Trail stewardship, bikes and community celebrated

Annual Golden Giddyup takes place Sept. 15

Posted 8/27/19

Across its entire trail network, Jefferson County Open Space attracts about seven million people annually. This can take a toll on the trails, said Jeff Watrobka, executive director of the Golden …

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Trail stewardship, bikes and community celebrated

Annual Golden Giddyup takes place Sept. 15

Posted

Across its entire trail network, Jefferson County Open Space attracts about seven million people annually.

This can take a toll on the trails, said Jeff Watrobka, executive director of the Golden Giddyup.

“Giving back to our trails is something everyone — not just mountain bikers — can get into,” Watrobka said.

So, to celebrate trail stewardship, mountain bikes and outdoor recreation and community, the annual Golden Giddyup race/ride and expo takes place on Sept. 15.

The Golden Giddyup Trails Team got its start in 2014. Following the September 2013 floods, a small group of volunteers got together to figure out a way to reopen Apex Park’s trails. Apex Park is located in Golden with trailheads off Highway 93 and Lookout Mountain Road. The floods forced the entire park to close — all 700 acres, including its nearly 10 miles of trails.

Since then, the Golden Giddyup Trails Team formally organized, formed a partnership with Jefferson County Open Space and operates as a subsidiary of the Jeffco Outdoors Foundation. It now offers volunteer trail work opportunities at a number of Open Space parks. To date, the Golden Giddyup Trails Team can boast more than 11,450 volunteer hours of trail work documented in the past five years.

The is the fourth year for the Golden Giddyup ride/race and expo.

“The event started because of bikes and the partnership with Jefferson County Open Space,” Watrobka said, “but it continues because of the community it creates.”

MORE: The 2018 Giddyup expo

Golden resident Jesse Swift will be racing the Giddyup for the fourth time. Swift has been a competitive mountain biker since the mid-1990s and during his days as a pro, he would have to travel to various locations in Colorado, as well as out-of-state, to compete.

But “everyone in the Front Range has always known how great the trails are in Jefferson County,” Swift said. “It’s great to have a race on the trails we use for training.”

Swift still competes and serves as an assistant coach for the Golden High School Mountain Bike Team. The youths volunteer with the Golden Giddyup Trails Team to do trail work at least twice during the summer, Swift said.

“It helps the students become responsible to their community,” Swift said, and it “gets them involved with the trails they really care about.”

With all its components — trail stewardship and the annual race and celebratory event — the Golden Giddyup is starting a new chapter for the mountain biking community in Golden and Jefferson County, Swift said.

Golden resident Susan Weiler agreed.

“So many of us love the trails in Golden,” she said. And “the Giddyup provides a way for any of us to go out and make a difference.”

Weiler has ridden in the Golden Giddyup twice and has volunteered at the event twice. She is planning on volunteering again this year.

The Golden Giddyup “is a one-of-a-kind race for the Front Range,” Weiler said. But “at the heart of it, (the event) is a celebration of the trail teams’ accomplishments. To me, that’s what it’s all about.”

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