Cycle race and foot race next two weekends in Gilpin

County Management

By Roger Baker

One of the changes to the Gilpin County zoning regulations that was approved at the last Commissioners’ meeting was to create a separate class of short-term temporary use permits that can be issued administratively, without having to come before the Commissioners.

There are a number of potential events that will qualify, and the rationale for allowing such administrative review is the (sometimes) short timeline that event organizers leave themselves.

A couple of upcoming events will test the adequacy of this process.

The second event, on Saturday, June 29, is well known to local residents, especially runners. The Rollinsville Rail Run is the successor to the very successful Joe Colton Off-Road Adventure Race, and always draws hundreds of runners to race up and back down Tolland Road west of Rollinsville.

The newly adopted permit process specifically identifies “Physical exertion events on the public right-of-way,” and this certainly qualifies. The organizers have been at this for a number of years, and have minimized impacts as best they can. But conflicts with the neighbors inevitably occur – this event pretty well clogs up Tolland Road for the local residents – and we’ll probably hear about some this year.

Those concerns and more extend to another first event this weekend, on Sunday, June 23. The Golden Gran Fondo is a bike race (but they don’t call it that) which will begin in Golden, though most of the highway miles will be in Gilpin County.

We worked with the race organizers at the start of this process, as some of the original proposals – starting 500 or so cyclists up Clear Creek Canyon, or taking off from Highway 119 over Robinson Hill Road – seemed to us to be absolutely nuts.

As things now stand, there are three different loops, the shortest one of which is entirely in Golden. But the Medio and Gran loops (90 miles) will wind in and out of Gilpin County for most of the day on the 23rd.

Since some of the riders will opt for the shortest loop, there may be “only” 300 or 400 making it up into the Gilpin County, but that’s still probably enough to cause some considerable traffic disruption.

The riders will both enter and exit the County through Golden Gate Canyon State Park, so that highway will probably have traffic both in the early morning (the riders leave Golden at 8) and through the entire afternoon – they’ll probably be pretty spread out late in the day. These aren’t professional riders!

Roads involved include Mountain Base and Gap, and Highways 119 and 72. But it’s hard to predict how many riders will be where and when. If you live anywhere north of Golden Gate Canyon (and especially in the Canyon), this might be a good weekend to head out of town.

We are proud of our County, and we want people to enjoy its spectacular scenery. But what’s a beautiful bike route to some, is the road to work or the grocery store for others. It will be interesting to see how successful the event is, and how it is received by our local residents.

And although we wish both these events blue skies and calm winds, we still need to pray for rain! Maybe just not those days.

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