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Old 08-24-12, 07:22 AM   #1
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Seeing Colorado's mountains make me want to ride there.

After seeing the routes for these first days in the professional races I have put a series of rides in Colorado as my #1 goal. The mountains and streams are so beautiful and the challenge of making the climbs is powerful to me. This set of routes in these races have to be some of the hardest to conquer in the sport. I know that a BF member is doing a ride that lets you ride the route ahead of the pros with full support, that is not my goal, though. I'd just like to go to some the various towns and ride a route similar to the race's but not as part of any big group or just ahead of the pros. Just stay in a small B&B each night, drive to each starting point if necessary and ride it as a loop.

Saying I had done a few of these climbs to myself would be a life time experience for me. The simple challenge of besting the gradient is enough to make me want to do this. All of you living in Colorado have my admiration, you live in such a beautiful, diverse state with a lot of bicycling opportunities.

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Old 08-24-12, 07:43 AM   #2
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I've watched some of the race and have also admired the scenery.
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Old 08-24-12, 08:47 AM   #3
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bill there are 3 major Colorado tours
ride the rockies 2000 riders june 2013 lottery held in feb
bike tour colorado 1500-2000 riders you can sign up for june 2013 right now route inc. cottonwood and independence passes (but not the same day)
crmbt.com 250-400 riders aug 2013

and here is a desc of a smaller group tour
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifest...6_story_3.html
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Old 08-24-12, 09:26 AM   #4
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Come and ride. It is also a great place to live.
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Old 08-24-12, 09:43 AM   #5
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I've ridden through Colorado both on road and mountain bikes. It like the stuff dreams are made of. The only scenary and road and trails that rival CO to me, are in Idaho and Utah. Watching the race the other day going over Independence Pass reminded me of the trip I took in 1984... I climbed the pass (with a fully loaded touring bike) but in 2 days. The Pros did that and Cottonwood in hours. WOW! But at least I had the time to look at and enjoy the scenary...
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Old 08-24-12, 10:08 AM   #6
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Few people think about western Colorado. Plenty of amazing riding here, and no crowds.
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Old 08-24-12, 11:43 AM   #7
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I love Colorado mountains. I've no idea why I'm still in Rhode Island. A few years ago i did a one week backpacking trip with three hiking friends into the Wemenuche Wilderness area. For this outing we began in Durango by riding the narrow gauge steam railway that runs north to Silverton but will stop at about the midway point to drop off backpackers once into the mountains. That train ride is great fun, (thrilling days of yesteryear and all that). There are plenty of videos of that train ride. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W1cwD...eature=related
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Old 08-24-12, 11:52 AM   #8
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There are also a bunch of tour companies that take small groups for rides in the Rockies.

If you go, the main thing is to have gearing that will let you ride up a 7% grade for an hour or so. Climbs of 7% can be over 7 miles long. I have ridden a reasonable amount in Colorado and the extended grades are almost never of 7%. So find a local hill that is 7% and ride up it at a pace that will let you do 7 miles of climbing. There is also the altitude to contend with. Mountain passes can be over 10,000' (the highest I have been on is something over 12,000'). Fortunately enough, I have not had any trouble with altitude. I have done tours in the west with Vermont Bicycle Tours, Western Spirit and Cycle America. They all did a good job. Most of the tour operators are devoted to the sport so they tend to do a really good job.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:02 PM   #9
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Great to hear you have the bug. See if you can't get into the lottery for RtR next year. If you miss it you can always do BTC or CRMBT. These organized rides provide a great way to see the sights with plenty of support. Don't question if you can do the climbs---they really aren't that steep (but I would make sure you have adequate gearing)--some are just rather longish. If it helps any "Mike" is out doing the route with one arm. There are a few handcyclists as well. Everyone rides the pace they are comfortable doing---stopping when they want to, taking pictures etc. I have thoroughly enjoyed going into the smaller towns and talking to locals.

I too have tried to catch what I can on TV this week. However I think my wife was getting tired of me telling her about what was about to come up next on some of the roads......like "next there will be a pull off on the right where I took off my leg warmers......"

