Through the 110-degree heat, a large group of road cyclists are climbing. They’ve left the comfort of cool mountain air 250 miles behind. Yet through the pain of a 2,000-foot ascent, laughter can be heard. A rider drops a water bottle, glancing back to watch it roll off to the side. A fellow rider a few yards behind stops to retrieve it, jokingly claiming it for his own. Comedy and misery often mingle. The peloton experiences these ups and downs together, supporting each other every mile of the way.
Twelve years ago, we decided to hop on our road bikes from our Steamboat Springs, CO headquarters and pedal 100+ miles a day to Outdoor Retailer (OR)—North America’s largest outdoor industry trade show—then located in Salt Lake City. In part to reduce our carbon footprint, but also to explore how group rides connect and bond us. It was the perfect opportunity to really live the lifestyle we encourage our customers to live every day. We’re out there pushing our limits, sharing incredible experiences with friends and enjoying some of the best views our country has to offer.
Exhausted, sore, and sweaty, but smiling, we arrived at our destination 400 miles later—having journeyed through terrain as varied as blistering deserts to breezy mountain passes.
Those first couple years, the Ride was primarily self-supported, and our small crew camped along the way. A lone Subaru followed the group, the driver handing out water, energy bars and peanut butter sandwiches. Now, we partner with Steamboat Springs based adventure travel company, Iconic Adventures, who provides 24-foot box trucks, a chef, a yoga instructor, a bike mechanic and an entire support crew. Oh, and let’s not forget popsicles.