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Elephant Rock riders find a wheel fun time

Annual cycling festival draws thousands to Castle Rock


On a beautiful Sunday morning, nearly 6,000 people went for a ride during the 30th annual Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock.

There were riders of all abilities and ages on different types of bikes at the June 4 event. The finish-line area sometimes became congested with riders taking pictures and one of the familiar refrains heard was "we did it."

There were five different courses that cyclists could choose to ride: the 100-mile, 62-mile, 42-mile, 27-mile gravel and 8-mile family routes.

Joe Smith, of Lone Tree, rode the 62-mile course in four hours, 31 minutes and 26 seconds, with an average speed of 13.4 mph.

“It went really well,” he said. “I cut my time from last year and the reason I did that is I trained more. I rode a 100 miles just last week.

“I like to ride. I have a stationary kinetic bike in the basement. I get on that and turn on the television. I ride for the exercise and health and to get ready for the MS150, which is the last weekend of June.”

Sean Hanley, of Denver, put aside his mountain bike for a road cycle and also finished the 62-mile ride in less than five hours.

“It was a beautiful ride,” Hanley said. “I've been around Castle Rock for 20 years and never had ridden it. I just started road biking. I've been mountain biking my whole life.”

Challenging was a word that several riders used to describe their ride.

Randy Gleason, of Parker, crossed the finish line seven hours after starting the century course.

“I've been doing this for about 15 years and this is the third year with the new course,” he said. “It's always fun just to push yourself and challenge yourself a little bit. And it's a nice warmup for a lot of other rides I'm going to do this summer.”

It was also challenging for Manisha Hira, of Commerce City, with her son Shivan in a child trailer during the family ride in which the Castle Rock Police Department escorted cyclists through construction downtown.

Susan Gobbo, of Morrison, was accompanied by her young grandson Damien on a bike beside her.

“I've done this one other time but this is my grandson's first time,” she said. “I hope we are ready for this. We are trying to get him excited about biking and see what he can do as a youngster.”

Everybody seemed excited to see and ask Everod Samuel, of Centennial, about his bike called the Ordinary, a high-wheeler. He rode it over the 62-mile course.

One rider saw the bike after Samuel went inside for some lunch and said, "I passed it a couple times on the ride and wanted to get a picture of it but couldn't."

Samuel spent a lot of time talking to people about his bike and how it can be difficult to get on and off and to stop.

“Oh, yeah, a lot of people look at it and I get some interesting comments too,” Samuel said. “It's a lot harder to ride than a regular bicycle. It was tough for me to learn to ride it, but you learn very quickly.

“I did this last year for the first time. Oh man, that first hill today was tough. If I would of had 10 more yards to go I would not have made it."

Scot Harris, Elephant Rock event director, said the 6,000 riders matched last year's estimated total.

“The weather couldn't have been better, no wind, and all the riders were happy," he said.


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