The inaugural Deer Creek Challenge calls itself the toughest one-day century ride in the United States of America. The 100-mile ride climbs 12,741 feet over its course.
The event, which refrains from the use of the term 'gran fondo' is set to take place on Sunday, August 29 outside Denver, Colorado. The ride offers a test to the toughest cyclist, like a gran fondo, but isn't timed. Instead, the promoter positions it as a chance to ride a thoroughly challenging route with mechanical and aid station support.
The tour starts with the climb up Jefferson County’s Deer Creek Canyon, a popular cycling destination during the summer months. Organizers of the event tied together portions of the area’s well-known training rides to form three challenging events.
The 100-mile Century Ride boasts the largest elevation gain, while the 64-mile Metric Century offers 7,053 feet and the smaller 33-mile route offers 4,200 feet. All three routes begin with a 16-mile ascent with 4,200 feet of elevation gain. The event is capped at 3,000 participants.
“We designed several different challenging courses and added the elements of safety and support,” said Kim DeLashmit from the Deer Creek Challenge. “If you are going to take something that steep and long on in a single day, it’s nice to know that you’ve got the technical support combined with refreshments and aid stops along the way. Even the short loop is no walk in the park. It is something that can be an attainable goal for people who are not at the same fitness level as the riders doing to 100 mile route.”
The Deer Creek Challenge was scheduled to run last year but the organization did not receive approval from Jefferson County based on its traffic management plan. This year, organizers received approved following a hearing held on March 16 that included discussions on how to better manage event-day traffic from the residence and cyclists of Jefferson County.
“We spent the year working with the police, fire departments and various entities with in Jefferson County to find solutions that everyone agreed would be safe and still allow for convenience for the few residents that live along the road,” DeLashmit said. “We had a hearing and we were approved.”
Event registration opened on March 17, 2010. A $10 early registration discount will be given to the first 1,500 cyclists to register before May 1, 2010. Prices are $95 Century, $85 Metric Century, and $70 33-mile Option. Register at www.deercreekchallenge.com.
Event proceeds will benefit select nonprofits in the Deer Creek Canyon community as well as statewide.