“Unfortunately we got dealt a hand that no one expected,” event organizer Rob Quinn said. “We’re still going to have good long courses for our riders.”
Originally each of the gran fondo-style event’s three course options — 20, 60 and 90 miles — were supposed to include a timed climb between Keystone Resort and Montezuma. A section of Montezuma Road was closed earlier this year due to damage from snowmelt runoff, forcing the course adjustment.
The 20-mile course will now run part of the way up the original course, then be extended around Keystone Ranch Golf Club and the resort village. The short course will still have a timed section on the open portion of Montezuma road, while the 60- and 90-mile courses will cut that section and have one less timed section. With the adjustment, the 20-mile course will be shortened to about 18-miles. The 60- and 90-mile courses will be shortened by about 7 miles.
With the change, the two longer courses will avoid a steep climb at the end of the rides. The short course will include the shortened climb on Montezuma Road at the beginning of the ride.
The Vuelta Keystone is a first-year event that organizers hope will continue in the future. Part untimed ride and part race, a fondo-style competition like the Vuelta has a number of timed sections within the overall ride in which cyclists can compete in a more traditional race format. Riders have the option of taking their time between the timed sections. The 90-mile (now 83-mile) course will include two timed sections. The first will be up Ute Pass north of Silverthorne, the second will be around Green Mountain Reservoir. Riders will start in Keystone, ride along Dillon Reservoir to Silverthorne and then travel north on Highway 9, then up and down Ute Pass. From Ute Pass, the 90-mile participants will circle around Green Mountain Reservoir. Riders in the 60-mile will skip the Green Mountain portion of the course and have a single timed section on Ute Pass.
Formerly the Vuelta Salida, Quinn moved the event to Keystone this year in order to attract more participants from the Front Range.
“That’s what I was banking on and that’s what’s happening,” Quinn said. “We’re really excited. There’s been overwhelmingly positive feedback from the riders.”
Registration is open and will include day-of registration in Keystone Village. The three rides will have staggered start times beginning at 7 a.m. Quinn expects about 250 riders, with the potential for a number of late registrations. The event has been capped at 500 participants. In addition to the cycling competition, Keystone will host a Porsche and Audi car show put on by Prestige Imports, along with live music and other activities in the village.
“Even if you’re not involved in the cycling, it’ll be fun,” Quinn said. “We look forward to a really fun party in the village in the afternoon. The weather looks good. I think we’re going to have a great crowd.”
Race registration and course information is available at www.vueltakeystone.com
“Even if you’re not involved in the cycling, it’ll be fun.”