I have not begun exploring just where but I do hope to be able to enjoy Western Colorado for several months a year upon retirement. I've seen enough of it from the saddle of bike that I know it's where I'd like to live and continue exploring.
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Old 08-24-12, 12:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Pamestique View Post
I've ridden through Colorado both on road and mountain bikes. It like the stuff dreams are made of. The only scenary and road and trails that rival CO to me, are in Idaho and Utah. Watching the race the other day going over Independence Pass reminded me of the trip I took in 1984... I climbed the pass (with a fully loaded touring bike) but in 2 days. The Pros did that and Cottonwood in hours. WOW! But at least I had the time to look at and enjoy the scenary...
While they didn't televise a lot of Cottonwood Pass I did see enough to know they had the dirt road in much better shape than what it was in when we did it last year. The surface was okay for road bikes when we rode it but there was definitely a lot more loose sand and gravel when we did it. I think that was our first day and I was still acclimating to the altitudes and navigating through sand and gravel. Paved roads were a welcome sight after that. I'd love to know the speeds they hit yesterday on the downhill section to Buenva Vista after cresting Cottonwood pass. I hit 55 mph and was holding back......
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Old 08-24-12, 12:09 PM   #11
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There's only two directions to ride in Colorado.

Up or Down hill.

Not really - there's lots of valleys even in the tallest mountains. Going from Denver to Grand Junction you only have two high passes to cross.

My lungs work fine at altitude. There's just nothing to breath.
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Old 08-24-12, 02:06 PM   #12
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There's only two directions to ride in Colorado.

Up or Down hill.

Not really - there's lots of valleys even in the tallest mountains. Going from Denver to Grand Junction you only have two high passes to cross.

My lungs work fine at altitude. There's just nothing to breath.
About 1/3rd to 1/2 of Colorado is flat plains from Denver east to KS - but everyone forgets about that. Flatter than a pancake - well, almost.

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Old 08-24-12, 02:16 PM   #13
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Watching the Pro race on TV over here and I have never been so bored in my life. Not really bored but not much excitement going on.Dead straight roads- a few curves and it goes up and down a bit. Today's Vuelta was just as bad but at least there will be a few hills and bends on other days when it goes up the mountains.

Sorry if that is disappointing you but that is the view I am getting of the race. The scenery however is completely different. Think if I had the chance to ride the area- it would be on an MTB to enjoy the scenery at closer quarters.
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Old 08-24-12, 05:04 PM   #14
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Montana.
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Old 08-25-12, 04:14 AM   #15
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My son lives in Boulder and we're planning to visit him next month. I'm taking my bike with me. Looking forward to riding there.
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Old 08-25-12, 05:41 AM   #16
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I have ridden there and be prepared to have sore ribs from trying to breathe. You are either going up or down. The views put you in perspective and you realize how small you are compared to your surroundings. wind, hail storms on the Peak to Peak, thunderstorm at Carter Lake, Gas at altitude
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Old 08-25-12, 06:31 AM   #17
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My son lives in Boulder and we're planning to visit him next month. I'm taking my bike with me. Looking forward to riding there.
Well, me too. September 7-15, to be exact.

It will be a grandkidocentric visit but I intend to do some riding. I've found one place that rents recumbents in Boulder. My fantasy is to take it to Idaho Springs and head on up to Mt. Evans.

Fantasy, yes.
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Old 08-25-12, 05:12 PM   #18
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Dudelsack and Bob N.........RMNP is not that far away. Start in Estes Park and ride up Trail Ridge Rd to top and then descend back down. Incredible!
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Old 08-25-12, 06:33 PM   #19
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In late 2007, I too made a series of rides in Colorado my #1 goal.

It wasn't a formally organized ride. It was a reunion trip for BikeJournal.com, which is what inspired the 50+ Forum Annual Rides starting in 2009.

I'm a lifelong lowlander and flatlander. My home altitude is about 450 feet. My round-trip commute gets me about 150 feet of climbing in not quite 10 miles. I'd been cycling for only about a year-and-a-half when I made the commitment.

After a whole spring and summer of training as best as I could, given our abundance of oxygen and dearth of hills, I arrived by train in Denver on a Monday. I rode around the Denver area Monday night and Tuesday.

