By Bill Plock
On Saturday, August 19 a perfect day on the bike starts from Larkspur, Colorado. It’s called the Wacky Bike Ride.
The popular event, which sister and brother Susie and Ted Wargin launched in 2011, still benefits kids. But the new organizer, nonprofit Project ReCycle based in Douglas County, Colorado, has changed just about everything else. The transformation promises to elevate The Wacky to the top of every cyclist’s one-day ride list.
- Picture postcard course
Project ReCycle assumed ownership of The Wacky in 2016 with the intention of growing the event into a primary source of support for its charitable work. By connecting kids with bikes, the nonprofit fosters educational achievement and hope for at-risk kids.
After running the 2016 edition with the pre-existing suburban Highlands Ranch venue and routes, Project ReCycle decided to entirely revamp the journey for 2017.
Scenery, challenge, fun and a tailored experience ranked high as priorities for Alberto “AJ” Stapleton, Project ReCycle’s founder and executive director, and Jeff Fleck, founder of Bikes for Tykes and one of Project ReCycle’s board of directors. They’ve partnered with Centura Health’s Castle Rock Adventist Hospital as community sponsor for the event. The hospital also supports the nonprofit.
The new route starts and ends in Larkspur Community Park. All five ride choices follow cycling-friendly roads and trails scented by sun-warmed pine against the backdrop of fourteener Pikes Peak. Distance options include 33, 62, and 100 miles on the road, 18 miles of gravel grinder in Spruce Meadows Open Space and 12 out-and-back miles for families. The sunny and shaded course passes through Monument, Palmer Lake and the Black Forest area, touching northern Colorado Springs.
Relocating the route opened the door to increased challenge and the kind of day that cycling buddies crave and subsequently relive over well-earned beers and tasty eats.
- Great climbing, Leg-testing terrain
Century participants tackle 6,263 feet of elevation gain. The metric century scores a tough rating too with 4,225 feet of climbing and the 33 milers ascend 2,181 feet. Extra-competitive road riders can opt into The Wacky Strava Challenge, a section of Tomah Road that will yield a King and Queen of The Wacky mountains. Gravel grinders get to decide how many times to repeat the 18 mile loop’s 1,175 feet of giddyup. Families, though, enjoy an easy combination of pavement, off-road and gravel surfaces.
To facilitate enjoyment in the challenge, the organizer offers preparatory group rides described on its Facebook events and Team Project ReCycle Meetup pages.
- More silly fun Cyclists whose definition of fun encompasses more than sweat and gears will also find new treats in store, such as volunteers masquerading as Wonder Woman and Spider-Man and friends. The superheroes’ job is to cheer on all cyclists on the Strava segment, creating a Tour de France atmosphere. A well-drilled poms team will welcome families and kids into the food and fun zone.
Plans are in the works for future zany additions to delight bikers. In the meantime, selecting the VIP package promises added relaxation and recovery.