Armstrong commits to Steamboat’s Ride 4 Yellow
July 7, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Lance is in.
David Nagel, event director for the Aug. 8 Ride 4 Yellow event in Steamboat Springs, confirmed Wednesday that cycling superstar Lance Armstrong plans to pedal in one of the event's two signature mountain bike rides.
"We're stoked," Nagel said. "This is really exciting. I'm pumped."
Armstrong will ride in the Ride the Divide event, a 26-mile course along the Continental Divide Trail. The ride starts on Rabbit Ears Pass and ends at the top of the gondola at Steamboat Ski Area.
Nagel said the ride, which requires cyclists to collect $500 in donations for the Lance Armstrong Foundation, is about half full, with about 100 of the 200 spots spoken for.
The news was revealed in a Twitter post from Ben Coates, who is in France representing Trek and assisting Armstrong in his quest to win his eighth Tour de France title and his first since he won seven straight from 1999 to 2005.
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Now, Ride 4 Yellow organizers are bracing for the impact they expect Armstrong's announcement to bring.
"We had to make sure our website is cached correctly to handle all the traffic," Nagel said. "We already get hit by about 20 different countries daily. We're all getting ready to hold on to our hats."
In addition to the Ride the Divide event, interested riders can sign up for a shorter cross-country ride on Mount Werner for $75, or just buy tickets for a charity lunch.
Returning to Steamboat
Armstrong is no stranger to Colorado — he owns a home in Aspen and regularly races in the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. He's left his calling card in Steamboat Springs, as well.
In April, Armstrong signed on as a part-owner of Steamboat-based Honey Stinger, an energy chew, bar and gel company. He's even had a taste of Routt County's trails, riding in the Mercury Tour stop in Steamboat in 1999, just a month after winning his first Tour de France title and capping an unbelievable comeback from cancer after his 1996 diagnosis.
Armstrong might not have the fondest memory of his experience here — he completed only one day of the stage race, quitting on Day 2 after crashing several times on the same trail he just committed to ride for next month's fund-raising event.
Still, luring Armstrong to Steamboat was a part of the Ride 4 Yellow plan from the get-go. Nagel said the date was carefully chosen to fall in a known hole in Armstrong's schedule, two weeks after the end of the Tour de France and one week before the Leadville race.
Even pre-Lance, the event was to raise money for Armstrong's foundation. His mother, Linda Armstrong Kelly, committed early on to be the keynote speaker at the charity lunch.
An auction to raise money for the event is ongoing at http://www.proxi
bid.com, and many of the items have an Armstrong link to them, including a signed cycling jersey and a trip to Texas for a fundraising event that will include a semi-private ride with Armstrong.
"We kind of tailored this event so he could come," Nagel said. "We will have his mother here, and we also are working with a lot of his major sponsors like Trek, Radio Shack, Michelob Ultra and Honey Stringer."
For Steamboat, Armstrong's commitment is yet another boon in a summer that's so far been full of good news for cyclists.
A committee is working to make Steamboat one of the nation's most inclusive cycling destinations, an effort it hopes ends up earning the town the moniker "Bike Town USA."
The Gravity Logic trail-building team from Whistler, British Columbia, started work Tuesday mapping out potential downhill-only freeride trails for the Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. on Mount Werner.
A new mountain bike pump track has been built in Ski Time Square and could open to the public as soon as Friday, and the Steamboat Stage Race will be back for its second year in September. The annual Tour de Steamboat noncompetitive road ride is coming up later this month.
Wednesday's Armstrong announcement is another feather in the cap.
"That's going to be huge for us," said Robin Craigen, president of Routt County Riders and one of the Ride 4 Yellow organizers. "We've been working on this event for over a year, and we're very, very excited that Lance can make it. We can't wait to reacquaint him with our trails."