Lance Armstrong thinks highly of Aspen’s mountain bike trails and saw an opportunity to create an event to showcase the valley’s summer jewels while at the same time benefit those who build and maintain them.
“We have some of the best trails, single track, anywhere,” Armstrong told The Aspen Times. “The master plan, it’s been very well thought out. It’s been well designed and well built. It’s just a way to highlight some of that.”
Armstrong, the former professional cyclist and part-time Aspen resident, created the Aspen FIFTY mountain bike ride a year ago. Organized by Armstrong’s WEDU Sport enterprise, the event benefited the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association. The association is again on the receiving end of the Aspen FIFTY when it returns for its second go Sunday.
“We are obviously appreciative of being the beneficiary of the race,” said Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association executive director Mike Pritchard. “We are both a pretty mean and lean organization, but we are also spread thin and trying to accomplish a lot throughout the valley. So every little bit helps.”
While last year’s event was primarily a joyride, Sunday’s version looks to be a bona fide race. Organizers expect anywhere from 150 to 200 riders, double what it had in 2016. The 50-mile course will feature many of the popular trails around Aspen, including Smuggler, Hunter Creek, Rim Trail and Government.
A handful of accomplished riders will be on hand, including California’s Larissa Connors. The TWENTY16 team rider recently won the women’s overall title in the prestigious Leadville 100 race.
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