Pedal the Plains is a 3-day road cycling ride in Eastern Colorado that will be held from September 13-15, 2019. The ride features a 3-day fully-supported option, with a one-day road century option too.
This year's ride travels through the Colorado communities of Holly, Lamar, and Springfield and celebrates Colorado's rich pioneer and agricultural traditions. We asked organizer Deirdre Moynihan of the Denver Post Community Foundation about the ride.
Cycling West: Tell us about the 2019 ride and the course. What are the highlights along the way? How many riders do you expect?
Pedal the Plains: The terrain is predominantly flat with some rollers but no major climbs that is for sure. We travel through fields of corn, milo, wheat and cattle! It is very bucolic and peaceful. There are two options on Saturday: a Century and a 70 mile route so people seeking an additional challenge can find it. The route is very attainable to all with stops every 10 miles.
CW: Looks like you have lunches by the Future Farmers of America. What are the food and beverage highlights during and after the ride each day? How do you showcase local agriculture and culinary options?
PTP: We showcase them in a variety of ways. For example, the Colorado Egg Producers are at an Aid Station every day with hard boiled eggs. The Colorado FFA (Future Farmers of America) do lunch every day and source out local food to use. We always try to use the local crop as much as possible – this area is a bit interesting because the local crop really is beef! The 2019 Route really travels through cattle country.
CW: Tell us more about the history of the area and the points of interest on the ride.
PTP: We are traveling to the far southeastern corner of Colorado this year and touching our wheels into Kansas as well. This area is full of history and stories of the wild west. For example, on Friday, we travel along what was the Santa Fe Trail. In 1821, the Santa Fe Trail became America's first great international commercial highway, and for nearly sixty years thereafter was one of the nation's great routes of adventure and western expansion. On Friday, we are also stopping at the Amache Camp, a Japanese internment camp based in Granada, CO during WWII. And that is just one day of the route emphasizing how much history there is in the area. Saturday and Sunday are equally as interesting in terms of showcasing the area. On Saturday, we will stop in Two Buttes named after the Two Buttes that can be viewed from the town. Two Buttes is one of the smallest incorporated “cities” in the state. The population in the town is about 50, however many buildings and structures remain from its heyday when the population was around 2000. The town was founded under the formation of the dam at Two Buttes creek making Two Buttes Reservoir. Two Buttes was officially incorporated in 1911. Over the years the reservoir has evaporated and today it is used by local county residents for boating. There is also a local swimming hole called the Black Hole on the other side of the dam enjoyed by locals. Sunday will include stops at the gallery of Cowboy Poet and metal artist Bill “Three Feathers” Bunting, followed by a visit to the Colorado Green Project. So, through out the ride you will meet some of the great people of the Plains, learn the history and how they are surviving now.
CW: Can you tell us about the beneficiaries of the ride?
PTP: The 2 key beneficiaries are:
- Colorado FFA: Integrated into the curriculum of over 100 high schools in Colorado, the Colorado FFA Foundation is the premier co-curricular leadership organization for students ages 14 – 18. Most members of Colorado FFA do not come from a farm or ranch but have a desire to learn more about agriculture and the inspiring task of providing food and fiber to a growing population. Areas of focus are: premier leadership; personal growth; and career success through agricultural education.
- Colorado 4-H: Embedded in the CSU Extension Offices, 4-H is a non-profit designed for youth ages 5 through 18 years of age living in counties across the state. 4-H began over 100 years ago as an educational program for the rural youth of America. Their mission remains to empower young people to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. Through projects in environmental science, rocketry, foods and nutrition, animal science, and photography, members of 4-H learn important skills such as leadership, ethics, decision making, record keeping, responsibility, and community service. The 4-H motto, “To make the best BETTER,” is something that this non-profit strives to accomplish as it embarks on another century of service for America’s youth.
CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?
PTP: One of the great parts of Pedal The Plains is the fun of the Host Communities at the end of each day. There is music, beer, ice cream sundaes, homemade pies, food from chuck wagons and real foot stompin’ country fun. The whole community comes out to support the ride and celebrate. It is so much fun.
September 13-15, 2019 — Pedal the Plains, Kiowa, CO, PTP will take cyclists through the host communities of Holly, Lamar, Springfield. Celebrates the agricultural roots and frontier heritage of the Eastern Plains of Colorado. Learn about farming and ranching, while experiencing the culture, history and landscape of Colorado’s high plains. The Tour incorporates interactive on-route experiences by staging rest stops on farms, posting educational points of interest and serving community meals composed of locally sourced food! Proceeds from Pedal The Plains benefit The Denver Post Community Foundation in support of the Colorado FFA Foundation and Colorado 4-H., Deirdre Moynihan, 303-954-6704, [email protected], pedaltheplains.com