Colorado's Elephant Rock Century is a ride you'll never forget

Fourteen years ago, Scot Harris and a group of cycling buddies were lamenting the fact that there werent enough fun, non-competitive events for cyclists. So they decided to create their own event and dubbed it Elephant Rock.

Named after a rock formation just outside of Palmer Lake, Colorado, "Erock" has long been regarded as the unofficial kickoff to the cycling season and is set for Sunday, June 3, in downtown Castle Rock.

Its a great event because it inspires people to get out and ride, says event director, Harris. Thats why we started it.

Harris notes that because the event is a season kickoff of sorts, a lot of riders use it as their first training benchmark as well as a way to begin training towards multi-day rides like Ride the Rockies, Bicycle Tour of Colorado and the MS150. I think ERock gives everyone an excuse to get out riding and preparing for the rest of the season.

And the event offers something for both roadies and dirt riders. There are four road rides ranging from 25, 35 and 60 miles on up to a century, plus three off-road rides 12, 26 and 40 miles.

With the popularity of mountain biking, we decided to add a more extreme ride (40 miles), says Harris, adding that last years longest off-road ride was 26 miles. For the younger set (ages 5-12), theres the Village Inn Kids Race in the afternoon.

So whats it actually like to participate in an event with 6,000 other riders?

Scott Toppin and his wife, Steffany, did the event for the first time last year and rode the century.

It was a great day. We were celebrating our 6th anniversary and really enjoyed the event, says Scott. The food was great, the route was really well-marked and the ride was challenging. Scott notes that by mile 95, he and Steffany were pretty wiped but that they made it to the end.

The hardest part of the ride was at the bottom of the last climb and my wife dropped me, notes Scott. But she let me catch up at the top so that we could ride into Castle Rock together.

Unfortunately the Toppins wont make it to this years event as theyve got a little one on the way, but Scott says he hopes to be out next year pulling a burley with the little munchkin in it.

And the event is not only about riding, its about hanging out with other like-minded folks at the Party at the Rock Picnic and the Cycling Expo at the start/finish area.

The Party at the Rock places more cyclists in one place at the same time than any other cycling happening in the Rocky Mountain region, says Harris. It really is a celebration of the sport and of the accomplishments of the Elephant Rock participants, particularly those who have completed their first century.

This years expo will be host to the Kids Race, a Schwinn trails demonstration, and prize drawings for such goodies as Schwinn bikes, Rudy Project sunglasses, Pearl Izumi cycling apparal and Thule racks. Close to 50 exhibitors are expected and will be offering plenty of cycling-related products and services.

Many of the suppliers bring close-out merchandise to sell and there will be lots of great deals. So mark June 3 on your calendar, dust of those wheels if you already havent and start preparing for ERock. And let the cycling season begin.

Register for the Elephant Rock Century online

Discuss This Article