Copper courts road cyclists
COPPER MOUNTAIN – Copper Mountain always has been located in the epicenter of popular cycling rides in the High Country, and it’s high time the resort staked its claim and put its flag in the sand.
In an effort to beef up its summer offerings, Copper representatives have declared the ski area “Colorado’s Road Biking Mecca” and have come up with a line-up of skinny tire activities this summer that will have cyclists drooling.
“We’re really focusing on it,” said Copper communications manager Ben Friedland of the resort’s decision to go big on cycling. “We’re trying to hit everyone with a bang. When it comes to road biking, it absolutely made sense. We’ve already got the infrastructure. You’ve got the scenic byway; you can take a spin up to Vail Pass or down to Frisco, or you can get more riding than you could possibly want (up Freemont Pass, to Minturn, etc.). There’s a great variety.”
Keystone Mountain has its world-class assortment of mountain bike trails, Breckenridge is surrounded by incredible singletrack, but Copper wanted to set itself apart from the crowd.
“It differentiates us from the competition,” Friedland said. “Road cycling is something that naturally does that, purely because of our location.”
Copper has one mountain bike singletrack on its premises and will add another this summer. As far as cycling, however, the roads are already there, surrounding the resort on all sides, and Copper will conduct regular rides and cycling tours in conjunction with Team Managers Ski, Bike and Rowing Co., the owners of which are setting up shop at the resort to function as cycling guides and advisors this summer.
“There’s a lot of people out here who are riding, but they’re all on their own,” said Team Managers owner Stewart Voutour. “It’s nice to have some organized events where like-minded people can show off their bikes and their legs. Copper wants to be set apart from the other areas. Mountain bikes are certainly welcome. But, Keystone does mountain biking, Winter Park does mountain biking … Copper really wants to be the road biking hub.”
The new Team Managers bike shop is located in Copper’s Center Village. Beginning June 28, Team Managers guides will conduct cycling rides and tours to coincide with live music on Saturdays.
The “Crank and Jams” rides will begin at 12 p.m. and last about two hours, so participants can arrive back in Burning Stones Plaza for live music. After the inaugural crank session, rides will take place July 5, Aug. 9, 16, 30 and Sept. 21.
The theme continues on the Sunday mornings of live-music weekends with “Rhythm Rides” from 8 to 10 a.m.
“What I’m thinking of doing is dividing the groups into beginner, intermediate and expert so the hardcore guys can fly and take longer rides and while other people pace themselves and enjoy the scenery,” Voutour said.
For cyclists who like to pretend they’re Lance Armstrong, Copper also will offer three “tour” weekends beginning July 25-27 to honor, and pseudo-simulate, the 2003 Tour de France.
“It’s a tour, not a race,” Voutour said of the Copper tour. “People can check in Friday and get to meet other riders, then have breakfast Saturday before setting out on a long ride, coming back to Copper, have a continental breakfast Sunday and go for for a casual morning ride.”
The Copper Mountain Tour de France takes riders up to Leadville, down to Minturn, to Vail and back to Copper in an 85-mile triangle that includes a French wine party and other aspects of European flair.
The tours continue Aug. 1-3 with the Tour de Summit – a Saturday ride to Breckenridge, Keystone, possibly Montezuma, and through all of Summit’s scenic areas.
Sept. 5-7 wraps up the tour series with the Tour de Femme, a women-only weekend complete with riding technique clinics and yoga. Tour packages include two nights lodging at Copper, breakfast, sag wagon services and more and cost between $265 and $290. Those interested in doing just the rides also are welcome, with the price to be determined.
Team Managers also is considering holding informal criteriums on a weekly, or bi-weekly basis. For more information on Copper Mountain’s new road biking scene and activities, call (800) 458-8386, ext. 4INFO, or visit http://www.coppercolorado.com.
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