Cyclists (from left to right) Jeffery Thomas, Hector Leyba, and Jane Thomas of Colorado Springs stop for a quick photo op before continuing their gravel ride in Branson.

Twenty-five bicycling enthusiasts turned out on Saturday, Sept. 21 in Branson for the second annual Branson Hi Lo Gravel Grinder.

Two rides were offered in this event: A 28 mile pure gravel ride and a more challenging 50 mile gravel/pavement ride which encompassed a 2,500-foot elevation change. Entrants came from as far away as Grand Junction, Colorado and Amarillo, Texas.

“I could not be more thrilled with the outcome of this budding event,” says organizer, Christine Louden. “We had huge support from local businesses and sponsors including early backing by the City of Trinidad Tourism Board, who provided a grant to aid in promotional costs.

“This was an event that came together on a shoestring budget and every bit helped make it a success. I am very optimistic about the ability of Las Animas County to draw people from all over the state and the region to enjoy the outdoor opportunities that we have on offer here, in our own backyard, even in the remote areas of the County. The opening of Fisher’s Peak to the public will amplify those opportunities.”

Trinidad’s local bike shop, Ultimate Sports and Nutrition at 13769 U.S. Hwy 350, near Topar Welding, was instrumental in gaining traction in the local and regional biking communities.

The event ended with a “farm to table” post race meal with nearly all ingredients sourced from Las Animas County and the surrounding area.

“We have so many wonderful purveyors here,” Louden explained. “It was a priority of mine to highlight the gorgeous local food that can be had. Who knew that one could get fresh tilapia in Las Animas County? Aquasustain, an aquaponics business in Aguilar, provided the fish for our tacos. The Coal Stove made us fresh tortillas. Fogino Farms provided fresh, flavorful toppings, and the list goes on.”

Branson Hi Lo brings cyclists from miles around

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