Riders show their mettle in “Pedal the Plains”

The dozen cyclists and volunteers representing team Touchstone Energy in Wray after the first leg of the three-day “Pedal the Plains” tour.

Last weekend (Sept. 21-23) 1,000 bicycle enthusiasts saddled up for a three-day, 168-mile circuit across eastern Colorado’s electric co-op country for the first annual “Pedal the Plains” bicycle tour that was sponsored in part by Tri-State and its member Colorado Touchstone Energy Cooperatives.

This well attended and highly successful cycling rally was the brainchild of Colo. Gov. Hickenlooper, who also was a rider in the event. The goal of the tour was to celebrate the roots and the frontier heritage of Colorado’s eastern plains.

With the help of Tri-State, the Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) and 10 of the association’s member cooperatives, a team of 12 cyclists volunteered to represent Colorado’s Touchstone Energy Cooperatives’ bike team to help spotlight the vital  service that electric co-ops provide to the many farms, ranches and communities that are within this Pedal the Plains tour area.

Left to right are Dave Frick, manager of Morgan County REA, Tri-State’s Terri Marranzino-Ray and Dave’s brother Kyle Frick. This trio powered through 217 total miles during the tour.

Included on the Touchstone Energy team were Terri Marranzino-Ray, Tri-State’s fleet manager, several friends and relatives of Tri-State employees, as well as Kent Singer, general manager of CREA.

In addition to promoting the region’s rural electric cooperatives, the Touchstone Energy team rode to help raise money for Energy Outreach Colorado, a non-profit organization that helps struggling Colorado families pay their heating bills in the winter.

“I really can’t say enough about the hospitality and friendly reception that we received in all three of the towns that hosted this event.  I will definitely be back next year,” said Marranzino-Ray.

The fleet manager was among a small cadre of tour participants who not only completed the standard 168-mile course, but also battled buffeting headwinds and the occasional goat head (stickers that cause bike flats) to complete the optional course side junkets for a whopping total of 217 miles completed during this challenging event.

The three main legs of the eastern plains tour were from Yuma to Wray, Wray to Burlington and Burlington back to Yuma on the third and final day. Celebrations in the host towns included a “Plains Party and Festival” in Burlington and a “Celebration of Agriculture” in Yuma.

Tri-State shared a roadside kiosk with Duke Energy on Saturday (Sept. 22) to offer riders on their way from Wray to Burlington refreshments and guided tours of the Kit Carson Windpower site.  More than 100 cyclists stopped by for a wind tour and to learn about Duke Energy, Tri-State and its member co-ops.

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