Twenty-five mountain bikers are scheduled to depart Molas Pass early Saturday for a two-day ride down the Colorado Trail to Durango as part of the seventh annual CT Jamboree, a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis.
On Sunday, a race, marking its fifth year, begins when 10 riders leave the same spot and cover the distance in one day.
Last year, Nick Gould won the race in 8 hours 46 minutes, a record time. Gould caught and passed the tour participants as they neared the Junction Creek campground north of Durango.
Hard-core and casual riders take part in the event, which covers about 75 miles.
Two bicyclists who will be doing the two-day tour for the first time, Rob Pope and Stan Chen, got in some 11th-hour training Thursday on the Hoffheins Loop Trail off Lightner Creek Road (County Road 207).
Pope, who works for a mining equipment supplier, has a very personal reason to ride.
Im participating to support my wife, who has MS, Pope said. Its the best way to help the cause.
Chen, a self-employed craftsman who makes custom firearms, took the challenge to support Pope and his wife, Jeanine Pope.
Im a recreational rider, Chen said. If youd suggested this to me, Id have said, Have fun, Chen said. But Jeanine is the first person Ive known with MS, and I want to help her.
Its going to be a tough ride, Chen said. But living with MS is tough.
Ivan Unkovskoy, who raced semi-professionally in the 1990s, is a first-timer, too.
Hell be riding a single-speed in the race Sunday.
Ive been doing more long rides, Unkovskoy said. Im not in it for the race, but rather for the adventure, the challenge and the camaraderie.
Ian Altman, the founder of the CT Jamboree, is a member of the MS community. He received his diagnosis in 1997.
Altmans inspiration to combat his MS, an autoimmune disease for which there is no known cure, was the late Jimmy Heuga, the Olympic downhill skiing gold medalist.
I take medication, but the activity helps me with MS, Altman said.
The CT Jamboree raises about $30,000 annually, Altman said.
A portion of pledges go to maintain the Colorado Trail for future generations.