At the beginning, in Craig, there were the two big hills.
At the end, in Maybell, there were the pancakes.
In between were 30 miles of open road.
The 18th annual Where the Hell is Maybell bike ride took place Saturday morning.
Riders started out not too long after true dawn, clipping into their pedals just west of Craig at Northwest Storage and U-Haul before making the climb to the Western Knolls subdivision. Other riders, many with children in tow, started at the subdivision to avoid the climb.
Last year, 200 people made the ride, many coming from Steamboat Springs to experience Moffat County's sagebrush-covered countryside. Volunteer Beth Gilchrist who was serving pancakes said this year's turnout was similar.
Former Craig resident Tom Harper was in town for the weekend visiting his parents.
"It was my first time to do the Maybell ride," Harper said.
"It's a little different than some others."
At home in Banning, Calif., Harper regularly rides on organized trips, such as the Acura L.A. Bike Tour, which follows the course of the Los Angeles Marathon the day before the race.
About 17,000 people participate in that ride, so cyclists are constantly riding in a pack, Harper said.
He appreciated that riders could spread out along U.S. Highway 40 for the Maybell ride.
Harper said he would try to make the ride again next year and would bring some friends.
Many of the riders left cars in Maybell so they could drive back to Craig, and others had rides waiting for them.
Still others ate breakfast -- $5 for a stack of pancakes, a scoop of eggs, bacon, sausage and orange juice -- then climbed back on their bikes to pedal back to Craig.
Terry Carwile, who has ridden more than 400 miles on the Ride the Rockies Tour and plans to ride it again this year, quadrupled the length of the ride.
He biked south from Maybell toward Meeker and looped around to Craig for a 120-mile trip.
The proceeds of the breakfast went toward a Craig Parks and Recreation Department scholarship fund that helps low-income families with recreation activities.
The ride originated 18 years ago after a group of bicyclists made the trip and found it enjoyable, said an inital organizer Tom Told.
The event increased in popularity as organizers added T-shirts and a breakfast.
Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org