Mountain - Plains - Visiting Littleton, CO soon--some questions
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07-14-10, 12:07 PM
I'm traveling to visit friends in Littleton in August and I was looking for some advice on routes and equipment. I live in the middle of Illinois, so this is the first time I will have ever done any real climbing and I'm not sure what to expect. Ideally I would like to find rides of around 40 miles and contain climbs that are not going to kill me, and be within riding distance of my friend's house. They live in the SW part of Littleton near 121 and Chatfield. I'm an above average cat 5 racer, soon to be average cat 4 racer, I weigh 155 lbs, and I figure I'll climb at around 230W (threshold 275W). I'm also trying to decide on shipping my bike (standard 39 tooth small ring and I'll put on the 28 tooth cassette) or trying to find a rental with a compact.
My first question is about routes. The Deer Creek Canyon route looks like a good fit because it starts a couple miles away from their house and the grades look like they could be manageable for my weight and power (I've done a bunch of power/grade/speed/cadence calcs). Is this climb considered an "average" climb, or should I look for something easier to start with? What are some other good climbs that start near that area? FYI, I'll only be doing two road rides while I'm there.
My next question is about equipment. I mentioned either shipping my bike with standard gearing or trying to rent a compact. I'd be more comfortable on my own bike and I'd have my Powertap to help pace myself, but I'm worried about the 39 tooth chainring. Are standard cranks too much for intermediate cyclists on the types of climbs I'm looking for? Are there any shops that rent decent road bikes around Littleton? I called a couple of places and didn't get anywhere.
Thanks in advance!
You'll be fine on Deer Creek w/ your 39. Out and back up Deer Creek won't be 40 miles from there. You can extend it by riding up S Turkey Creek where Deer Creek ends. High Grade road, a spur off of Deer Creek, is steeper and longer, and you can make a nice loop returning on City View Drive. There aren't many other choices for riding up into the hills starting from there. 74 and 285 have little shoulder and lots of fast traffic.
07-15-10, 06:59 AM
Thanks a lot for the advice! I see the loop you are talking about with City View Drive to Oehlmann Park Road. You're right, those routes won't be as long as I'm looking for, so I've been looking around on mapmyride to find some longer routes. I could add the Conifer Mountain loop for a total in the low 50's. Also, I see several routes that go north towards Indian Hills and Evergreen using County Rd 122 and cut over to State Hwy 73. Are those OK roads to ride on? Kind of like this route: http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united-states/co/littleton/921735928744
Any other suggestions?
07-15-10, 07:00 AM
Try calling Bicycle Village about rental bikes. In Boulder, University Bikes rents really nice equipment. I think if you really want to ride the hills, you might be happier with a compact. Also, for only 2 road rides it will probably be less expensive and less hassle to rent.
See the century course for the Deer Creek Challenge ride. It includes the best riding roads in the vicinity. http://www.deercreekchallenge.com/courses.html
07-15-10, 11:09 AM
You'll be fine with your gearing but remember your threshold won't be 275 out here....you will lose 5% or so percent of your power just coming to Denver and maybe another 5% once you head west into the Mtns. My best guess would be you will lose right around 8-10% off your threshold when climbing Deer creek/Higrade.
A question for you though...why would you climb at 230 if your threshold is 275? Were you already planning for the altitudes effect? If so I suspect you can not expect to see that big of a decrease in power. Or in other words why would you not be climbing at threshold? It's great training to raise your threshold....and pain tolerance:cry:
07-15-10, 12:22 PM
haha, good questions! I figured I'd climb at 230 just because it is a power I can do for a long time and I wasn't sure what to expect when going out there. Your points about losing power from the altitude are kind of figured in there a little bit, plus I wasn't sure if I wanted to be going at threshold first time out.
Another question, what should I wear? Will I need some colder weather gear like a wind vest, arm armers, and gloves for decending?
Thanks for all the advice everyone! I'm a lot more confident now that I'll be better prepared!
There's no need for warm clothing on those routes in August unless there is a very unusual cold snap (like a couple weeks ago when we had a couple days with highs in the 60s).
07-16-10, 08:01 AM
I would still bring cold weather gear just in case. For example if you decided to climb Mt Evans, Trail Ridge, or various passes.
That reminds me, the OP should really look into Mt Evans. :)
07-20-10, 02:42 PM
Yeah not likely to need any cold weather gear..it was 102 here saturday. But you might throw in a vest and some arm warmers just in case we get one of those crazy cool spells.
08-18-10, 07:01 AM
I just got back from the trip! I had so much fun I felt bad coming home. On Friday I rode up Deer Creek Canyon and High Grade Road, over to Reynolds Ranch Park and back up and then down City View. 52 miles, 5700' clmbing that day. Then on Saturday my friend and I drove to Keystone where he went downhill mtn biking while I rode up Loveland Pass. That was quite a climb, which I didn't really enjoy going down nearly as much as going up! After that I rode up to Montezuma then back down to Lake Dillon. I was kind of tired that day, 40 miles 4000' climbing. Then on Sunday we went mtn biking, which I've never done before. In retrospect I would have rather rode Deer Creek Canyon again, but that's OK, I still had fun.
Even though I've never really done any climbing, both of my first climbs each day were right at 2500' per hour. Is that a decent rate? Oh, and I ended up renting the bike with the compact crank, which turned out to be a great idea. I'm recovering from a bit of cartilage damage in my knee, so the extra gearing was helpful. I was still in the lowest gear on pretty much anything over 5% grade.
Overall it was a great trip and it got me thinking about trying to move out there. Thanks for all the tips!
08-18-10, 06:26 PM
Impressive. Please keep our riding a secret. We got enough folks here already. :)
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