Wednesday, May 11, 2011
CycleFest Ride: Biking and Bacaro Eats
Last year, in the first year of the Colorado High School Cycling League, 150 riders competed in the series finals in Elbert, Colo., and Boulder High's 28 racers brought the team its first overall state title in mountain biking.
But this weekend, rather than race time, it's fundraising time for the nascent league.
The Colorado CycleFest brings two events -- both with mountain biking icon, Gary Fisher -- to the Front Range on behalf of the league this weekend: a gala dinner and auction Saturday night in Denver, and a Sunday ride from Boulder's Bacaro, followed by lunch catered by Bacaro's executive chef (and cycling enthusiast) Fabio Flagiello.
Flagiello said he wants to support the league because this is how kids are getting into cycling here, he said.
"In Europe, we have clubs," said Flagiello, a native of Italy. "It's part of our culture, it's everywhere.
"Here, it's not. It's through the schools and the league that kids are getting into cycling."
This Sunday's cappuccino, then ride, then lunch is the May iteration of the monthly rides that Bacaro hosts for various cycling-related nonprofit organizations.
In fact, the first Bacaro ride, in October 2009, was also a benefit for the league, said league executive director Kate Rau.
"This is the third ride he's done for us," Rau said.
"And the food is really good," she added. "And it just keeps coming when you're there, you're like, 'oh my God, another dish.'"
The chef's menu for this Sunday's post-ride lunch includes braised beef meatballs, ratatouille, steak and pastas.
"After a ride, people aren't into complicated food," Flagiello said. "They want a lot, and now."
Gary Fisher, who is known for being an ongoing innovator in mountain biking, will be at both events this weekend.
Rau said that for her, it's a big deal that Fisher is part of their fundraising efforts this weekend.
"In 2008, when I met Gary at the Trek Store grand re-opening, I knew that he was involved in the Nor Cal league," she said, referring to the nation's first high school mountain biking league in northern California. Rau was interested in starting a leauge here in Colorado.
"So I asked him about it, and he said, 'you have to start it.' And he sent me the movie 'Children of the Dirt,' and I watched it, and the rest is history."
Rau said this weekend's events are the biggest fundraiser of the year for the league, which is funded by grants, sponsorship and individual donations. She said donations are especially helpful for offering more need-based scholarships to students -- the cost for registration and signing up for the league's entire four-race series in the fall is $210 per student.
For this Sunday's ride and lunch, $75, there are two route options for participants: one is 30-plus miles, the other is 50-plus. Both routes head up Lefthand Canyon.
This ride, like all Bacaro rides, will be a no-drop ride, Flagiello said. He stops and waits for everyone.
"I want everyone to have a good time," he said.