This is the end (and the beginning): Ride The Rockies bike tour to start, finish in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

This is the end (and the beginning): Ride The Rockies bike tour to start, finish in Breckenridge

Breckenridge will serve as both the beginning and the end of The Denver Post's annual 418-mile Ride The Rockies Bicycle Tour.

The 2018 route will take the shape of a loop over a six-day stretch, beginning with the Ride The Rockies Bike Expo on Saturday, June 9, in Breckenridge and ending with finish line festivities on Friday, June 15.

In a press release, new tour director Deirdre Moynihan said she hopes a loop tour near the Interstate-70 corridor will make the event more accessible to riders when on and off their bikes.

"We believe this route will entice our veteran cyclists, as well as draw in new folks," Moynihan added.

The 2018 route will take the shape of a loop over a six-day stretch, beginning with the Ride The Rockies Bike Expo on Saturday, June 9 in Breckenridge and ending with finish line festivities on Friday, June 15.

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Ride The Rockies will also host its pre-tour "Prologue Experience" from Friday, June 8, through Sunday, June 10. The Prologue Experience route will take riders from Breckenridge, up and over Hoosier Pass and down through Alma before circling counter-clockwise back north at Fairplay. And the course will be completed via an unpaved route up and over Boreas Pass and back to Breckenridge.

The Prologue Experience provides participants with the opportunity to ride, wine and dine with cycling celebrities — including Olympic legends Mara Abbott and Kristin Armstrong — in Breckenridge. The tour will include a lunch and wine tasting in the middle of South Park City, while the return ride and an accompanying dinner is optional. Gravel bikes will be provided for the unpaved path back over Boreas Pass.

Highlight local High Country landmarks for the main event will include Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass, State Bridge, Rabbit Ears Pass and Ute Pass.

The course will begin by departing Breckenridge north on state Highway 9, turning southwest onto I-70 West before continuing over Fremont Pass to Leadville. The course will then turn back north ascending over Battle Mountain before ending the first day in Avon.

Day 2 will end in Steamboat Springs while a 48-mile day 3 will circle counter-clockwise back to Steamboat Springs. Day 4 will take cyclists over Rabbit Ears and Muddy passes before ending at Grand Lake on the border of Rocky Mountain National Park. Day 5's 32-mile course will conclude in Winter Park.

Then the sixth and final day of the tour will depart Winter Park for an 87-mile bike ride up to Granby, over through Hot Sulphur Springs and south, to the east of the William Forks Mountains. The cyclists will cut through the mountains and reenter Summit County for the first time since day 1 via Ute Pass, the tour concludes by heading south on state Highway 9 before traversing through Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco to the finish line in Breckenridge.

The total elevation gain for the tour is 25,935 vertical feet, with the highest elevations being reached both on days 1 and 6 in Summit County.

Also this year for the first time, on June 12, Ride The Rockies will open up the tour to outside participants for the Steamboat Springs one-day loop.

Registration is now open for the event, which is the biggest fundraiser for The Denver Post Community Foundation. Tour sign-up is on a first come, first-served basis, as the tour said in the press release it is moving away from its former lottery process.

The 33rd annual event will admit 2,000 cyclists and registration prices are tiered, with the first 500 applicants registering at a Tier 1 price level. The event's website currently lists admission for an individual rider at $575, while the cost for the one-day Steamboat Springs ride is $90. Other registration options for individuals include the tour and Prologue Experience for $2,800 and the Prologue Experience on its own for $2,300.

As part of the tour, cyclists can either camp or stay at hotels in the different host communities the tour stops in. Ride The Rockies also says that local businesses in each host community benefit from an estimated $250,000 in economic impact each day of the tour. The Denver Post Community Fund will also award a $5,000 grant to a nonprofit organization in each host town. To learn more about Ride the Rockies, you can visit RideTheRockies.com.

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