(CUTINE FOR PHOTO: Gilpin County Commissioner Connie McLain, right, questions organizers of the proposed Golden Gran Fondo bicycle ride, Reuben Kline, center, and Marty Quinn on Tuesday, Feb. 26.)
By Linda Detroy
Even though they have no action to vote on, Gilpin County commissioners were asked to weigh in on a proposal that would bring about 500 cyclists to county roads for a race in June.
The commissioners’ concerns were many, chief among them the safety of riders and the small benefits the county would realize.
The race, the Golden Gran Fondo, is being proposed for June 23, and would include three routes, all starting and ending in Golden: a 20-mile route that would not enter Gilpin County at all, and a 63-mile and 91-mile route that would use Golden Gate Canyon Road, Mountain Base Road in Golden Gate Canyon State Park, Gap Road, Highway 119, Coal Creek Canyon Road, Twin Spruce Road and Crawford Gulch/Drew Hill Raod.
This would be the first year for the event, but race organizers Reuben Kline and Marty Quinn told the commissioners they hope to make it an annual event.
Grand Fondos fall somewhere between a race and a challenging recreational ride. The term is Italian, meaning “long distance” or “great endurance.” Some riders want to challenge only themselves on a difficult course, others want to finish with the best time. This race, Kline said, would involve timed events only on the longest course, with four timed stretches. The four times for each rider would be combined to determine winners in categories for age and gender.
Kline said the inaugural Golden Gran Fondo is expected to draw 500 to 600 cyclists, but that they may cap the number at 500 to monitor how things go in the first year. He said between 350 and 400 riders would be expected to do the 91-mile route, with all riders starting at 8 a.m. and the last riders finishing by 4:30 p.m.
Kline said he has already received support from the race from Jefferson and Boulder counties, Golden Gate Canyon State Park and the Colorado State Patrol. He said he had spoken with Gilpin County Sheriff Bruce Hartman, who told him that he did not see major issues but would have to look how much overtime would be required. Kline said the race would expect to pay for any overtime.
In response to a question from Commissioner Gail Watson, Quinn and Kline said the route would have aid stations at Kreilly Pond and Wondervu Café, as well as portable toilets at those locations and possible others. Support vehicles would include at least two roving vehicles and one following the last rider.
He said intersections along the route would be marked by printed signs and that organizers would request that a police cruiser be placed at the intersection of Gap Road and Mountain Base Road, which is likely to be the busiest intersection in the ride because riders on both the 91-mile and 63-mile routes would be using it.
All the commissioners expressed concerns about the safety of the roads that would be used, particularly the unpaved roads and those with no shoulders. Hartman said he is most concerned about Coal Creek Canyon.
“It seems odd to choose such bad roads,” he said. “I don’t think we can get away without having deputies work overtime, and we may want to have a dispatcher working overtime.”
Commissioner Connie McLain said she also is concerned about the added traffic that will be using Golden Gate Canyon Road because of the Twin Tunnels project and that most of the longest route is in Gilpin County. She urged the organizers to consider starting and ending the race in Gilipin County to increase the benefit to the county.
Kline said discussions with Golden, which would be the host city, are far along, but that organizers would be open to discussing that option for the future. He also said race organizers would be happy to provide promotional efforts to highlight Gilpin County’s role in the race and attractions in Gilpin County for race participants and spectators.
Watson said she also is concerned that much of the route is in areas that will not have coverage. Kline said race workers and volunteers will use two-way radios for communication in addition to cell phones, and that all intersections would be staffed by volunteers.
Gilpin County Public Works Director Curt Logsdon said he wanted electronic signs posted for each direction of traffic at Gap Road, noting that it has no lane delineation, and many side roads feed into it and serves 750 vehicles a day.
Paul Ondr, a director for the Timberline Fire Protection District, asked about what need there would be for support form fire districts and noted that the county has only three ambulances.
Quint said the organizers have determined the fire stations along the route and will reach out to them, and offer a donation in order to ensure that the stations are staffed on the day of the race. He said they would work with the stations to make sure ambulances are available and, if the number is not sufficient, that the organization would contract ambulance services for the event.
The organizers also said they wanted to partner with a Gilpin County nonprofit, which would receive a contribution, and they particularly like to work with organizations that serve young people. Watson suggested they work with the school district or the local 4-H.
County Manager Roger Baker said the commissioners did not need to vote on anything concerning the race.
“As far as we can tell, as the race is structured, it doesn’t even fall under our special use ordinance. There’s not much for you guys to rule on.”
But race organizers stressed that they wanted the county’s support and wanted ideas and suggestions.
“I view this as being a trial thing,” Commissioner Buddy Schmalz said. “We’ll see how it works. We can cautiously give you our support.”
Flood protection ordinance to be updated
The commissioners briefly discussed updating the county’s floodplain damage prevention ordinance, which were established in 1986. County Planner Ray Rears presented the amendments and said the federal government is requiring states, and therefore local jurisdictions, to updated regulations by January 2014. The update will impact new construction, and is necessary for local property owners to be able to get flood insurance.
Rears said the only substantial change proposed is the addition of a noncompliance-enalty section to the ordinance and asked if that was something the commissioners wanted. He said it would be largely redundant because penalties are included in other ordinances, but that if someone were not following the rules, it might be useful to have.
“That’s generally why we pass ordinances,” Baker said, “but in this case, the ordinance is so closely tied to the building and zoning code that it is kind of like double suspenders.”
McLain said she was not in favor of adding the penalty section, and Schmalz said he would prefer that it not be included. Watson indicated she was comfortable with the ordinance without the section but said it seemed like a rational inclusion.
Rears said the ordinance, without the penalty section, would be presented for a first reading at the commissioner’s next meeting.
The Gilpin County Board of County Commissioners will meet next at 9 a.m. Tuesday, March 12, on the second floor of the Gilpin County Courthouse, 203 Eureka St. in Central City.