Historic Elephant Rock crosses the finish line
Dating back 35 years, the sunrise to sunset Elephant Rock (ER) bike ride drew thousands of recreational and competitive cyclists over the years and is one of Colorado’s oldest cycling events. This year is the final year for the ride, the last year for cyclists to wind down country roads with breathtaking views, as the ever-popular event comes to a close. With a heavy heart and passion for cycling, past participants are sorry to see ER disband.
“Due to rapid growth in the area and challenges with increased traffic and construction, we’ve decided to discontinue the Front Range classic after this year,” noted Scott Olmsted, event director.
In the early years, Castle Rock had a population of 10,000 and today it has a bustling 80,000+ residents. The inaugural ride was held in 1987 at Lewis Palmer High School in Monument and was attended by roughly 1,200 riders. As years went on, ER became well known and was a highly-attended cycling event that eventually had to be moved to the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock.
Reminiscing about ER, Castle Pines resident Doug Waltermire, an avid cyclist and member of the Village Idiots Cycling Club, stated that he was always looking for new and different rides that would challenge him. He added that the ER ride was a challenge and always very well organized.
“What a great feeling it is to finish a long ride and cruise under the big banner with people smiling and clapping,” smiled Waltermire. “I can’t speak for the others, but I’m always completely spent after the E-Rock ride and look forward to finishing, having a good meal, browsing the vendor tents, and then …. a nap!” he added.
The last ER ride is scheduled for June 5 from 6:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., starting and finishing at Douglas County Fairgrounds, located at 500 Fairgrounds Road in Castle Rock.
Cyclists, kids, and adults can choose from 100-, 62- and 45-mile rides, or a 12-mile family ride and a kids’ race. The rides are only part of the fun. The Colorado Bike Expo will have many exhibits, live music, food and more.
Celebrate the fantastic history of ER and join fellow cycling enthusiasts by participating in the ride to conclude an amazing era. For more information, visit https://events.outsideonline.com/events/.
By Patte Smith; photos courtesy of Doug Waltermire