Mountains to the Desert Ride Sports Great Views, Awesome Course


The Mountains to the Desert bike ride is a 70, 100, or 132 mile road ride that starts in Telluride, and travels to Gateway Canyons Resort, Colorado on September 21, 2019.

We asked organizer Lara Young of the Just for Kids Foundation a few questions about the event.

Cycling West: Tell us about the course. What are the highlights?

Mountains to the Desert: It really is the perfect race and ride. Half the riders are intense mountain athletes out to win or get their personal best time the other half are in it for the adventure and sheer beauty. The ride is so appealing because of the diversity of topography. Riders travel from the Town of Telluride in the peak of the fall colors in shimmering yellow and gold Aspens following the San Miguel and Dolores river watersheds to the iconic Red Rock Desert of Gateway. The ride is perfect for a first time Century rider or a competitive cyclist who wants to push them selves and take on the 132 mile with a grueling hill climb at the finish. The 70 mile option starting in Norwood is ideal for families or those who don’t have the interest or time to train for a 100 miles. The Highlights are Telluride and Gateway both target destinations for the beauty and history and literally there is 100 miles of the most interesting geology and history in the west the lies between the two destinations.

CW: Tell us about the Just for Kids Foundation. How does the ride help the cause?

M2D: Just For Kids serves children from birth through high school graduation throughout the San Miguel Watershed, including the towns of Telluride, Norwood, Nucla, Naturita, Paradox and all points in between.

We provide funds for scholarship programs, operating grants, program support, capital needs, start-up projects, and equipment. We particularly target projects with leadership opportunities for children and projects promoting self-sufficiency and responsibility.Please contact us if you have questions about whether your organization qualifies for grant consideration.

Some of the innovative programs we have funded include experiential learning programs, collaborative efforts between children’s organizations, character building programs, early childhood programming, programs offering job skills training and assistance and college scholarships through the Man of La Mancha scholarship program.

Each year, the Mountains to the Desert Bike Ride serves as the single fundraising event for the Just For Kids Foundation which raises over 100k. Every dollar raised through participant fundraising is matched by the Carstens Family Fund at the Denver Foundation. That money is then awarded to individuals and organizations that provide leadership opportunities for regional youth as well as organizations that promote self-sufficiency and responsibility. Over the past ten years, the Just For Kids Foundation is proud to have raised over $2 Million; all of which has been awarded to hundreds of organizations benefitting thousands of underprivileged children and to deserving seniors who are awarded college scholarships through the Man of La Mancha program.

CW: Telluride is in the high San Juan Mountains. Tell us about the geology and natural history that the ride travels through.

M2D: The ride begins in the awe inspiring San Juan Mountains riders cycle past towering 14,000-foot peaks and continue their descent parallel to the San Miguel River. A short climb at mile 28 leaves riders at the summit of Norwood Hill, overlooking miles of ranches, farmlands and the La Sal Mountains.

Riders who prefer a shorter, 70-mile ride, start in Norwood an hour later, at 8:30 AM. From Norwood, the ride continues through Naturita, Nucla and Uravan and winds further along the Unaweep-Tabeguache Scenic and Historic Byway past the Hanging Flume. Riders will pass millions of years of history, geology and ancient lands.

The route subsequently meanders along the Dolores River at the base of thousand-foot red sandstone walls into the sleepy town of Gateway, CO.

CW: What sort of support do you have for the riders? And, what about post-event festivities?

M2D: There are 5 strategically placed aid stations with food, water, and energy drinks and of course youth program volunteers cheering riders along the 101 mile route. There is also a smoothie aid station at the top of the additional hill climb at Mile 115. The ride is not to be missed because it supports all area youth programs to scholarship kids and the sheer physical beauty of the event. If that’s not enough the ride finishes with a grand feed and music. Riders are also rewarded with an opportunity to swim and spa at the finish. Gateway Canyons Resort is award winning and star rated by Travel&Leisure, Conde Naste, and Forbes.

CW: Where can people stay or camp when they come to do the event?

M2D: We have reserved 30 rooms for the event ranging in Price from 225 to 375.00. These are greatly discounted for our riders. There is also stunning, convenient, and free BLM camping along both sides of the Dolores River just several miles from the resort. If you can’t spend the night there is a 40.00 shuttle available to get you back to Norwood or Telluride.

Event Details:

September 21, 2019 — Mountains to the Desert Bike Ride|, Telluride, CO, 16th Annual Mountains to the Desert Bike Ride, From the high mountains of Telluride, cyclists descend past hillsides of quaking aspens along a route that passes through millions of years of geologic record, ultimately finding themselves at the base of striated sandstone cliffs reaching up to 1,000 feet overhead and onwards to the beautiful desert landscape of Gateway. Mileage options: 70, 100 & 130. This ride benefits the Just For Kids Foundation, Lara Young, 970-708-1105, [email protected],


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