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Team Evergreen proposes mountain bike series in Jeffco open space

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By Sandy Barnes

Members of Team Evergreen Cycling are exploring the possibility of holding biking events at Jefferson County open space parks. The Mountain Bike Series of the organization would raise funds for trail construction and renovation, said Tom Hoby, director of Jeffco Parks and Open Space.

“Our role would be to host these events,” Hoby at the July meeting of the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee.

Peter Morales, president of Team Evergreen, said his organization would like to schedule about five biking events a year in open space parks, with proceeds them going back into the places where they were held.

“At this stage of the game, there is a discussion of how we will pull off logistics,” he said.

“There will be a lot of logistics,” Morales added. “We would be closing a couple of parks a few days a year.”

Jeffco board member Ken Morfit asked how many people would participate in one of the biking events.

Team Evergreen organizes large events, such as the Triple Bypass from Evergreen to Vail, which draws nearly 6,000 riders, replied Morales.

“We do this all the time,” he remarked.

Along with fund-raising, the mountain bike series in open space parks would create an opportunity to attract younger participants, Morales said.

“I think it’s a progressive vision,” he said.

“How do you handle safety on road bike races?” asked open space board member Wayne Forman.

“We have roving people on bikes,” replied Jennifer Barbour, executive director of Team Evergreen.

During bike events, there are aid stations for participants, she added.

“There’s an educational component,” said Barbour of the mountain bike series. “Jefferson County is a training ground for a lot of people.”
Morfit asked whether Team Evergreen organizers would consider limiting an event in an open space to 500 people.

“The impact is an important issue,” replied Morales. “I think we could do this.”

Barbour said event organizers would be concerned with preserving the natural environment of the parks where events were held.

Board member Tookie Nemchak asked about parking for the events, which she said can be an issue at many open space parks.

“Almost the first thing I thought about is parking,” replied Morales.

Shuttles to and from biking events could be a possibility, he said.

Team Evergreen Cycling is an established and reputable organization, and one of the largest biking groups in the state, Hoby said.

The organization based in Evergreen has about 700 members and an active schedule of biking events and tours, which include major fund-raisers.

In addition to the annual Triple Bypass, which took place earlier this month, the organization also coordinates the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb each summer. The event, which is taking place this year on July 26, features a bicycle race on the highest paved road in the country. Those who participate in the event climb from an elevation of 7,500 to 14,130 feet to reach the summit of Mount Evans.

In the past 10 years, Team Evergreen has made more than $1.3 million in contributions to 60 charitable organizations, according to information on the organization’s website.

Contact Sandy Barnes at sandy@evergreenco.com.