A message from RTR interim ride director Bill Plock

Anne LawrieLifestyle

Dear Ride The Rockies Riders:

The other day my 18-year-old daughter asked me why I have been going to the mountains so much? Why am I on my phone so much? Why are you staying up so late typing notes?

She of course knew that I got a new job as interim ride director for Ride The Rockies at the beginning of April. She is not a cyclist but kind of figured since the ride is only 8 weeks away that surely most of it has been solidified and that I get to go on the ride and say hi to people and do what I love doing the most, which is to help people have fun on bikes and see my native state of Colorado.

Well, she was right and wrong. Right in that I want to help people have fun on bikes. Wrong that everything had been solidified.

When I started, Wally Zediker, Ride The Rockies Operations Manager, was doing everything possible to make Ride The Rockies come together. The route had been announced, the towns contacted, and agreements verbally talked about. Wally has been working tirelessly to process things like permits, and safety protocols, and working with the larger RTR team to set up registration, handle rider concerns and get answers to the many questions you have had.

As of today, all the towns and agencies have been contacted and agreement on most everything has been accomplished. We still have paperwork to submit, volunteers and staff to finalize but in general things are good.

As you probably know, Ride The Rockies was sold last November, the week before Thanksgiving to Ventures Endurance, a company with a vast portfolio of endurance events including one you probably know, RAGBRAI which is the longest, largest, and oldest bicycle tour in the world. Most of the team working with us has years of experience with RAGBRAI. Together we know that providing a safe and fun experience is paramount and we want you to have the ride of your life.

The team is learning that Colorado is quite a bit different in many ways beyond just the geography of Iowa. I am learning what’s “behind the curtains” of a ride like this. Ride The Rockies is an iconic event, but it’s not easy. Since I started, we have made trips to the host towns. There was a gap of information (like what you have felt) between when the previous ride director left and now. The towns were nervous, they hadn’t heard much. Agencies like CDOT, the Colorado State Patrol and local Sheriff’s departments were looking for permits and answers to their questions. They wanted emergency evacuation plans, and details on the route.  Things like where aid stations are located. Where Marshalls are needed. What food will be where.

Our mountain towns are tired. They are exhausted. They have little help. Events in Colorado, while economically important and becoming huge headaches for them. COVID has pretty much eliminated the normally quiet and rejuvenating mud season with such an influx of people and massive housing issues. An event like Ride The Rockies needs to be more buttoned up than ever before.  We also have a route with challenges. So much hinges on Glenwood Canyon. As most of you know, it’s prone to closures more than ever. So, you can imagine the contingency plans we need in place.

Wally and I have been hitting the road. Shaking hands, filling out pages and pages of permits. Walking the course, meeting with police. Talking to CDOT. Working with sponsors and operators like Zach with Summit Cycle Solutions to understand where you all are staying, where you will be camping. We are arranging for plenty of food and mechanics on course, coffee in the morning and some fun at night with cool bands and cold brews. We are working with local chambers to highlight attractions and to help you enjoy these towns and the mountains I love and grew up in.

I wish it was easy. I wish I had started many months ago. But we are getting there, and we know this is your vacation, your hard-earned money. We are staying up late at night and working weekends because we understand that your lives, your investment, and trust in us is on the line.

For me, this year is hopefully the beginning of an amazing relationship with you for years and years. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for joining us and thanks to my daughter for asking questions and learning to cook more than ever for herself while I help get this done.

My heartfelt thanks to you,

Bill Plock

[email protected]