March 12, 2010

100-mile Bike Race Eyed for Start in Bailey Area

Bailey start could look like this With a determined look, Lance Armstrong leads the pack of racers at the start of the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race in August 2009, which Armstrong won. Two behind him is defending champ Dave Wiens. The 100-mile mountain bike race that is being proposed for a start in the Bailey area would be a warm-up race for the Leadville Trail 100, according to Colorado State Senator Chris Romer, D-Denver. Romer’s family owns a ranch in the Bailey area, and he said he is willing to put $2,000 of his own money into the race. (Photo by Sandra Halverstadt, courtesy of the Leadville Herald Democrat)

By Tom Locke, Editor

A 100-mile mountain bike race starting in the Bailey area is being explored by three Colorado state senators and, if it reaches fruition, could eventually bring thousands of visitors into the area each summer.

Park County Commissioner Dick Hodges announced the possibility of the mountain bike race in a short talk at the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce meeting on March 9.

He said it was being considered as a warm-up race for the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, which has gained considerable publicity because of the participation of world-famous bicyclist Lance Armstrong.
Hodges spoke at the chamber on behalf of Park County Commissioner Mark Dowaliby, who was home sick.

In a follow-up interview, Dowaliby told The Flume that he had received a cell phone call from Colorado State Senator Chris Romer (D-Denver) inquiring whether Dowaliby could approach the business people of Bailey and see whether they would support a 100-mile race that would start in the Bailey area.

The tentative date for such a race would be June 19, said Dowaliby, who is an avid bicyclist himself. The race would be mostly off-road, and Dowaliby wasn't sure what the route would be.

"I got really excited when he called me," he said.

He thinks that the race would not only attract people to the Bailey area, bringing in customers for businesses for that day, but also would acquaint people with the mountain biking opportunities in the area so that they might come back all summer long.
Romer, who is the son of former Colorado Governor Roy Romer, told The Flume that the most likely route of the race would be from Bailey to Pine Valley, to Wellington Lake, to Deckers, to the Colorado Trail, to near Wellington Lake and then back to Bailey.
"A bunch of us are going to ride it June 19," he said.

The nature of the race itself will depend on the amount of support garnered between now and then. It could be a low-key "beta ride" of about 20 to 50 mountain bike riders in an unofficial "underground race," Romer said.
Or, if the necessary money is raised, it could be an official race with several hundred racers. To ramp up to an official race would cost about $10,000, including the cost of hiring a race manager, said Romer. "I've got about $3,000 committed. I need another $7,000."

"I'm willing to put $2,000 behind it," he said.

Colorado State Senator Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, and State Senator Mark Scheffel, R-Parker, are also working to try to create the 100-mile race starting in Bailey, said Romer.

The main thing Romer is looking for from the Bailey community is support for the idea. The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race, to be held this year on Aug. 14, attracts 1,600 racers and 5,000 people into Leadville, according to Romer.

In very short order the event in Bailey could be attracting 3,000 to 5,000 people, he said.

"There's a heck of an opportunity," said Romer.

Romer is familiar with the area because his family has a ranch in the Deer Creek area. The mountain bike trail between the Buffalo Creek Campground and Wellington Lake is "ranked the number-three trail in the country," he said.
The race is in a very preliminary stage. Dowaliby said that business people who want to contact him about whether they would support such a race could e-mail him at mdowaliby@parkco.us.

Those wanting to contact Romer to provide input can e-mail him at sen.romer@gmail.com.
Id-Ra-Ha-Je's Obrecht taking new role
27-year director id Ud-Ra-Ha-Je to focus on scolarships.

After 37 years with Bailey-based Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je, the last 27 of which have been as executive director, John Obrecht will give up his duties as executive director and focus full-time on his position as chief executive officer of the Id-Ra-Ha-Je Scholarship Foundation. It raises, manages, and invests money for the benefit of those who are on summer staff at Camp Id-Ra-Ha-Je and attending higher educational institutions.

