Saturday, October 4, 2014

crmbt 2015 route

The Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour recently announced their planned route for 2015. It offers 472 miles of beautiful alpine scenery and visits to some of the great cities in Colorado.

Day 1 - The tour will start in Gunnison, a place that's very familiar to anyone who has spent much time on Colorado bike tours. Riders will take US50 out of town and start a climb that is really tame, until it's not. Over the first 33 miles they will gain about 700 feet in elevation. Over the next 10 miles they will gain close to 3,000 feet, arriving at the top of Monarch Pass,  11,312 feet, before descending all the way to Salida.
Day 2 - From Salida riders will head north to Buena Vista on US285. They will follow that highway as it merges with US24 and cross Trout Creek Pass as the tour did this year. But instead of staying on 24 at the split, they'll follow 285 to Fairplay, where they'll turn onto CO9 for the last leg of the day. Highway 9 will take riders all the way to Breckenridge for the next overnight, but not before a climb over Hoosier Pass at 11,539 feet. This will be the first time CRMBT has ever done Hoosier Pass.
Day 3 - The third day will feature some classic Colorado riding, including two-thirds of the Copper Triangle done in reverse. From Breckenridge riders will follow the bike path through Frisco to Copper Mountain and all the way to Vail Pass. The screaming descent will be on the road that I-70 replaced in the area, now closed to traffic! Frontage roads and bike paths will get them back to US24, this time heading southwest to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the US at 10,152 feet. It's pretty impressive to be at that altitude and look out and see mountains towering above.
Day 4 - After averaging 74 miles for the first three days, riders should be warmed up for the "Queen Stage" of the tour. After heading south to Twin Lakes, the route heads east/northeast crossing Independence Pass, 12,095 feet. From there it's a long, winding road, downhill, to Aspen, then back on a bike path almost all of the way to Glenwood Springs for a much-deserved rest day.
Day 5 - Rest day in Glenwood Springs. Riders might visit the hot springs, do a little rafting, or just relax, maybe with a short ride on the trails around town. Whatever they choose, this is a great place for a day the middle of your vacation.

Day 6 - This day won't be the longest, or highest elevation day, but it will be beautiful. A little more bike path, some coke ovens, and McClure Pass, 8,866 feet. Then a nice descent, and an ever warmer ride into Hotchkiss.
Day 7 - The route on the final day will take riders through the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River. It's a beautiful place to ride a bike. There's no mountain pass, but they will climb to over 9,000 feet and summit at a trail-head that's called Hermit's Rest, if I remember correctly. There are spectacular views and a pretty good descent back down to US50. From there they'll ride along the Blue Mesa Reservoir and Blue Mesa. By the time they bid adieu to the reservoir they'll only have about 10 miles left to Gunnison.
Riders will roll into Gunnison with 472+ miles and 7 mountain passes under their belts, lots of great memories, and if they're like me, a whole bunch of pictures. If this sounds like fun to you, check it out at CRMBT. Get signed up early for the best rate.

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