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Old 11-21-10, 03:41 PM   #1
bikerjp
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Anyone know Horsetooth dam road grade

I was wondering if anyone knows and of the grades of the road up behind CSU stadium and along horsetooth res. The section I'm interested in is N Co Road 23, according to Google Maps, that is on the east side of the res and runs parallel. Several up-down sections there. I road that for the first time today and it kicked my butt. Google MyTracks said the max grade was 4.9% and I sure hope that is wrong. Thanks.
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Old 11-21-10, 08:31 PM   #2
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the steepest sections are the first climb just past the south dam - that one is around 10-12 at its steepest, stadium hill from the stadium up to the T intersection, which is up over 12% at steepest, and the first climb from the northside/lory up to the parking lot, which is also over 12%. so yeah google tracks is probably using weird averages or something.
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Old 11-21-10, 11:02 PM   #3
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Oh, that makes me fell much better. I really didn't think those climbs were only 5%. Thanks for the info. This is my new challenge. What did you use to get more reliable data? I'm thinking of getting a Edge 500.

Just curious, just past the parking lot near what seemed like the highest point (near the north end) there is a drop down towards Bellvue that also seemed pretty steep. If I wasn't chicken probably could have hit 50 or more going down. As it was I hit 41. I did a clockwise circuit from the stadium along the res, down to Bellvue and then down Bingham hill to Overland. If you do a counter-clockwise circuit is it harder/steeper? Seems like instead of several smaller hills you get one big-a$$ one (the climb out of Bellvue). Is that the case? Any idea the grade on that section?

Thanks again.
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Old 11-22-10, 10:22 PM   #4
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its hard no matter what way you do it, its just hard in different ways.

the climb up dam road from bellvue is the hardest for me, cuz its a gradually increasing false flat all the way from bellvue and then has a pretty long, pretty steep section near the top.

most folks would agree that either that or the staduim hill approach are the hardest. stadium hill is probably a little steeper, but not quite as long.

theres different power systems (aerobic vs anaerobic, muscular endurance) in the body that mean people have wildly different ideas about what constitutes hard.

people argue all day about which way up to the top of rist is harder, rist canyon with its steadier, shorter more relentless grade, of buckhorn with lots of up and down but several brutally steep sections.
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Old 11-22-10, 11:39 PM   #5
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its hard no matter what way you do it, its just hard in different ways.
That makes me feel better. I was going to give Rist a try but if I can't do the dams without stopping a few times then I doubt I can do Rist. If I had a triple it might help. Compact with 12-27 seems just a bit lacking in the low range. I know, htfu. I'm working on it. Thanks again.
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Old 11-24-10, 03:09 PM   #6
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theres no reason not to take a crack at rist.

if it gets too hard, you can always just turn around and enjoy the downhill

its really not that steep except for 2 short sections on the way and the last half mile.
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Old 11-25-10, 01:25 AM   #7
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theres no reason not to take a crack at rist.

if it gets too hard, you can always just turn around and enjoy the downhill

its really not that steep except for 2 short sections on the way and the last half mile.
Thanks for the words of encouragement. I am eying a loop that would go up Rist and then south on Buckhorn road to Masonville and then back down the road that turns into Harmony. Haven't mapped it yet but probably in the 60 mile range. Not something I want to do in the winter but once the weather starts to warm up again I'll give it a go. Have you done this route before? How bike friendly are the roads? In the meantime I may give Rist a go if we have any halfway decent weather. I went out today and it was cold and windy. Not the kind of weather I want to be climbing in (unless it's a tail wind ). Thanks again for the info.
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Old 11-25-10, 11:50 PM   #8
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IIRC, that loop is 57 miles, door to door for me. The roads are twisty on the east side, going up from Bellvue, but in good shape. Traffic is generally light, but keep right anyway. The lines of sight around the curves are generally poor. The last 1/4 mile to the top of Rist is very similar to the hill right behind Hughes stadium - very steep. Once you top out, you have a wicked fast descent down to Stove Prairie Road. This time of year, large amounts of gravel and pinecones are a concern on that section. Once you're on Stove Prairie/Buckhorn, it's a relatively easy ride to Masonville. After Masonville, it's a long climb up to Horsetooth Mountain Park, another fast descent, then another steep climb to Horsetooth Lake. If you'd like more suffering, make a left at the dam road (Centennial Ridge/CR 23), then start climbing. That will put you out right above the stadium. If you're in relatively decent shape, it shouldn't kill you.
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Old 11-26-10, 12:14 AM   #9
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If you're in relatively decent shape, it shouldn't kill you.
Well, that's the real question. I mapped it on ridewithgps.com and it looks like 50 miles door to door for me. I don't plan to do this in the winter. A bit long and rural if weather changes or anything. Maybe by summer I'll be in decent shape. Thanks for the info.
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Old 11-26-10, 11:34 AM   #10
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the rist buckhorn loop is like 60 miles from fort collins and is a challenging ride no matter what shape you're in.

what i am suggesting it Rist canyon as an out and back.

from the beginning of the climb (the dirt road T intersection past bellvue at the mouth of rist canyon) its only about 10 miles to the top of ford hill, which is the end of the climb.

if you go down into stove prairie > buckhorn from there, its long, but if you just turn around and bomb back down rist, you can coast most of the way. off the top of my head there only one section of slight uphill on the downhill.

i havent done rist since the snowfall though and its notoriously icy in the winter. again. theres no reason not to try it as an out and back, and if you notice ice, its probably done for the season.


my only point is there no reason to be afraid to try rist cuz its too hard. if you try it and its too hard, you can turn around.
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