About the Ride

As you may know, Colorado is one of the most beautiful states in the US and south western Colorado is spectacular when it comes to a place to cycle. One day at my local bike shop – Campus Cycles in Denver, I picked up a book called "Road Biking Colorado The Statewide Guide" by Michael Seeberg. This is a great book and for anyone wanting the perfect guide for cycling in Colorado, I highly recommend it. In the book the rides are listed by level of difficulty – Easy –Moderate –Difficult – Very Difficult. Personally wanting to conquer the most difficult ride in Colorado, I found what is called the DEATH RIDE LOOP – page 232-233 – listed Very Difficult. This is a spectacular loop made up of several highways in southwestern Colorado called the San Juan Skyway including US Highway 550 known as the Million Dollar Highway which you will experience right away on Day One from Silverton to Ouray over Red Mountain Pass.

Campus Cycles LogoThe book calls the DEATH RIDE LOOP one of the INSANE - one day rides and is listed as one of the finest in the country. Well I would agree, however, I am not insane so my idea was to make this a pleasurable tour – not an insane one day ride. Remember we are calling a three day tour, 235 mile ride over 5 mountain passes with 16,500 plus feet of climbing – a pleasurable tour. Anyone who has done this loop before knows just how pleasurable it was. Maybe rewarding – I just wouldn’t call it really pleasurable.

As said by Bicycle Bob Gregorio “The Death Ride is more than a cycling challenge; it is a test of will. A conversation with one’s own faith of spirit to endure. The confidence gained by persevering in the face of hardship and exhaustion serves one in all facets of life”.

DEATH RIDE Tour …Cycle To Conquer ALS …For Those Who Care

 

So now this annual event is known as The DEATH RIDE Tour …Cycle To Conquer ALS …For Those Who Care.

To make this tour even more worthwhile, I decided to make it a fund raiser in memory of my Mom, Rhoda Sopinsky who passed away suddenly at the age of 80 on November 16, 2008 and in memory of my Father, Irvin Sopinsky who died of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) at the age of 44 when I was 13.

In 2009 to honor my parents, we planted flags in each city’s cemetery – Silverton, Telluride and Durango to honor their memory.

Flag in Cemetery

Hillside Cemetery Silverton

Cemetery Flag and Tree

Lone Tree Cemetery Telluride

Cemetery in Durango

Greenmount Cemetery Durango

Group Photo

The first group of DEATH RIDERS in 2009 at the Hillside Cemetery in Silverton.

Standing with Gravestone

Actual tombstones of my parents in Buffalo, NY

Buffalo, NY Tombstones

Actual tombstones of my parents in Buffalo, NY with Deb, Brandon & Rachel

That year and ever year since then I carry one of those flags to the top of each pass to celebrate the achievement and again remember why I am here doing this event.

Bikers with Flag

Flag Design

Lizard Pass Sign

Red Mountain Pass Sign

Man Signing the Flag  Flag Being Signed

At the end of the 2011 event on Monday heading back from Silverton to Denver I received a phone call. My man said his name was Paul Beaber and he worked at the Hillside Cemetery. He had gotten my phone number from one of the riders he meet in town. Paul said that late in 2009 the flag at Hillside had fallen down and he raised it again. Then he said it happened again in 2010 – again Paul raised the flag. In 2011 he raised it again and secured it with rebar and rocks. He told me that day that the flag was in good shape and should be good for many more years to come. Well what a way to end a great event. Truly a story of Tzedakah – Giving Back. Thank-You Paul…Thank –You very much.

Standing with the Flag  Setting Up Flag

Well a couple of weeks before the 2012 event, the winds in Silverton got up over 70 miles an hour. Paul called me and informed me that our flag planted in Hilltop Cemetery had blown down and gotten ripped. I told Paul – no problem – I’ll print another and he said “you get it to me, and I’ll replant it. This time instead of using a mop handle as our flag pole, Paul said he had a sturdy piece of iron that he would use to make it even more secure. Again, Paul’s act of Tzedakah – giving back without wanting anything for himself continues to fuel my inspiration for this event. Thank you Paul; you are an Angel of Life.

Adding Flag to Post  Proudly Displaying Flag

Group Photo

In years past we have started the Tour at the Hillside Cemetery in Silverton to pay our respects for those we have lost in our lives. Since 2011 our group has gotten too big to do this at the cemetery so the Day One opening ceremony will take place on Greene Street with the presentations of the Angel of Life Awards.

ANGEL OF LIFE AWARD

The Ange of Life Award is presented to participants of the event who show or provide an unselfish commitment to the mission and values the DEATH RIDE Tour - Ride Strong...Live Strong...and Give Back (Tzedakah) More Than You Get.

