New ‘Aspen 50’ mountain bike event conceived by Lance Armstrong
A new mountain-biking event that features some of the best trails in the upper Roaring Fork Valley will be launched Sept. 18.
The Aspen 50 was conceived by cyclist and part-time Aspen resident Lance Armstrong as a way to benefit the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association and its work on trails.
“While this inaugural ride is not actually a race, you can expect some truly fast riders to be leading the way as soon as the pedaling starts,” says a description by Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association Executive Director Mike Pritchard.
A limited number of entries are available, but the mountain-bike association is looking for volunteers to serve as race marshals and other positions.
The event starts with a climb up Smuggler Mountain Road and then hits the Hunter Creek Cutoff to the Iowa Shaft Trail, all popular routes on the Smuggler Mountain-Hunter Creek Valley circuit.
Riders will make their way across the upper bridge in Hunter Creek Valley, head upstream and climb the Hummingbird Trail to hook into the two roads that lead them to Four Corners. From there they will take the singletrack trail descent to Lenado on a route some call Tinpot.
From Lenado, the riders will take country roads and a paved path to get to the Intercept Lot at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82. They will make their way to Cozyline for the climb into Sky Mountain Park and traverse on Skyline Ridge Trail before descending on the always-thrilling Deadline Trail.
They will use Highline Trail and Tom Blake Trail to make their way to the Snowmass Village Mall, and then use roads to access Rim Trail South, Rim Trail North and the descent to the recreation center. They will follow the Brush Creek Bike Path to make another climb up Cozyline, then a descent on the Airline Trail. The paved Owl Creek Trail and soft-surface Buttermilk Connector will get them to the end of the ride — nearly 54 miles later — at the Buttermilk parking lot. Participants will climb 7,264 feet over the grueling course.
No single segment is all that tough, but the ride combines routes that recreational riders typically tackle in two or three separate outings, making for a tough day.
Armstrong’s new enterprise, WEDU, is securing the permits from the Aspen and Pitkin County open space and trails departments, according to the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association.
Registration for the event is free; however, riders will be asked to purchase an annual membership in the mountain-bike association and make a contribution.
The Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association is a chapter of the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Membership supports the mission to create and sustain the best possible local trail system.
Email Pritchard at email@example.com to preregister for the event or volunteer.
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