Stay turned for more information on the 2022 Challenge2ConquerALS Events
IMPORTANT NOTICE - THE DEATH RIDE TOUR CYCLE2CONQUERALS HAS BEEN CANCELLED for 2022. WE ARE HOPEFUL TO BRING THIS EVENT BACK IN 2023.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO READ THE STORY BELOW.
In 2009, Barry Sopinsky, a somewhat recreational cyclist who had done many other charity cycling events, decided he would form his own Non-Profit the, (DEATH RIDE Tour Inc. TAX ID 27-1823372), now named Challenge2Conquer ALS Inc.
Barry’s Dad, Irvin Sopinsky, died of ALS when Barry was 13 after a 7-year battle and now it was time for Barry to get off the couch and do something in memory of his Dad.
Why The “DEATH RIDE”?
Barry knowing how challenging it was individuals and families to deal with ALS, wanted his cycling event to be a challenge and push participants to their limits. He came across a book he got at Campus Cycles from Steve Bell, written by cyclist Michael Seeberg, ROAD BIKING COLORADO, The Statewide Guide.
This book had all the great cycling routes of Colorado which Michael had personally experienced. On pages 232-233, Barry came across a route called the DEATH RIDE LOOP, listed as MOST DIFFICULT.
It is a 235-mile grueling course in the San Juan Mountains of Southwestern Colorado over 5 mountain passes with 17,000 feet of elevation gain and ONLY 4 left turns.
Michael called this an “insane” one day ride which he had accomplished 5 out of 6 times he attempted it.
Why named the DEATH RIDE?.
Well back in 1979 a small group of Durango cyclists led by a couple of natives, known as “Bicycle”Bob Gregorio and Blake Knowl set off to ride this 235-mile loop, just for the hell of it. They completed the loop in two days which at that time was pretty remarkable. With the 235 miles completed over two days and the group back in Durango, Blake Knowl named the accomplishment the “DEATH RIDE”. Blake said “it was like going to the edge of death, making a deal with the devil and returning to Durango as Zombies”.
For this group of extreme cyclists, this achievement was not quite enough. In 1980, a handful of the initial 1979 riders decided that if they could do the loop in two days, was it possible to accomplish the now DEATH RIDE in one day. They chose the “full moon in June” as a good day for the challenge. Those riders who completed the first one-day DEATH RIDE were Gerry Roach, Andy Schoembs, Forest Yelverton, Pete Willing and “Bicycle” Bob Gregorio. It took them 18 hours. They gathered together and started before dawn. It would be after sunset when they finished. It then truly earned its name of the “DEATH RIDE”.
Fast forward to 2009, Barry and his best friend Skip Carthcart, (aka Charles Homer Cathcart III, CHC3), as Barry called him and would later make him a logo for the event jerseys, chose to do this DEATH RIDE LOOP as their challenging ALS event. There wasn't then, and still isn't today, any other ALS charity cycling event in Colorado.
Barry’s wife Deborah said “are you guys fricking crazy!”. Barry, not being an” insane” cyclist told her “heck no”, I"ll set up the ride as a three-day recreational tour through the San Juan’s – hence the DEATH RIDE Tour came to be.
Not sure a 235 mile ride over five mountain passes and 17,000 feet of climbing should be called a recreational tour!?
Since 2009, over 1500 adventurous and committed to the cause cyclists have ridden the DEATH RIDE Tour and helped to raise just shy of $300,000 for ALS research and awareness.
2021 will be the 11th DEATH RIDE Tour
Now, it’s your turn to ride this awesome event.
The DEATH RIDE Tour is a 3 day, 235 mile treck through the beautuful Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado. You will climb up and over 5 mounatin passes. The first day will be 73 miles over Red Mountain Pass, then Dallas Divide. Day two is the longest day, 111 miles with only 1 pass, Lizard Head. You'll finish your treck with 51 miles over 2 really grueling climbs, Colbank and Molas with a exhilarating 8 mile decent to your finish. Truely an accomplish you won't ever forget.