Victor Frandsen

2011 Angel of Life Award Recipient Victor Frandsen

Paul Hields

2011 Angel of Life Award Recipient Paul Hields.

Barry and John

Barry Sopinsky & 2013 Angel of Life John Rehl

Barry and Terry

Barry Sopinsky & 2013 #1 Finisher & Angel of Life Terry Gorsuch

2013 Angel of Life – Barbara Hurd

2013 Angel of Life – Gary Horton

Kris Mann & Matt Dunn – Angel of Life and 2 of the Original Heavenly Eleven. Kris & Matt were there in 2009 for the first DEATH RIDE Tour.

Trophy Photo

2015 Angel of Life Recipients Noni & Andy Bacon

Robert Heyl

2015 Angel of Life - Robert Heyl

Deborah Sopinsky

2015 Angel of Life – Deborah Sopinsky

In addition, the following received Angel of Life status for the 2015 event. Brian & Teri Tapella, Mike Besser, David Janssen, Ron Cardwell, Jameson Ludiam, Terry Gorsuch and Ed Hoffman.

2016 Angel of Life – Rob Busch

2016 Angel of Life – Ron Cardwell

2016 Angels of Life – The Tapellas, Bryan, Teri and Arya

2016 Angel of Life – Kellina Gilbreth

Additional recipients in 2016 were: Clark Sundahl, Michael Cimbura, Jennifer Schumm, Mike Diehl, Niel Kuhner, Jameson Ludlam and Dan Kourey.

 

2016 Angel of Life and Top Fund Raiser – Drew Palser

They have also raised a minimum of $2500 in donations.

What kind of support is available?

DEATH RIDE Tour Logistics Provider – Hermosa Tours

Hermosa Logo

The DEATH RIDE Tour is happy to announce that Matt McFee and the team at Open Road Adventures a Division of Hermosa Tours from Durango will be the official Logistics Provider of the DEATH RDE Tour. Hermosa & Open Roads Adventures will be providing a full course of Aid Stations, SAG Support and Luggage Transfer. More logistical information supplied under FAQs and the Schedule of Events.

DEATH RIDE Tour Medical Support Provider – Event Medical Solutions

Event Medical Solutions, Logo

We are your neighbors, friends, and family. We are the EMTs and paramedics that you have known and trusted for years. We are bikers, skiers, runners, snowboarders, climbers, and outdoors men/women just like you. We are experienced emergency medical professionals and event competitors who have seen, first hand, how an understaffed, unorganized or partially equipped event medical.

DEATH RIDE Tour Mechanical Support Providers – CrankSmith & Domestique Mobile Shops

It is the responsibility of each participant to make sure your bike is in proper working condition. It is recommended that you take your bike to your local bike shop or contact Cranksmith - https://www.cranksmith.com/ or Domestique http://www.domestiquemobile.com/ and let them know you are riding in the DEATH RIDE Tour.

You should be prepared on a daily basis to handle fixing flats and minor repairs, however, both Cranksmith & Domestique will be on the course each day and available in the evenings at the recommended hotels for more involved repairs. If something serious happens with your bike, the DEATH RIDE Tour team will do everything they can to get your bike repaired and back on the road.

In addition, the DRT will have Ride Ambassadors and a Riding Medic on the course to provide assistance.

Campus Cycles

Campus Cycles Logo
Campus Cycles has been with the DEATH RIDE Tour since inception and provides Mechanical Support and also great moral support. Thanks very much to the entire staff and especially owners Mark Velat & Bobby Verenna. Steve Bell pictured was with Campus Cycles at the beginning of the DEATH RIDE Tour.

Barry & Steve

Barry & Steve Bell - 2010 DEATH RIDE Tour

Steve Bell is no longer with Campus Cycles, however, now as a co-owner of Republic Cycles in Boulder, CO he still continues to support the DEATH RIDE Tour. Steve was the mechanic on DRT 1 in 2009.

Republic Cycles
https://www.republiccyclesboulder.com/

Honey Stinger

Honey Stinger Logo

History Of Honey Stinger
In 1954, beekeeper Ralph Gamber and his wife Luella created the EN-R-G Bar as a healthy snack. They also introduced "quick energy" packets of honey. Fifty years later, Honey Stinger was started in Colorado by a group including their son and grandson.

Who We Are
Located in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Honey Stinger makes nutritious and great tasting honey-based foods including energy bars, protein bars, energy gels, organic waffles and organic chews.

Nature's Energy Source

  • Honey is rich in carbohydrates, making it ideal fuel for working muscles.
  • When eaten before activity, it is released into the system at a steady rate throughout the activity.
  • Helps muscles stay nourished longer, and delays muscle fatigue.