration cost is $65 (includes T-shirt, supported ride, rest stations with snacks/drinks, lunch in Gunnison, beer and entertainment) or $80 the morning of the event. Kids up to the age of 15 pay $10 when riding with an adult, and tandem bikers pay $120 for a duo. For information, contact Janice McElroy at (970) 349-1195 and visit http://www.pedaltoparadise.com/.
Ride the Rockies, Crested Butte, June 11 – 12
Crested Butte is the starting point for the 26thannual Ride the Rockies, a bicycle tour organized by The Denver Post that will take 2,000 cyclists on a 412-mile trek through Colorado from June 12 – 17. On June 11, cyclists will gather in Crested Butte and launch on June 12 to begin tackling 22,000 feet of vertical gain and six mountain passes while pedaling to the other host towns of Buena Vista, Edwards, Steamboat Springs and Granby before finishing in Georgetown. Visit http://www.ridetherockies.com/.
31st Annual Crested Butte Bike Week, Mt. Crested Butte & Crested Butte, June 23 – 26
Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte are the proud hosts of the world’s oldest mountain bike festival, previously known as Fat Tire Bike Week. Voted Best Festival in a Bike magazine reader poll, participants can take part in the Fat Tire 40 mountain bike race, tech expo, Mountain States Cup Wildflower Rush races, the infamous Chainless World Championships, Bridges of the Butte townie tour, Rippin Chix clinics with Alison Gannett, concert, guided rides and more. For information, contact the Crested Butte-Mt. Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce at (800) 545-4505 or visit http://www.ftbw.com/.
- 11th Annual Wildflower Rush, Mt. Crested Butte, June 24 – 26
Discover what Crested Butte single track is all about at the 11th Annual Wildflower Rush, the fifth stop on this year’s Mountain States Cup (MSC) regional mountain bike racing series. Held at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Mt. Crested Butte, courses will be open for practice on June 24 and the event begins with cross country races and a free Shimano Youth Series Race on June 25. On June 26, the downhill and Super-D competitions will give racers plenty of challenges. For more information, a schedule and registration, visit http://www.racemsc.com/.
- Bridges of the Butte, Crested Butte, June 25 – 26
This 24-hour townie bike tour takes riders on many of the bridges in downtown Crested Butte and runs from 3 p.m. on June 25 to 3 p.m. on June 26. Enter as an individual and cruise all 24 hours or enter as a team. There is no limit to team size, and costumes are encouraged. Registration costs $24 per participant and kids pay their age, with pre-registration preferred. This unique event benefits the Adaptive Sports Center, and participants are encouraged to collect pledges to help fund programs for people with disabilities. Register online at http://www.adaptivesports.org/. For information, call (970) 349-5075.
Pinnacle Race Series, Mt. Crested Butte, July & August
This recreational racing series created in 1998 by Crested Butte Mountain Resort is geared toward fun and competition for beginner to expert riders split up into 12 racing categories. The races consist of varying lengths and difficulty on Mt. Crested Butte’s network of trails and single-track and take place on weeknights in July and August (dates to be announced in May). A free Shimano Youth Series for kids is offered at the same time. Food, beer and prizes follow every race. For more information call (970) 349-2221 or visit http://www.skicb/as summer nears.
Crested Butte Alpine Odyssey – Leadville 100 Qualifying Race, Cr. Butte & Mt. CB, July 31
The new Leadville Qualifying Series (LQS) for the 2011 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race (LT100) will feature three races, including the final one in Crested Butte and Mt. Crested Butte on July 31. Each race provides 100 qualifying spots to the LT100 and will be approximately 100 kilometers and have been vetted by LQS Technical Director Dave Wiens, a six-time LT 100 champion and Gunnison resident. Crested Butte Alpine Odyssey begins and ends at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Mt. Crested Butte, with the course winding through Crested Butte and some of the best mountain biking terrain in the world. Go to http://www.leadvillequalifiers.com/for full details about the route.
