Dear Durango Wheel Club Members,
After months of work and years of discussion, the Durango Wheel Club is excited and proud to announce its new club ride plan for the 2009 season!
As you all know, the DWC Board of Directors (Steering Committee) decided to end the official Tuesday club rides early last year to address a number of growing safety concerns including: traffic congestion, route safety and group sizes. Our rides started at 5:30 pm, which put us on the roads during peak commuting time. Considering this, coupled with the fact that many of our favorite routes place us on heavily used roads with little or no shoulders, and group sizes that regularly reach 40+ riders, you have the makings of a catastrophe. Remarkably, we have not had a tragic accident. Over the last three years, we have received an increasing number of complaints from motorists, commuting cyclists and law enforcement that our group rides were causing problems.
The question of how to fix the club ride issue has been one that the Steering Committee has been extensively debating since 2006. During the last few years we sought input from riders of all ability levels. We tried a number of strategies to keep the 5:30 start time to accommodate people getting off work. We varied the start times for certain rides, moved starting points further from the center of town and asked ride leaders to split large groups. When none of these efforts had the desired effect, we concluded that we needed to come up with a different solution to the increasing problem.
After analyzing our group rides’ strengths and weaknesses, surveying club members, and examining cycling club group rides in other towns, we decided to change Tuesday night rides to Saturday and offer alternative events on Tuesday nights.
During several meetings this winter with the state, county and Durango law enforcement officials we were pleased with the support we received. Captain Petrik of the Colorado State Patrol noted that this was the first time in his long career that a cycling club approached him to address safety and work together to find solutions to issues. It was a sentiment that was echoed by almost all of the other law enforcers. This is significant because Captain Petrik was an officer on the Boulder force when they shut down club rides because of the problems and the lack of leadership or willingness of the cycling community to work with the officers.
Our plan is to have all of our cycling groups ride the same route on Saturdays. (See end of this post for routes.) The groups will go off in intervals with the fastest group departing first to prevent groups from merging. In order to alert motorists of our riders, we will have one follow-car with a ‘cyclists ahead’ sign on the back. These routes will be publicized to the general public and posted on our website by March 10th. Law enforcement officials will also know our times, dates and routes well ahead of time. They have generously offered to escort some of the rides.
In place of Tuesday evening group rides we hope to promote a series of events that will consist of criteriums, circuit races and hill-climb races. We would like to hold these events on a combination of private roads and public roads with little traffic. In order to hold these events properly we will be seeking permission from neighborhoods and businesses to use their private roads. Now that we have the support of local law enforcement we hope to gain access to the roads necessary to hold these events.
We will continue the Thursday night Time Trial series with two divisions: Armstrong Division: where you can use your aerodynamic toys, and the Merckx Division: where aerodynamic equipment is not allowed. We will present the details of the Tuesday night events and the Thursday TT series in the coming weeks.
Our plan addresses some issues. However, there is a long tradition of our Tuesday night rides with many of our members using these as important training events for weekend races. We acknowledge that these changes will result in many objections from local cyclists. We understand this is a drastic change, but it is one that will make the rides far safer. This new plan allows us to continue riding in large groups on our limited number of roads in a manner that does not invite disaster.
Although some will favor the changes that we have made and some will not, we hope that you will all try to work with us this season as we implement our new plan. We have worked hard to put together a plan that we think will keep our cyclists safe while still offering excellent riding opportunities. Your patience and support are greatly appreciated.
May you have an excellent 2009 cycling season!
Please direct questions or concerns to Spencer at:
Routes for the 2009 Durango Wheel Club Saturday Group Rides
Mid-March until DWC Championships in September.
NOTE: Dates for rides will be posted on DWC website by March 1st, 2009.
Needles and Beyond: Meet at Iron Horse Inn. US 550N (obey traffic light at Trimble Lane!) to Needles country store, regroup at designated turn-around, head back to town. Finish at Welcome to Durango Sign on US 550S. This ride can be shortened to Haviland Lake or extended to Purgatory. A variation for small groups would be to continue to the top of Coal Bank Pass. This is a good ride for large groups because we have a wide shoulder the entire way. It is also the best training for the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic.
Mancos: Meet at Tech Center. US 160W to Mancos, turn around. Finish at Welcome to Durango sign on US 160. Obviously this ride can be shortened for different groups. This is another good ride for large groups because we have a wide shoulder the entire way.
Vallecito Dam: Meet at Durango Sports Club. CR 240 to CR 501 to Vallecito Dam, 10 minute regroup at Vallecito Dam, turn around. Finish at Edgemont Highlands big pinecone. A variation for small groups would be to continue to the north end of Vallecito reservoir.
La Posta Ignacio Loop: Meet at Home Depot southwest parking lot. La Posta Rd to Hwy 550 to CR 310/318 to Ignacio. Regroups in Ignacio. Hwy 174 to Cr 234 (obey traffic light at Elmore’s Corner!) finish at ‘stop ahead’ sign on CR 234 before CR 240.
Valley & Old Shalona: Meet at Iron Horse Inn. US 550N to Trimble Lane to CR 250 to top of Old Shalona to US 550S, finish at Welcome to Durango sign on US 550. The little hill on the east end of Trimble Lane will break things up a bit before going onto CR 250. If we have smaller groups we can add CR 203 on the way back to town before finishing on US 550.
Breen Loop: Meet at Tech Center. US 160W to CO 140 to CR 141, finish at Welcome to Durango sign on US160. We will have a 5 minute regroup at the top of Hesperus climb. A variation for smaller groups is to add the Mayday extension. This ride will be especially good on Saturday morning because there is considerably less truck traffic on CO 140.
Three Springs to Edgemont Highlands (Sunday Loop variation): Meet at south side of entrance to Mercy Medical Center near East Side Cafe. US 160E to CO 172 to CR 516 (Rainbow). to CR 501 to CR 240. Finish at Edgemont Highlands big pinecone entrance.
Lemon Reservoir: Meet at Durango Sports Club. CR 240 to CR 243 to Lemon Reservoir, 10 minute regroup at end of pavement, turn around. Finish at Edgemont Highlands big pine cone.