30 miles of fun

Cyclists gear up for Maybell ride

You'd think 77-year-old legs would need some preparation for a 30-mile bike ride and, in most cases, you'd be right.

But Craig resident John Jepkema hasn't been training for the annual "Where the Hell is Maybell?" trek this weekend.

Regardless, he's confident that he'll complete the journey.

"It'll be OK," said Jepkema, who has participated in the ride for the past 10 years. "My legs are strong."

Strong legs will be needed Saturday for bike riders from across the state who take part in the Maybell trip. Organizers from Craig Parks and Recreation, which sponsors the event, estimated that "Where the Hell is Maybell?" will draw 200 or more participants.

"Oh, at least 200, if not more," said Pam Maneotis, a coordinator with Craig Parks and Recreation. "They come from all over -- Steamboat, Rifle, Denver, Rangely. It's not just Craig. ... If the weather stays nice, we'll have more riders."

Jepkema will ride Saturday with his son, daughter and grandson.

"It's a real pleasurable ride," he said, "a real good family outing."

This year's ride is the 20th anniversary of the event.

It was the brainchild of a handful of bicycle enthusiasts that "decided one day they wanted to ride their bikes and chose Maybell," Maneotis said. From there, it has evolved into one of the area's premier summertime events, she added.

It's certainly been that and more for Craig resident Tom Gilchrist.

Gilchrist rides his bicycle year-round. Four times, he has completed the annual Ride the Rockies, a 380- to 450-mile trip through Colorado, and he also participates in other events.

Still, the Maybell run, microscopic in comparison, is his favorite of the year.

"It's definitely a highlight for me," Gilchrist said. "Thirty miles is still a good ride. ... It's just so much fun. It really is a cool thing."

Gilchrist will also ride Sat--urday with family. Part of the ride's charm is that it is includes a wide range of participants from competitive bicyclists to novices, he said.

"You see everybody from people on $3,000 to $4,000 bikes to people riding on bikes that were hanging in the garage all year," he said. "I've seen people do this on inline skates. It's just a good cross section of everybody."

Like Gilchrist, Jepkema said he will ride the ride as long as it's offered.

"I plan to keep doing it for quite some time," he said.

For more information about Saturday's bike ride, call Craig Parks and Recreation at 826-2029.

Josh Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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