Friends picked me up Wednesday morning and we went to climb Mt. Evans. We started halfway up at Echo Lake, about 10,000 feet. From there it's 14 miles to the top. I had to stop and rest frequently, but toughed it out waiting for the mileposts before stopping. I don't really remember much of the climb past Summit Lake, except for weeping tears of joy when I rolled into the parking lot at the top.



To say I was sore for the next three days in an understatement. But I'd never had such a satisfying ride.

On the following Saturday, we took a little spin on a route the locals had cooked up and called The Epic Century. Leaving Loveland, we rode to Longmont and Lyons before climbing South St. Vrain canyon up to the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway. We rode P2P over Wind River Pass (a low one by Colorado standards, but still, a pass) to Estes Park and had lunch. We descended Devil's Gulch to Big Thompson, then back into Loveland. I skipped the 15 extra miles of flatlands that would have brought the total to 100 miles.


Taken along the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway, just outside Allenspark. I think that's Mt Meeker in the background.

By the time the train arrived back in R-Town on Wednesday morning, I couldn't wait to go back. Sadly, I've been waiting ever since.

Anyway…

All this is to say that even a lifelong lowlander and flatlander can successfully cycle the mountains of Colorado. However, there's nothing in Western New York State (or Florida) that can adequately prepare you for the task. Expect to succeed, but also expect to suffer.

I knew it would be hard. I knew I would be sore. On the rides, I didn't let that upset me even though it was harder and I was more sore than I imagined I'd be.

I doubt I could have ridden one of the big three tours mentioned above. There's no way for me to train for that, so the training comes on the ride, and there aren't enough rest days on the big tours for a lifelong lowlander and flatlander. I'd advise caution before tackling one of those. That said, I'm also a stronger cyclist now than I was four years ago. So maybe…

One resource that helped me mentally prepare and keep motivated is the book, Road Biking Colorado: The Statewide Guide by Michael Seeberg. I recommend it highly.

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Old 08-26-12, 12:32 AM   #20
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At long last-Yesterdays stage in the Pro Tour got good. That finish is worth watching if you did not see it but spoiled by the morons that obviously do not understand the slightest thing about Bike racing.

It is a rant but I won't spoil it or make any other comments till others have viewed it.
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Old 08-26-12, 06:51 PM   #21
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About 1/3rd to 1/2 of Colorado is flat plains from Denver east to KS - but everyone forgets about that. Flatter than a pancake - well, almost.
As we here in Colorado Springs like to say, "Colorado Springs is "extreme Western Kansas, with a REALLY pretty back ground"!
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Old 08-27-12, 01:47 PM   #22
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Yesterday was the final stage of the USA Pro Cycling Tour.* After 6 days, 675 miles and around 50,000 feet of climbing, the riders finished with an individual time trial of 9.25 miles around the streets of Denver.

I was taking photos with my cell phone, which isn't ideal when the riders were hitting speeds of 40mph+, so I ended up with a fair few pictures of empty road or cyclists' bums.

Nonetheless, I managed to catch a few.











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Old 08-27-12, 05:28 PM   #23
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As we here in Colorado Springs like to say, "Colorado Springs is "extreme Western Kansas, with a REALLY pretty back ground"!
None of the tours I've done have taken us in your area. I've driven around there in a car but that was a few years ago. What's the general terrain like...or maybe is that a town west of Colorado Springs that is similar that I might be familiar with.
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Old 08-27-12, 06:52 PM   #24
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Saturday's climb up Flagstaff was incredible! They went up in 15 minutes (from the base). When I was last there (see avatar--in 1997), it took us 30 minutes... there must be something for being 30 years younger and 30 pounds lighter!

train safe-

(I plan to sign up for Ride the Rockies again next year, and will set up a 'team'-- which allows up to 10 people-for the lottery. If one member of the team gets in, all 10 get in. It increases your chances of being selected-- I will post about it again in February when the lottery opens)
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Old 08-27-12, 07:50 PM   #25
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There are a lot of good tours. I just road the Colorado Rocky Mountain Bicycle Tour. It was a week of big climbs and awesome views and had some of the same roads as the US Pro Challange. A tour makes it pretty easy (logistically) and there are lots to choose from
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