Craig cyclists have ride of a lifetime with Ride the Rockies | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig cyclists have ride of a lifetime with Ride the Rockies

Annual Denver Post bike ride covers hundreds of miles

The mountain landscapes of Colorado are sights that many consider the envy of the nation, even the world. And, as lovely as they look on a postcard or through a car windshield, the vistas are even greater when you're right there walking through it.

Or better yet, biking through it.

Cyclists from across the globe recently had the opportunity to participate in The Denver Post's Ride the Rockies Colorado Bicycle TourThe Denver Post’s Ride the Rockies Colorado Bicycle Tour, a state tradition since 1986 that takes riders along hundreds of miles of the Centennial State’s natural wonders. Riding in this year’s tour, which took place June 12 to 17 starting in Carbondale and ending in Fort Collins with 2,000 cyclists entering through a lottery system, were three Craig residents: Catherine Scroggs, Terry Carwile and John Bolton., a state tradition since 1986 that takes riders along hundreds of miles of the Centennial State's natural wonders. Riding in this year's tour, which took place June 12 to 17 starting in Carbondale and ending in Fort Collins with 2,000 cyclists entering through a lottery system, were three Craig residents: Catherine Scroggs, Terry Carwile and John Bolton.

The Denver Post's Ride the Rockies Colorado Bicycle Tour, a state tradition since 1986 that takes riders along hundreds of miles of the Centennial State's natural wonders. Riding in this year's tour, which took place June 12 to 17 starting in Carbondale and ending in Fort Collins with 2,000 cyclists entering through a lottery system, were three Craig residents: Catherine Scroggs, Terry Carwile and John Bolton.

This was the first time Bolton has hit the road for Ride the Rockies, the biking enthusiast preparing several months for the week that would be one of the most physical of his life.

"I used to think Rabbit Ears (Pass) was the ride to ride, but I know better now," he said. "Rabbit Ears is tough but nothing like this."

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Carwile, on the other hand, is a Ride the Rockies veteran, this year marking his 14th excursion.

"Most all of the routes that you contemplate, I've ridden more than once, and this year they picked out a route that I hadn't ridden before," he said noting a stretch through Ute Pass he wanted to try.

The 2016 route included a total 403 miles, starting with 50 miles from Carbondale to Aspen the first day. Day two was quite grueling, riders going from 8,000 feet in elevation to 12,096 at Independence Pass, though the highest point was still yet to come on day five at Trail Ridge Summit's 12,183.

Bolton said he was almost ready to quit by the third day, opting to skip a loop that started and ended at Cooper Mountain with 79 miles taking the group back through Fremont Pass and into Tennessee Pass, Battle Mountain and Vail Pass.

Still, after a day of recuperation and a tune-up on his bike, he was good to go again.

"The mental preparation is as difficult as the physical, believing that your body will do that difficult thing and listening to your body," he said.

Days four and five took cyclists through Hot Sulphur Springs, Grand Lake and Estes Park.

"When you get up there at that altitude, oxygen is an issue," Carwile said. "You'll aspirate your hydration as much as you sweat, and you'll dehydrate through breathing quicker than sweating."

Bolton said the incline was tough to deal with, as were the high winds that hit them at certain points.

"The good thing is that what goes up must also come down," he laughed.

Carwile's first Ride the Rockies was in 1995, a route that included Craig, which was last included on the tour in 2007. Carwile noted that he spoke with departing Tour Director Chandler Smith about bringing the journey back to the northwest part of the state, which he was told has a high rate of trucking traffic that could prove problematic for cyclists.

Regardless of where future routes take them, Bolton and Carwile said this year's event won't be their last, both hoping to see more Craig people turn out for the program.

"I love the countryside in Colorado at 15 miles an hour as opposed to 65," Carwile said. "I'd encourage anybody to give it a try. You discover something about yourself, the old axiom that there are no greater obstacles than the ones you place in front of yourself is the truth."

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.