~ by Bob Volpe ~
The season is about to shift into high gear for the Mountain Top Cycling Club of Woodland Park.
Warming weather has both mountain bikers and road bikers dusting off their rides, lubing up their chains, and filling their tires with fresh air.
The club was formed in January of 2011 after receiving their official 501 non-profit tax status. Their mission is to advocate cycling safety, encourage cycling for health, recreation, and sport activities, advocate for bicycle-friendly road design, and bicycle paths, as well as supporting a variety of community events and organizations.
Aside from the obvious cycling related events and camaraderie, the club is actively involved in doing community service. In 2012 the club purchased 26 cycling jerseys for the Woodland Park Middle School’s cycling club and continues to donate items and cash to other groups to this day.
Sponsorship is the club’s main source of income, although members do pay a yearly membership fee of $25 for an individual and $40 for a family.
The club seeks out business sponsors to help with financing their events. Sponsors are categorized by level of sponsorship. The top tier sponsors called “Summit Sponsor” include; Ute Pass Chiropractic, Foxworth Galbraith, Park State Bank, Home Advisor, IREA, Golden Belt Tour, Michael Harper Real Estate, Redfin, the city of Woodland Park, and Animal Medical Center. The next level sponsor called “Timberline Sponsor” include; Hungry Bear Restaurant, Wildwood Casino, Pikes Peak Cleaning, Vectra Bank, Carr Manor, Dinosaur Resource Center, Century Casino, The Edgewood Inn, Colorado Canyon Signs, East West Financial, and Curves of Woodland Park.
Sponsors get their names printed on club jerseys and are promoted actively at club events throughout the year.
The club also its own money to donate cash to non-profit organizations in exchange for volunteer help with their club rides and events. In the past the club has donated money to Lions Camp, Teller County Search & Rescue, Teller County Regional Animal Shelter who in turn supplied volunteers.
Every year, since its humble beginnings, the club held their premier event of the season; The Experience Ride. The Experience Ride was the first organized event in the clubs history, dating back to 2011. That ride boasted 40 riders and went over Wilkerson Pass. Now in its sixth year, the event will be held Saturday, June 17.
This year the Experience Ride has added a number of new features. There are 18, 30, 50, 75 and 106-mile route options, all with jaw dropping views and climbs. A 106-mile century with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain will take you around Cripple Creek, Victor and Guffey, a 50-mile half century with 4,000 feet of elevation gain and a 75-mile route with 6,000 feet of elevation gain. All routes will leave the grange hall in Florissant starting from 6 to 7 a.m. The 75-mile route is the easiest of the three options. They are all fully supported, all on paved roads, should you want to skip a section and sag to the next rest stop. The 18- mile and 30-mile are out and backs starting at 8 a.m.
Registration for the Experience Ride began January 1 and early registrants receive a rolling discount from Jan through the day of the event. As of March 1, the registration fee is $65. Walk ups will be taken the day of the event. You must be pre-registered before May 1 to be guaranteed a t-shirt.
The Experience Ride has “experienced” substantial growth over the years and the club is hoping it will grow into one of the elite organized bike rides in Colorado.
The first event of this season for the club is a free event. The Ride of Silence is a national day of riding in tribute and remembrance of cyclists who have been injured or killed while cycling. This event will feature a guest speaker who will give a talk and then a short 4-mile silent ride will be guided through Woodland Park. Starting and ending at the cultural center the event will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, on Saturday, May 20. A reception will follow with the reading of the Ride of Silence poem and an opportunity for participants to speak about cycling safety. All participants will receive a bike angle pin while supplies last.
Another event the club hopes will grow in popularity is the Aspen Valley Mountain Bike Race. This year the event will take place on October 7..
Dr. Wiley with Ute Pass Family Chiropractic has committed to being the title sponsor again for 2017.
A masters category will be added and a different route for the youth 6 -9 years old. The 10 to 18 juniors will ride the main course. Pro riders will receive cash prizes this year, while others will receive trophies and ribbons.
Mountain Top Cycling Club is open to both mountain bikers and road bikers. They are accepting new members. They met on the first Tuesday of every month, except December. Meetings are held at a different restaurant each month. You can visit their website for more information @ http://www.