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This past weekend, eight riders completed the 5th annual Octopus Bike Ride in Eagle County. Dr. Erik Dorf, an upper extremity specialist with Vail Summit Orthopaedics, conceived the event five years ago and has organized it with Scott Bandoni every year since then. The ride tackles many of the large road bike climbs of Eagle County in one day. There are eight. Dorf decided to call it the Octopus. When Dr. Dorf mentioned the concept to Scott Bandoni back in 2011, Scott cautiously endorsed it...'it's crazy stupid, but I'm in'.
“Despite the fact that Not many riders have completed the Octopus, it is gaining some notoriety in the bike world,” says Dr. Dorf. “This year for the first time, we had our first woman complete all 8 climbs in the Octopus. Also new this year, we are organizing a Boulder Octopus, with a similarly painful profile.”
That first year just three of the eight who started the day finished the day. Dorf, Bandoni, and Brian Baker. The second year, 7 of 15 finished. Year three, 12 of 18. The ratio is improving each year. And with improving preparation, organization and support it will continue to do so.
Here are some facts & figures about the ride:
- Support vans and crew are graciously provided by Venture Sports in Avon.
- The number of riders is limited to 40. We haven't needed to turn anybody away. Yet.
- The ride starts at 6am.
- Vail Octopus start/finish is Vail Summit Orthopedics office in Edwards. The Boulder Octopus , starts and end at Amante in North Boulder
- Ride times have ranged from 12 - 14 hours. Saddle time has ranged from 9.5 - 13 hours.
- We typically break up into two or three groups for the climbs. The lead group waits for the last group at each summit. There are several additional locations for regrouping over the course of the day.
- Any rider can bail out of the ride at any point during the day.