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Valley gives bike riders a warm welcome

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This year's Ride The Rockies cycle tourists got their first view of Delta County on June 15 along the leisurely downhill stretch of Highway 65 below County Line, and they got their first taste of Delta County friendliness from the Surface Creek Valley at a scheduled rest stop in Cedaredge Town Park.

The Cedaredge High School state-champion marching band offered energy-boosting treats and raised funds for its trip to Washington, D.C., next year.

A local family set up a concession stand offering home-made high-energy goodies and made money for a special summer vacation.

The Cedaredge Rotary Club greeted riders and raised funds for community projects.

A local restaurant posted flyers on the doors of eight "porta-potties" set up in Town Park pitching a daily lunch special.

For the bike riders, from the County Line ski area it was "Good-bye, Mesa County uphill" and "Hello, Delta County downhill."

There was one report of the cyclists being harrassed by other motorists with the incident being finally resolved in Delta by police there.

At Cedaredge things got even better for the riders of the 30th annual Ride The Rockies bicycle tour. They coasted in to a cool, shady Town Park where an official aid station waited, along with friendly local residents offering cool drinks, energy-building snacks, encouragement and good wishes for the remainder of the seven-day tour. It was a spontaneous outreach by people in the community.

Riders commented that the 6,000-foot elevation gain up the north side of Grand Mesa to the County Line area was tough. Some of the riders, apparently pretty tough themselves, said it wasn't too bad.

But for the stretch on south from County Line, the riders' reactions to the Delta County side of the ride were expressed with big grins, nodding heads and single-word exclamations -- "Great," "Beautiful," and "Nice."

The riders began coasting into Cedaredge on Monday morning, the second day of the annual Ride The Rockies tour. The first ones arrived a bit after 10 a.m. Larger groups began arriving an hour or so later.

Riders stopped to munch on fresh quartered oranges, pretzels, PB&J on white, and banana smoothies at the official aid station. An official concession stand had been set up by a restaurateur who said he owns two Greeley eateries. With him were his two daughters who are trying to make money for their college.

Once dismounted, riders hit the water coolers and dove into the deep shade of the park and Lions Pavilion for a rest break. Their day's pedalling would take them next out across Cedar and Redlands mesas to their overnight destination in Hotchkiss.

Riders came from other states (Arizona and Idaho for example) and a lot of them came from various places along the Front Range.

In addition to the restaurant that chose "porta-potty" doors as its advertising venue of choice, some other enterprising Cedaredge folk found the event to be a fundraising opportunity.

The Cedaredge High School Bruins marching band wasn't missing a beat as band members set up a concession stand catering to the arriving riders. The students were staging one of the numerous fundraisers they will be hosting in the coming year to help pay for their invitation to perform in national celebrations at Washington, D.C., next Memorial Day.

A local resident, Susie Hirsch, and her four children were also selling concessions to help raise funds for their family's special planned trip to LegoLand this summer.

Susie is a veterinarian practicing alongside her veterinarian husband Jeff. Interestingly, in 1986 Susie was the youngest female rider in the first ever Ride The Rockies tour. She made the ride with her mother and lived in Junction at that time.

Susie and her four children were marketing concessions including homemade brownies and cookies (preferred by many riders to the commercial energy bar products) and bags of fresh fruit. Her children are Winnie, 12; Tori, 10; Alex, 9; and Gus, 4. Also helping out at the family concession stand was Susie's aunt, Marilyn Pipkin of Cedaredge.

The Cedaredge Rotary Club was also on hand offering, and selling, raffle tickets to fund its ongoing community improvement projects.

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Cedaredge, Ride the Rockies
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