Monday afternoon, roughly 1,700 bicyclists turned off U.S. Highway 24 down Main Street and pedaled toward the river park, where a temporary tent village had been constructed.

There, the riders would take a much-needed rest between the second and third formidable legs of the 2019 Ride the Rockies bike tour.

The cyclists were fresh from the tour’s second leg and it’s longest, with an 83.2 mile pedal from Gunnison over Monarch Pass and through the Upper Arkansas Valley.

Tuesday morning, cyclists headed north towards Independence Pass, the highest point on the circuit, headed toward Snowmass, a total ride of 73 miles.

Some riders began leaving as early as 6 a.m., with the sun still behind Midland Hill, while others ventured into town for breakfast.

Presented by the Denver Post and Flexential, RTR awarded grants to a non-profit in each of its eight host communities.

In Buena Vista, ElevateHER received a $3,000 grant.

Founded in 2017 by executive director Kristen van Norman, elevateHER seeks to foster leadership skills in girls through outdoor adventure.

The organization was also a primary beneficiary of CKS PaddleFest last month.

Riders in the tour are raising money for causes important to them as well.

The Denver Post Community Foundation’s Two Wheels for Change campaign is raising funds through the tour for the Adaptive Sports Center, Bicycle Colorado, the Davis Phinney Foundation, Wish for Wheels and World Bicycle Relief.

“We have a team of 21 cyclists riding this year, four with Parkison’s riding as well,” said Polly Dawkins, the executive director of the Davis Phinney Foundation in a news release.

“Ride The Rockies connects people to our mission which is to help people with Parkinson’s live well today.”

Buena Vista was previously a host city on the ride in 2011, 2008, 2003, 2000 and 1987.

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