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  1. #1
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    4th of July bike vacation suggestions wanted

    I'm in Boulder, looking for a 3 or 4 day bike vacation on the 4th of July weekend

    Constraints:
    - beautiful mountain scenery
    - Light traffic - looking for rides that aren't going to be dangerously full of RV's and boats
    - the hillier the better - please no flat pavement!
    - within a 6 hour drive of boulder
    - can be hotel or camping based, either credit card touring, fully loaded or day trips from the car
    - paved or 95% paved roads with either very low traffic or adequate shoulder
    - high altitude a big plus

    Thoughts?
    ...

  2. #2
    mev
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    Probably not exactly a match, but have you done the Laramie -> Saratoga -> Walden -> Laramie triangle.

  3. #3
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    Go to Glenwood Springs. Ride/drive to Aspen then ride up to Ashcroft one day and then Maroon Bells the next. Ashcroft is low traffic and dead ends so nobody is going anywhere but home there. Maroon Bells access is closed to public traffic at 8AM everyday and is a great ride. You have a few small shuttle busses taking people up but they are courteous and give you lots of room. Another day you can ride up to Carbondale and go over McClure pass. Great shoulders and it is off the vacation path for most people. Who goes to Paonia for fireworks? Nobody. All three are great rides. I do them every year over the 4th of July weekend and they rock.

    You can ride the Bike path up from Glenwood to Aspen instead of driving also. Pretty nice path and lots of scenery. Easy to keep a good pace on it as it doesn't see many people. Towards the top it's unpaved for a couple of miles into Aspen. Jump off at Red Butte and go up McClain Flats and loop back to Woody Creek on the way down for a nice bucolic setting.

    It's good enough for Lance, Levi, and Horner, it's where they are doing/did their altitude training for the Tour.

    PM me if you want more details, happy to talk, I'm in Longmont heading up on Tuesday.
    Last edited by rcummings1; 06-26-09 at 07:14 AM. Reason: Add
    You go where you look

  4. #4
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Buena Vista > Cottonwood Pass > Crested Butte (Almont) > Gunnison > Monarch Pass > Salida > Buena Vista

    Cottonwood Pass is paved going up, but is hardpack going down to near Almont. Many bicyclers use it. Otherwise paved.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  5. #5
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    i was gonna suggest the durango peak to peak loop (230 miles).

    i wasplanning on doing it as a 1 day on the 4th, but leaning towards not doing it now.

    but it meets all of those criteria except possibly could have a fair amount of traffic.

  6. #6
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    Thanks everyone, please keep them coming! All these sound nice and are underconsideration.

    badhat, is "durango peak to peak" the same as (or similar to) the San Juan Skyway? generally Durango - Ouray - Telluride - Cortez? Great route but I have been there before)
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  7. #7
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    yeah

    its the san juan skyway, aka the durango death loop.

    ive been wanting to do it for years and was kind of gearing up for doing it 4th of july weekend by doing a lot of distance stuff and working on my nutrition and clothing and everything. but then on looking at the household budget and the fact that i'm already committed to bob cook and the copper triangle, i decided i couldnt really justify the expense this year.

    too bad cuz 4th of july weather looks great in durango. i may yet change my mind.

  8. #8
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    July 4th tour south of Gunnison?

    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I'm in Boulder, looking for a 3 or 4 day bike vacation on the 4th of July weekend
    valygrl,

    I'll be leaving Boulder on Friday, July 3 and drive to Gunnison that day. From there I'll cycle south over Cochetopa Pass, North Cochetopa Pass, Los Piņos Pass, Slumgullion Pass, and Spring Creek Pass. Then I'll head back to Gunnison via Lake City. Want to join me?

    The one difficulty is that from Gunnison I'll be driving to Ouray to go to a wedding. However, Greyhound goes from Gunnison to Denver.

    Bryan

    Edit: the bus service might not be Greyhound (?), but there is Gunnison-Denver bus service now.

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    +1 on the Slumgullion-Spring Creek-Cochetopa loop. I'd do it counter clockwise, but either way, it's as good as it gets in Colorado.

    Unfortunately, I think 4th of July weekend, paved roads, beautiful scenery, and light traffic/no RVs is impossible. Any weekend in the summer, for that matter, is going to have heavy traffic and an endless chain of RVs on the scenic paved roads.

    I did the above loop in May and literally saw four cars the entire climb up Slumgullion. Descending down from Spring Creek Pass along the headwaters of the Rio Grande, I'd see a car maybe every fifteen minutes or so. I would highly recommend doing this trip in May or September rather than any time between Memorial and Labor day weekends.

    I'm in Boulder too and have actually been tossing around the idea of a one or two night tour over the 4th. One possible route is to head up Lefthand, over to Rollinsville, then west on Rollins Pass Road (dirt) and over to Winter Park on FS roads. Another is to ride north past Carter Lake to Masonville, then up Buckhorn Rd and then go explore the dirt FS roads to the west.

    I'm thinking I just need to be a little creative and accept that I'll be on dirt most of the time in order to avoid the RV train. I've ridden plenty of dirt on my road and touring bikes, and it doesn't bother me at all. But if you really want to be on pavement, maybe you could drive up to Wyoming or the northwestern part of CO and find some quite paved mountain roads. Maybe even the Black Hills (perhaps jamawani will chime in). You can bet anywhere in southern CO will be crawling with Texans.

    Hope your trip works out.

  10. #10
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    Just getting back here after a weekend in Leadville... BryanKeith, thanks for the offer, but the logistics doom it.

    More suggestions welcome, still haven't decided!
    ...

  11. #11
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    OK, I give this a go!

    Ride north from Boulder to Ft Collins. West on 14 toward Cameron Pass, then to Walden. From Walden go south on 125 (someone posted beautiful photos of this road last year) to Granby. Over Trail Ridge Road to Estes Park and back to Boulder.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  12. #12
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    Shifty, thank you, that's a beautiful ride and one that I will do - but not on July 4th.
    ...

  13. #13
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    Cochetopa loop preferred direction

    Quote Originally Posted by northboundtrain View Post
    +1 on the Slumgullion-Spring Creek-Cochetopa loop. I'd do it counter clockwise,
    northboundtrain, why do you prefer to do this loop counter-clockwise?

  14. #14
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    BryanKeith, how many days of riding is this? It really does look great
    ...

  15. #15
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    4 days for Cochetopa loop?

    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    BryanKeith, how many days of riding is this? It really does look great
    Google maps says it's <200 miles. I'm planning on a casual 4 days. I don't have to be in Ouray until Wednesday afternoon. So my plan is to start riding Saturday morning and arrive back in Gunnison Tuesday afternoon. But I'm going solo so I can be flexible.

  16. #16
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    Hey everyone -- I guess I should have posted an update as to what I ended up doing - which is not very interesting. I decided I had too much other stuff to take care of around home and stayed home (did some good rides here). But i filed away all your suggestions for future use.

    Thanks!
    ...

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