9th Annual 24 Hours in the Sage, Gunnison, August 20 – 21
Gunnison’s Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area is the backdrop for a 24-hour relay bike race where individual entrants and teams ride a 13-mile loop continuously from noon Saturday, Aug. 20 to noon Sunday, Aug. 21. The person/team in each category with the most laps wins. A 12-hour race that starts at midnight and finishes at noon also is offered. Additional highlights for the weekend include live entertainment, the World Townie Championships and more. To register or for more information, contact (303) 507-1148 or visit http://www.24hoursinthesage.com/.
USAPro Cycling Challenge, Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte & Gunnison, Aug. 23 & 24
After more than 20 years, world-class professional cycling returns to Colorado withthe first USA Pro Cycling Challenge launching on Aug.22- 28. Racers will experience breathless altitudes and nearly 600 mountain miles for seven straight days, with Crested Butte/Mt. Crested Butte being the stage finish on Aug. 23 and Gunnison the start on Aug. 24. Watch 128 of the world’s best professional cyclists from 16 teams, including Team RadioShack, HTC-Highroad, Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo and Liquigas-Cannondale, put to the test. Lance Armstrong, one of the most famous cyclists ever and part-time Aspen resident, is one of the visionaries behind the race. For the full route and more information, visit http://www.usaprochallenge.com/.
35th Annual Pearl Pass Mountain Bike Tour, Crested Butte to Aspen, Sept. 10 – 11
This oldest mountain bike event in the world runs from Crested Butte to Aspen via Pearl Pass. In 1976, the first group of 15 or 20 cyclists from the Butte rode one-speed town bikes over the 12,705-foot Pearl Pass to Aspen in response to a group of Aspenites riding their motorcycles over Pearl Pass and parking them in downtown Crested Butte. The Crested Butte rowdies pulled up in downtown Aspen in front of the historic Hotel Jerome. By the early 1980s, the expert ride had grown and become a weeklong event known as Fat Tire Bike Week. Today, Fat Tire Bike Week is held in June and the Pearl Pass Mountain Bike Tour is in September to celebrate Crested Butte as one of the birthplaces of mountain biking. For information, call (970) 349-6817 or visit http://www.mtnbikehalloffame.com/.
The Last of Light Classic, Gunnison, Nov. 5
Observe daylight-saving time with The Last of Light Classic on the last Saturday before the clocks are turned back for the season. The event takes place at Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area at 11 a.m. and costs $25. For more information as details develop and the weather forecast reveals if the race is a go, visit http://www.gunnisontrails.com/or call (970) 275-0485.
The locals who ride area trails join in on work days organized by Gunnison Trails and Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA), the oldest mountain bike club in the world. Last year, the 7.9 mile Aberdeen Loop at Hartman Rocks Multi-Use Recreation Area in Gunnison was rerouted to improve trail conditions and reduce human impact on Gunnison sage-grouse. The new version follows the ridges above the drainages and contours the wide open, sage-covered hillsides and is a cross-country rider’s dream. There also are additional trail segments off the new bridges at Highways 50 and 135 at Gunnison River crossings.
In the Crested Butte area, Budd Trail is a new 1.4-mile loop and K.B. Connector a half-mile enhancement of new and reopened trail, both part of the Lower Loop Trail. This year, a new series of trails will be started on Smith Hill northeast of Crested Butte above the Slate River.
For the 2011 season in Mt. Crested Butte, Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) will expand its trail offerings for gravity-seekers and those newer to the sport. A trail off the Goldlink zone is being created to meander through dense aspen and pine forest and promote more natural riding features made from local materials and wood bridging. CBMR also will improve cross-country riding options, including completion of Westside Trail following a two-year build-out. The trail will offer a new access route to the base area and five miles of winding trail through mixed vegetation and rock.
In addition, crews also will tie in Lower Meander to Meander and Gothic Road to provide technical riding while overlooking the East River Valley. Aside from new construction, crews will put finishing touches on Pyscho Rocks (downhill trail) and will reopen existing on-mountain trail networks with improved features and signage and buffed-out berms. Two twilight riding nights will be offered at Evolution Bike Park on Wednesday and Friday from 5 – 7 p.m. Dates will be announced soon. Watch http://www.skicb.com/.
Corey Dwan – REALTOR
Benson Sotheby’s International Realty
P.O. Box 210
401 Elk Avenue
Crested Butte, CO 81224