CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (AP) More than 2,000 cyclists began pedaling the 432-mile Ride the Rockies tour Sunday morning.
The six-day ride crosses four major mountain passes and promises spectacular views.
Crested Butte Mayor Linda Powers had some advice for riders this year: Bring plenty of spare tires for the rugged Rocky Mountain ride, leave the cell phone at home and watch out for moose and bears.
On Sunday, cyclists plunged 4,200 feet downward for 19 miles to the destination Buena Vista.
Monday's ride will be a 14-mile unpaved ascent from 8,000 feet east of Crested Butte up the west side of Cottonwood Pass, cresting at 12,126 feet. It's the first time the route entails riding on rocks.
Later in this week, cyclists will cross the 12,183-foot Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park and the 10,242-foot Tenessee Pass between the Mosquito mountains and the Holy Cross Wilderness.
The Ride the Rockies tour started in 1985.
Cottonwood : 12,126 ft.
Trail Ridge: 12,183 feet
Tennesse Pass: 10,424
Rabbit Ears Pass: 9,426