The History of CSCC - The Middle Years

Bob Smith

During the early years the club was homeless of sorts and changed meeting locations several times. Our first meetings were at Bob Coleman’s Office on Union near Academy, followed by the Smith home on Wilson Road, School District 11 Administration Building on El Paso, the Club Car at Giuseppe’s Depot Restaurant combined with Monday Dinner Rides and finally the Broadmoorings Condominium Clubhouse. Club meetings and Holiday Parties remained at the Broadmoorings for several years until host Norm Howard moved to Perry Park. We moved our club meetings to the Olympic Training Center and the Holiday Party to the Air Force Academy Alumni Association Doolittle Hall. Over the years the club would continue to migrate,  
seeking out free or very low cost accommodations including the CSPD Operations Center on South Nevada, Olive Branch Restaurant, CSFD Station 18, Thunder Ridge Brewing Company, Old City Hall and our present location at the Clarion Hotel.

Bent Fork Chronicles was selected as the name for our newsletter at a Monday Dinner Ride and club meeting at Giuseppe’s Depot Restaurant. There is a story behind the name. I often commuted to work between Mountain Shadows and Rockrimmon through Pinon Valley and Ute Valley Park on a mountain bike. One evening (near dusk) riding home work through an undeveloped part of Pinon Valley I stuck the front wheel in a ditch, endo-ing and bent the fork on my new Schwinn mountain bike. That same year my son while training for cyclocross bent his fork on a landing while catching air. The Schwinn fork became the center piece of the Bent Fork Award Plaque that Dave VanDerWege retired at the Holiday Party in 2008.

As with many clubs new members get drawn into leadership roles. In 1989 Doyle Dikes took over as Editor, Neil Kovac became Ride Captain and Bob Hyde become ATB Ride Captain. Doyle raised the level of the newsletter and automated it by accepting email and modem submissions. He took us into the electronic era with the crude tools of the time. He expanded the scope and size of the newsletter and raised the bar for future newsletter editors. The newsletters, club meetings and rides were the only means of reaching our members.

New member Bob Benjamin and participant of the First Annual Tour of the Arkansas River Valley (TOARV) and artist submitted a logo design for the 1989 ride. We used his design or a variation of it until the ride was replaced by the Buena Vista Bike Fest in 1999.

In 1989 the TOARV start/finish was changed to Canon City to improve overnight accommodations and weekend parking. This changed shortened the ride by 10 miles. We also changed the route to a loop through Salida to Buena Vista and returning on US 24 via Hartsel and south on CO 9 to US 50 back to Canon City. That year the ride nearly doubled in size and eventually grew to about 350 riders. Initially, there were no permanent rest stops along the route. We basically had a single moving rest stop that would leap frog riders along the route. SAG operated in a similar manner and provided communications. Members baked cookies for rest stops in addition to normal rest stop fair of water, bananas, oranges, water, M&Ms, pretzels, etc. The home baked cookies were a real favorite. A sweep SAG would tag along with slower riders so the rest stop could move to front of the ride. Anne and I awakened early in the mornings to brew coffee in our hotel room for the first stop. As the ride grew we could no longer brew enough coffee ourselves and had to order it in advance.

The first few years we camped at the Crazy Horse Camp Ground 5 miles north of Buena Vista. Once the ride grew we made arrangements with the Buena Vista High School for overnight camping and access to the school’s cafeteria, locker rooms, indoor camping in the gym and outdoor on the practice field. The BV High School Booster Club prepared and served a pasta dinner and the BV Optimists served a pancake and sausage breakfast. The move to BVHS shortened the route by another 10 miles.

To encourage more TOARV ridership, we started a Saturday TOARV training ride series in April. The rides would get progressively longer and more difficult and typically ending with a century loop the week before the ride. As TOARV grew so did the club membership. However, with preset rest stops we needed more volunteers. To encourage more member volunteers, we started what we called VRAOT. It was an all volunteer ride the weekend before, where we rode the route in reverse hence the name VRAOT. As traffic increased on US50 we reversed the TOARV route as well. We were concerned about rider safety and reducing fees for Colorado State Patrol coverage of the ride. In addition to reversing the route the ride start/finish was moved to the Royal Gorge. This again shortened the route, provided more overnight parking and provided a spectacular finish by riding over the Royal Gorge Bridge.

During the early years we tried to maintain a relationship with the Strada Bicycling Club. While Paul Bower was president of Strada we shared our ride schedule. Several of our members including Anne and I maintained dual memberships. There were even thoughts that clubs might merge. Strada disbanded ended the September Hardscrabble Century.

Our summer ride calendar expanded to a ride nearly everyday of the week and in 1999 we actually had several months of 7 daily rides per week. We often had out of town, overnight and specialty day rides. Club members who participated in these rides often wrote newsletter articles about them. We also had regular mountain bike rides.

