Castle Country Century Ride stock photo by ETV 10 News photographer Jeff Barrett
Through the combined efforts of Mark Jespersen and Ed Malmgren, a new organization deemed Castle Country Cycling is making strides to bring more biking events to Carbon and Emery counties as well as give back the community and promote tourism.
Nearly five years ago, the idea to bring the Castle Country Century ride to the local area was made a reality by Jespersen, Malmgren and Carbon County Recreation. The century ride is a ride for road bikes that consists of 100 miles. A route was drawn out that was challenging and scenic, traveling through Carbon and Emery counties. For the past handful of years, Carbon Recreation was the main entity spearheading the event with support from Jespersen and Bicyclewerks.
During the second or third year of the event, Jespersen stated that a group of them traveled to the Tour of Utah, which is one of the largest cycling events in the United States. The goal was to expand and go to all parts of the state and an attempt to bring the tour to the area was made. However, for a number of reasons, the attempt was unsuccessful but will be approached again.
However, the attempt and a combined desire from other entities in the area pushed Castle Country Cycling to develop, promote and host more cycling events. The organization will bring in partners such as Carbon Recreation. Along with the century ride, Jespersen teamed up with Kate Kilpatrick-Miller, co-director of the Helper Arts, Music and Film Festival, to create the Dirty Arts Gravel Fondo, which will once again take place on Aug. 18. This grave ride accompanies another upcoming gravel ride titled the Dirty Devil Graven GranFondo slated for July 28.
The GranFondo will be a 206-mile loop that has nearly 18,000 feet of elevation change. It is very taxing and challenging and this year will be the first year that it takes place. The ride will travel from Millsite Reservoir through the Swell and into Helper. From Helper, participants will ride to Skyline Drive to Ferron Canyon and back to Millsite. The ride will be a combination of pavement and gravel as well as maintained and unmaintained road.
Through registration and swag items that accompany each of these events, Castle Country Cycling will give back to the community by choosing an organization or cause for each ride that will receive a donation from the money raised. The organization plans to support veterans, cancer research and more. Castle Country Cycling has two main goals in the company: to take over and promote cycling as well as promote tourism and giving back.
“Plus, we just like to ride bikes,” Jespersen said.
For more information on the cycling events or to register, call Jespersen at (435) 637-2453.