The gloomy, wet weather lingering over Colorado isn’t dampening the spirits of those participating in the 25th Ride the Rockies, which began yesterday in Grand Junction. The rain and hail may have caused some of the riders to take shelter in the Visitor Center of the Colorado National Monument, but the unseasonal conditions are at least helping to keep the approximately 2,000 cyclists cool in what is the longest Ride the Rockies tour to date (via The Denver Post). By the time it’s over, riders will have pedaled 545 miles in seven days through some of the most beautiful parts of the state, with some stages comparatively mellow and others that include thousands of feet in vertical gain. Tom Trinidad of Jackson, Tennessee, tells the Grand Junction Sentinel he’s been training for three months for this event. Trinidad, originally from the Philippines, says he’s been dreaming about starting the tour: “It was wonderful, breathtaking. I’ve never seen a ride like this before.” Seven towns are hosting the ride—Grand Junction, Delta, Ouray, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Alamosa, and Salida, where the tour wraps up next weekend—and one charity in each locale will be rewarded with a $5,000 donation from Denver Post Charities, which is sponsoring the event. Later today, the cyclists will descend upon Delta, a small town between Grand Junction and Montrose, where Families Plus, an organization that helps low-income children buck the trend of failure, will receive a check, reports the Delta County Independent.