On the Front Range, the bike riders have been out for weeks, gearing up for a summer’s worth of riding. In the mountains, the snow is finally melting and clusters of cyclists are making their way up and down the mountain passes. But no matter where you live, if you ride a bike, June 13 should be on your calendar.

That’s the date of the second-annual Friends and Fellows Ride in Aspen: 32 miles from the Little Nell Hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain up the Castle Creek Valley past the historic ghost town of Ashcroft and back. This is not a race (although some will treat it as such), it’s a charity ride on one of Aspen’s most spectacular routes. Cycling coach and former pro Robbie Ventura will be on hand to provide tips and advice. Best of all, the event culminates with a seated lunch on the patio of Element 47 at the Little Nell.

Beginning last year, this collaboration between Blackberry Farm and the Little Nell became the unofficial kick off to the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen. The ride, which begins at 9 a.m., is fully supported with a light smoothie breakfast, snacks, Skratch Labs energy drinks, and a sag wagon. (Or, just ride as far as you wish and then cruise back to town.)

Once you’ve earned your calories and changed your clothes, Little Nell executive chef Matt Zubrod and the Barn at Blackberry Farm executive chef and James Beard Award nominee Cassidee Dabney will serve a Tennessee Hill Country–meets–Colorado Rockies luncheon with wine from European Cellars.

This pairing of fine food, wine, and athletic feat is a legacy that Sam Beall, the late-proprietor of Blackberry Farm, left behind. He was known to work hard and play hard—especially on a bike. Beall was the ultimate host and his belief in the power of hospitality and the culinary arts lives on. The Friends and Fellows Ride benefits the Sam Beall Fellowship Program, a scholarship fund sponsoring young professionals in pursuit of stages in world-renowned restaurants.

For those interested in the lunch and the cause but not the ride, there is a lunch-only option. Either way, register here.

$250 (ride and lunch) or $200 (lunch only), the Little Nell Hotel, 675 E Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-920-6330

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.