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August 11, 2014
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Circle the Summit ride raises funds for biking improvements

In July 2011, a ribbon cutting ceremony at Sapphire Point on the top of Swan Mountain celebrated the completion of the Swan Mountain recpath, successfully connecting it with the bike path that runs all the way around Lake Dillon. It was a plan eight years and $4.6 million in the making, and came together due to fundraising efforts from the Summit Biking Group, as well as grants and contributions from a number of entities, including the towns of Frisco and Breckenridge, Summit County government, Colorado State Parks and Great Outdoors Colorado.

A major part of the Summit Biking Group’s fundraising was the Circle the Summit event — an organized bike ride that gave cycling enthusiasts the chance to contribute to biking improvements in Summit County while enjoying what was already available. Seven years later, the annual event is still bringing people together in the name of biking.

CIRCLING THE SUMMIT

There are four options for bikers participating in the 7th annual Circle the Summit Bob Guthrie Memorial Ride. The shortest route, 21 miles, loops around Lake Dillon, utilizing the very path that funds from previous years’ events helped to raise. The 45-mile route loops Lake Dillon and summits Vail Pass, while the 60-mile ride goes out to Ute Pass before returning for Vail Pass and the lake. The longest route, called the “century ride,” is 100 miles and takes riders out to Ute Pass and on to Arapahoe Basin before turning back, circling the lake and ascending Vail Pass.

“They can always do extra credit up to Loveland (Pass) from A-Basin if they want to do more,” said event co-chair Erin Jones, of Avalanche Physical Therapy. “There’s always a few that do.”

To keep the recpath from becoming too congested, the ride is capped at 750 riders, with staggered starts throughout the morning of Saturday, Aug. 16. Riders begin and end at the 3rd Avenue block between Main Street and Granite in Frisco. All ages and abilities are welcome, with a discounted registration rate for children under 16.

FUNDRAISING FOR THE FUTURE

Proceeds from the event will go toward future biking-related improvements around Summit County.

“All the proceeds remain locally in Summit County,” said Jones. “Our mission is to enhance the cycling experience locally, whether it be through the youth programs or improving the recpath system. … It’s just a great way to give back to the community and keep that going.”

Since the completion of the Swan Mountain path, Circle the Summit events have supported a number of improvements throughout the county, including the installation of solar lights in the Vail Pass tunnel and striping on paths in Silverthorne.

Most recently, the Summit Biking Group gave $30,000 to the county for the addition of mile markers, kiosks and directional signage, and $9,000 to the town of Frisco for safety-related recpath improvements and directional signage.

The biking group also supports the Summit Biking Youth Program, which teaches kids how to ride and offers scholarships to help them buy bikes.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

The Summit Biking Group evolved from a casual social group into a local nonprofit organization. It still maintains a social and casual atmosphere, however. Anyone is welcome to join, particularly for organized Monday rides, no matter what their ability.

“It’s a fantastic group,” said longtime member Randy Glover. He and his wife, Lucy, are active bikers both in and out of Summit County.

The Circle the Summit event also serves as a memorial to one of the biking group’s founding members, Bob Guthrie, who died in a skiing accident in 2008.

“Bob was very active and really encouraged everybody,” Randy Glover said. “He was very instrumental in getting funds for the completion of the bike path around the lake.”

“That was his dream, and a lot of people really wanted to support that,” said Adele Gelfand, marketing coordinator for Circle the Summit. “Any of us who have ridden that bike path love it.”

Creating events like Circle the Summit and wanting to be involved in biking improvements isn’t unusual in the Summit Biking Group.

“I think we’re the kind of group who didn’t want to complain, ‘The lights aren’t any good in the tunnel,’” said Lucy Glover, citing the group’s efforts to raise funds to install lighting in the Vail Pass tunnel.

Instead, they’d rather create the dialogue of “‘we think the lights could be upgraded and we’d be happy to pay for it,’” she said. “And that’s a better way of trying to improve things, rather than saying you don’t like them.”

SIGN UP TO RIDE

Registration to join the ride is still open. Those interested can visit the event website at www.CircleTheSummit.com.

“I’m really excited about it; it’s such a good event. The community support, the money all goes back to the bike paths and that’s the best part,” said event co-chair Kathy Skulski. “Everyone should come out.”


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The Summit Daily Updated Aug 11, 2014 10:00PM Published Aug 11, 2014 10:00PM Copyright 2014 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.