Thursday, May 26, 2011

take two?

I mentioned last post that we're nearing the running of Ride The Rockies. While I'm not going to be going to Colorado until August for the CRMBT, if one were going to do RTR, why not stay around for a week and ride the Bicycle Tour of Colorado?

BTC is a loop tour that starts and ends in Central City. The location is kind of ironic because Central City is just north of Black Hawk, CO, which enacted a bicycle ban on city streets in January of 2010. I hope cyclist don't have to go through there to get back to where they parked.

I think every tour in Colorado offers at least some spectacular days on the bike, and this tour is full of those days. Day one has riders on the beautiful and challenging Peak-to-Peak Highway to Estes Park.
Day two offers the chance of a lifetime kind of ride through Rocky Mountain National Park of Trail Ridge Road. I've heard many riders state that this ride is one of the best days they ever spent on a bike.
The next couple days go from Granby to Steamboat Springs over Muddy Pass, 8772 feet, and Rabbit Ears Pass, 9426 feet. And Steamboat Springs to Glenwood Springs for a much deserved rest day. Then it's back on the road heading east to one of my favorite places, Frisco. This day has riders gaining about 2000 feet in elevation over the first 70 miles, and another couple thousand in the next 10 miles as they climb Vail Pass at 10,662 feet. I love the climb up the west side, even though it's tough, but I don't like the descent. It's largely on a steep, twisting bike path. I've done it during the Copper Triangle and it's not fun with 2000 riders. But, once you get to Copper Mountain you can practically coast the last 10 miles into Frisco.
From Frisco riders have a relatively short 65 miles back to Central City, but there is the matter of getting over Loveland Pass first. At 11,990 feet Loveland is the third highest paved pass in the state. The good news is that the descent is about three times as long as the climb. And one little 10 mile climb at the end gets you back to where you started.
So, if on June 17, the 412 miles you just rode with Ride The Rockies doesn't seem like enough, you've got a whole day to rest up, a short drive, and you could be on your way to another 463 miles with Bicycle Tour of Colorado.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

get the party started

We're just a few weeks from the first big Colorado bike tour, the Denver Post's  Ride The Rockies. I'm looking forward to a recap from Clay at Clay's Cycling Blog. I'm not crazy about a non-loop tour. More logistics to figure out getting vehicles to the finish or bikes to the start. But I am curious about a tour in it's twenty-sixth year riding some of the best routes in Colorado.

The tour kicks off on June 12 in Crested Butte, heading south to Almont, and east/northeast over Cottonwood Pass on the way to Buena Vista.
I love the route on the second day for several reasons. North from Buena Vista takes you along the Collegiate Range with several of Colorado's "14ers" on your left.
You climb slowly all morning on the way to Leadville, but it makes the afternoon so worth it. After a short climb up Tennessee Pass you're rewarded with a great descent. Another short climb over Battle Mountain Summit leads to one more great descent and it's downhill almost all the way to Edwards.
The Leadville to Edwards portion makes up almost a third of the famous Copper Triangle, and the whole day offers spectacular scenery.

The next couple days head to Steamboat Springs and passes that are unfamiliar to me. But the last day is back in the higher elevations with a ride from Granby to Georgetown over Berthoud Pass.
Here's to hoping Clay and 1999 of his friends have a safe, fun ride, and take lots of pictures to share with us, as well as stories from Ride The Rockies 2011.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

colorado dreamin'

I'll get on my bike, and I'll ride away
I'll take lots of pictures, along the way
Though I'll see some sights, I know I cannot stay
Colorado dreamin' on such a summer day
I'll climb a lot of passes, and make them all, I pray
If I can get up and off of them early in the day
We climb them 'cause they're there, at least that's what we say
Colorado dreamin' on such a summer day
Goin' up and over, the Rocky Mountain way
Riding up is hard, down the easy way
Such a special place, to ride the day away
Colorado dreamin' on such a summer day

Saturday, May 7, 2011

nice day

This is more like it. I've only been able to make it out on a couple short rides the last few weeks, and it's been cool and windy. Today the temperature has risen into the upper 70s, and the wind is relatively calm. So, I took a couple hours and headed off on a loop I haven't done since last summer.
 There are five of these roundabouts in a one mile stretch. They make me think of the Tour de France. I always imagine myself in the peloton flying through these.

Only about 25 miles today, but it felt good to hit some hills that I had to really work to get up. I have a long way to go to be ready for Cottonwood Pass, but I still have a few months. Here's to summer!