"I just want to slow down a bit," said Obrecht, in an interview after the announcement at the chamber meeting March 9.

The new executive director, starting April 5, will be Mike DeBoer, who has been on the Id-Ra-Ha-Je staff for 14 years.

Id-Ra-Ha-Je, which stands for "I'd rather have Jesus," is a non-denominational Christian camp that serves about 10,000 people a year through three main programs. It has a full-time staff of 18 people and 120 summer staff members who come from all over the country and even the world, including countries such as Thailand.

"My goal is to really bring more kids to camp and to help it grow and to bring some fresh ideas," DeBoer said.

The summer camp has about 2,400 kids from first grade through 12th grade each summer, but has a capacity for 4,000 or 5,000, said DeBoer.

In addition, Id-Ra-Ha-Je has an Outdoor Education program that serves about 2,700 participants a year in the spring (March, April and May) and the fall (late August, September, October and November). The program offers more than 30 classes, such as rock climbing or rappelling. Students from various schools, typically from the Front Range, come for three-day programs on weekdays.

The third program is the weekend retreats, which serve about 5,000 people a year, mainly youth groups but also adult groups.
Kiwanis Club in Bailey

Jerry Humphrey, a board member of the chamber, said that he was making efforts to start a Kiwanis Club in Bailey. In a follow-up interview, he told The Flume that the Kiwanis Club in Conifer "has been bugging me for some time" to start a Kiwanis Club in Bailey, and he recently receive a heavy box from the national Kiwanis Club full of start-up materials.

Humphrey said he has been a member of Kiwanis since 1990, and the club is geared to supporting youth and youth programs. He figures he needs about 10 people to start a Bailey branch, which would be a satellite of the Kiwanis Club in Conifer. If the Bailey branch got big enough, it could go on its own, he said. Those who are interested in Kiwanis can reach Humphrey at 303-816-0760.

New chamber directors

The chamber has two new directors: Barbara Kae Webster, who owns Photography by Kae, and JoAnn Showalter, who owns Ruby's Resale, on County Road 43A in the Bailey area.
Featured businesses

Ruby's Resale was one of two businesses featured at the chamber meeting. Showalter had worked for two communications companies, Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya and Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent Technologies, and was laid off when her group's work was outsourced to China. At 60 years old, she saw the lay-off as an opportunity to start her own resale business, and on June 6 she started Ruby's Resale. She caries new, used and never-been-used clothing, jewelry, ceramics, bird feeders, wind chimes, and more.

"I hand-pick everything in that store," she said.

The other featured business was The Shawnee Tea Room, which was bought and reopened on Feb. 3 by Deer Creek Realty owner Barbara Jerome Behl.

Behl said the Frazier family had to leave, so she bought it from them. She noted that The Shawnee Tea Room, which is next to the Shawnee post office at 56048 U.S. 285, is open for meetings, private tea parties and for a relaxing cup of tea. It serves tea, coffee, snacks, and has wireless Internet access but no commercial kitchen. It can hold 35-40 people inside.

Bailey Day

The next Bailey Day meeting will be April 1 and there's a need for a traffic coordinator and volunteers for the clean-up crew, said Lynn Griffin, special events chairman for the chamber.

Volunteers are also needed for the next chamber mixer, scheduled fro April 25, she said.

Advertising presentations

The chamber meeting also featured advertising presentations by Lyndsay Gunter, salesperson for The Flume; Kiersten Cale-DePaola, ad manager for Evergreen Newspapers, which includes the High Timber Times, the 285 Hustler, and other publications; Russel and Lisa Puls, who publish Quality Connections and score foothills; and Jacque Scott, publisher of Mountain Connection and also the Platte Canyon Area Chamber of Commerce Directory & Community Magazine. The chamber directory has a deadline of March 24 for advertising and for paying dues to be mentioned in the directory.

Taste of Italy

The Taste of Italy, which is a fundraising dinner and silent auction for the Mountain Peace Shelter, has been scheduled for May 13 at Platte Canyon High School, said Webster, the new board member.