Riders work their way toward Steamboat during the 2011 Tour de Steamboat. This year’s event will start Saturday with registration open until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday at www.tourdesteamboat.com.

Joel Reichenberger/file

Riders work their way toward Steamboat during the 2011 Tour de Steamboat. This year’s event will start Saturday with registration open until 11:59 p.m. Wednesday at www.tourdesteamboat.com.

Tour de Steamboat fundraising ride returns Saturday

— Few can imagine the toll a 110-mile bike ride takes on the body. Then again, few can imagine the refreshing feeling a cold beer and tasty barbecue bring after a ride like that is completed.

The estimated 700 participants in this Saturday’s Kent Eriksen Cycles Tour de Steamboat rides will get to know both of those extremes.

The century ride was revitalized in 2002 after Eriksen ran the event for years in the 1980s. The event returned as a ride to encourage the camaraderie of cycling enthusiasts in Colorado.

“It’s a cool event because it’s so small,” said Katie Lindquist, a co-founder of the reinvigorated tour. “It gives you a chance to get to know the other riders.”

Riders have three mileage options to decide just how refreshing they want that concluding beer to taste. Along with the classic 110-mile trail — which will take riders up Rabbit Ears Pass, through Gore Pass and back into town on Colorado Highway 131 — there is a 26-mile loop out to Sidney Peak Ranch and a 40-mile out-and-back ride to Stagecoach Reservoir.

Each ride begins Saturday morning at Little Toots Park at 12th and Yampa streets and concludes there with a barbecue, beer and live music for the riders.

“It’s a very traditional ride in Steamboat Springs, and with all the aid stations, it makes it a lot more attainable for the average rider,” Lindquist said about the 110-mile loop. “It brings people to a neat part of the state they normally wouldn’t get to see.”

The event kicks off with a fundraising dinner for its four beneficiaries at The Steamboat Grand from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. Riders also can pick up their packets at Ski Haus from 3 to 7 p.m. that day, as well. The deadline to register for the ride is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday.

All proceeds from the dinner and the rides go to Routt County Riders, Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide, Partners in Routt County and the Yampa Valley Sustainability Council.

Tickets for the dinner can be purchased at www.yvsc.org/calendar/upcoming-events/tour-de-steamboat-benefit-dinner-july-19.

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.

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