Colorado State Patrol delays race cap until 2007 | SummitDaily.com

Colorado State Patrol delays race cap until 2007

RYAN SLABAUGH
summit daily news

FRISCO ” The Colorado State Patrol will delay the cap on cycling events it installed this week until 2007 after recognizing the need for additional conversations between event organizers, state legislators and the state patrol.

The cap ” 2,500 riders for any event using state patrol officers ” energized politicians and cycling enthusiasts en masse to ask the state patrol to rethink the policy change it announced this week.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and Rep. Terrance Carroll, D-Denver, co-wrote a letter to state patrol Chief Mark Trostel. Part of it read, “Bicycling has become part of the signature of Colorado and reaffirms this state’s envied status as a world-class destination for recreational tourism … Why are we placing all of that in jeopardy?”

Trostel held a press conference on Friday in Denver to address the question. The decision, he said, was based on upcoming registration time periods and the “safety of all the entities involved.”

Earlier this week, the state patrol said the 2,500 limit was “set in stone,” and it wouldn’t back off that number due to staffing issues with bigger events. While race organizers were happy to see the state patrol initiate more dialogue before implementing the change ” something the state patrol said it would never do on internal policy decisions ” organizers won’t be satisfied until the cap is dropped, said Dan Grunig, executive director of Bicycle Colorado.

“Our mood isn’t really all that happy,” Grunig said. “This cap needs to be overturned, no matter the policy. We want to get the word out across the nation that cyclists are welcome every year, not just next year.”

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Grunig began a petition on his organization’s website this week and more than 14,000 had signed it, he said. More than 13,000 were from inside Colorado, Grunig added, but “interested tourists” from all 50 states and three countries also signed their names.

Leslie Caimi, organizer of the Triple Bypass ” a 3,500-rider race scheduled for July which starts in Evergreen, continues through Summit County and finishes in Avon ” said she was thrilled to see there’s going to be a discussion, but questioned how much would really change.

“(The cap) should be an independent decision between the event coordinator and the state patrol,” Caimi said. “We look forward to the chance to sit down with them so they can help us make our events safer.”

That is the plan, according to the state patrol. The subject of the talks will be more focused on how to make existing events safer under the rider cap, and not the rider cap itself, said Colorado State Patrol Sgt. Jeff Goodwin.

The decision had an almost immediate impact on a race planning on coming to Colorado, as reported by The Denver Post this week. The Lance Armstrong Foundation was planning a LiveStrong ride in Colorado for the summer of 2006, but organizers said they are now making plans to move the ride to another state should the state patrol not overturn their cap on bike events.

The recent LiveStrong ride in Portland, Ore., attracted 3,500 riders representing more than 30 states and Canada, Grunig said.

Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13600, or at rslabaugh@summitdaily.com.