‘Circle the Summit’ with fellow cyclists | SummitDaily.com

‘Circle the Summit’ with fellow cyclists

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

On Aug. 18, cyclists will gather to circle the summit in the ride of the same name.

The premier road biking event in Summit County includes 21-, 45-, 60- and 100-mile courses of Circle the Summit/ Bob Guthrie Memorial Ride that are entirely contained within Summit County’s borders. The event in its fifth year typically attracts hundreds of riders keen to both complete the leisure ride and to donate their entry fee to bettering the county’s recpaths.

Currently, there are 400 riders registered for the Summit Biking-organized event, but capacity is 750. Avalanche Physical Therapy and Sports Rehabilitation co-sponsors the ride, with support from various county businesses.

Last year, 605 riders signed up. For $65 (the price goes up $10 on Aug. 15), riders can buy a morning of riding with like-minded individuals, a water bottle and a lunch provided by the Mint Steakhouse, Dillon Dam Brewery, Mary’s Mountain Cookies and several breweries with entertainment by guitarist Mike Woodard. There’s also the food and drink provided by sponsors at the aid stations.

Money raised in the event goes toward enhancing the bicycling experience in Summit County. Some of the money helped the county obtain grants to build out the Swan Mountain recpath section, which was completed last year.

In spring 2011, solar lights were installed in the Vail Pass Tunnel, and two years ago, a junior cycling program began with the help of funds raised through the Circle the Summit event. The program encourages and supports young riders in Summit County. Projects on the horizon include improved recpath signage, constructing weather shelters and expanding the path in the future.

The ride starts and ends at the Frisco Community Center on Third Avenue, regardless of the course length chosen. All of them feature the county’s 55 miles of recpath, which is what spurred organizers to start the event.

“The scenery. The lack of traffic. The food. The camaraderie. The chance to meet other riders. The ride around the lake,” are all reasons to ride Circle the Summit, Summit Biking member and registration coordinator Arnie Henden said.

It’s also a chance to remember Bob Guthrie, the man who breathed new life into the Swan Mountain recpath project. The recpath section was part of the plan, but it took Guthrie’s “infectious energy” and drive to jump-start it and push it toward completion. Guthrie died in a skiing accident in 2008, but his memory and legend lives on in the recreational community.

“This guy, if you ever met him, you’d remember him forever,” Henden said. “He made an instant impact by coming to the county and inspiring people to bike and ski.”

“Without the efforts of Bob Guthrie and the Summit Biking Club, the Swan Mountain recpath wouldn’t be where it is today,” added Brad Eckert with Summit County Open Space and Trails.

Century riders launch at 7 a.m., with the 21-mile riders beginning their pedal at 11. Other riders begin at 9 for the 60-mile ride and 10 for the 45-mile ride.

“We may not be the longest or toughest ride Colorado has to offer, but we are the best small ride and our scenery is hard to beat,” said Norm Stoller, event co-chair.

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