Years 1988 through 1992 were good growth years for the club. We had a large influx of military members who took very active roles in the club as officers, ride leaders, newsletter authors and organizers. John Leofsky took over vice president from Efrain Cruz. John went on create a new ride called RAPP (Ride Around Pikes Peak). He wrote regular columns in the newsletter called Doctor Naun Science and Bicycling Book Reviews. Tech Sergeant John Ellis joined us after being stationed at Cheyenne Mountain. John led rides and penned articles for the newsletter. After a deployment to Desert Storm, John became VP and helped resurrect Hardscrabble. Major Michael Heymann, also deployed to Desert Storm, returned to become VP, lead rides and multi-day weekend tours including a 3-day loop out of Estes Park and co-chaired Hardscrabble.

Tracey Nyboer and Cathy Pillis joined the club in 1990 and took the pen names of Henrietta and Mavis. They teamed up to form a sub-group within the club call WOWAKAS (Women’s Wednesday Affiliated Killian’s Afterwards Society). They led Wednesday evening women’s rides and met for Killian’s at Old Chicago afterwards. Tracey aka Henrietta relieved Doyle as newsletter editor in 1991. In 1992 John Ellis and Tracey led the effort to resurrect the Hardscrabble Century and chaired the event until John shipped out for a tour in Germany. Michael Heymann and Cathy Pillis married and he retired from the Air Force. A few years later they moved to Portland, OR. With Michael’s departure Barry Wick become VP from 1995 through 1997, penned the Heart Beat Column and created the Colorado Triple Crown of Cycling Series.

When John departed for a tour in Germany Michael Heymann and Cathy Pillis took on Hardscrabble followed by Ray and Diane Edmonds and Rob Miskowitch and Mike and Fawn Remington. Hardscrabble was retired again in 1999 when the club decided to concentrate on a single new event the Buena Vista Bike Fest.

In 1991 MCI purchased the then vacant IBM Rohm Buildings at the corner of 30th and Flying W Ranch Road. MCI relocated their systems and network engineering organization from eastern Virginia and the DC area. This led to another influx of cyclists and brought us more members some of which are still members today such as, Sharon Boyd, Dale Campbell and Alan Severn. Our membership soon grew to approximately 300. Sharon has served the club twice as secretary and often substitutes as ride leader for the Monday Dinner Ride.

Trexlertown, Pa had committed to hosting the Junior World Cycling Championships but backed out early in 1991. Colorado Springs, having hosted the Senior Championships in 1986, stepped in to save the US cycling image. The club became the host of the Swiss Junior Team and arranged several social events for the team. One was held at the Broadmoorings and the other at the Smith home. Club members also volunteered as course marshals and at many of the road and track events.

Club member Neil Kovac convinced Anne and I to join the efforts of Vern Pitcher and Tony Hoewitch of Ted’s Bicycles to start the Starlight Spectacular to support the Trails Coalition. Neil wanted the Springs to have a ride similar to the Moonlight Ride in Denver.

The late eighties and early nineties were a boom to cycling especially in Colorado. The boom was fueled by 3 Tour de France wins by Greg Lemond. A lot of new events popped up such as TOARV, Triple Bypass, Bicycle Tour of Colorado and others. The Colorado State Patrol began to intervene and wanted events to pay for patrol coverage of their events. This coverage was overtime for the patrol and was expensive. This significantly drove up event costs. The cycling community pushed back and CDOT started holding meetings in Denver on the matter. John McLain, Mike Heymann, Barry Wick, Anne and I attended many of the early meetings. CSCC and other event organizers participated resulting in the first Colorado Bicycling Guide. Governor Roy Romer created a Bicycle Advisory Board. CSCC received a seat on this Board. New state policies were implemented including a Colorado State Patrol event approval process. This new process led to changes such reversing the TOARV route and eventually the creation of the Buena Vista Bike Fest.

The back issues of the newsletter hold the real history of the club. Preparing to write this series I scanned all available past issues of the Bent Fork Chronicles to PDF format. While scanning I read many issues cover to cover. There were some very creative people writing for the newsletter such as Doyle Dikes, John Leofsky, Henrietta, Ray Edmonds (Wally), JP Neuteboom and many many others. The newsletter library is now available at http://www.bikesprings.org/newsletter.php.

I’d like to thank Anne Smith for saving the newsletters and Chris Davenport who chaired the historical committee for most of the 90s and early zeros. Chris, Gary Papazian and Angie Adams created a scrapbook and two binders of past newsletters. Without their work, this series of articles would have been more fiction than fact.

The club is really the sum of its active members. Officers can hold meetings and set agendas but without creative and energetic members it is difficult to accomplish much.

Click on a few of the past issues from the early years 1987 through the 90s and you will read about ideas put into action. This was a period when the club grew from a dozen founders to nearly 300. It was a period when TOARV was founded and rides such as the Fall Lead Triangle Weekend, Train and Bike, Memorial Weekend Northern New Mexico Loop, RAPP, Great Pueblo Ride, Thanksgiving in Moab, Steam Boat Soak, Echo Lake Ride, Kebler Pass Ride and numerous other overnight and out of town rides happened through out the summer months.

In my next article the club enters the internet era, closes out my 10 year reign as president and enters the 21st century.

 

The Bent Fork Chronicles - Vol 3 Issue 2 April 2010

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