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  1. #1
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Suggestions for 3 day CC tour out of Colorado Springs

    I'm in Colorado Springs in June and have three days spare for riding. I'll be renting a road bike and can happily cover 100 hillyish miles a day near sea level, I expect 60-80 up there.
    Was thinking of doing a loop through Salida.
    And route suggestions or alternatives?

    Cheers

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    Can you start in Golden or Boulder instead? If so, I've got a loop for you. Otherwise, maybe cyccommute will chime in, he knows his way around there.

    Or, do you have a car? Rather than mess around with carrying your stuff for just a few days of touring and staying in hotels, you could drive up to Summit County and do some spectacular loops / out-and-backs.
    ...

  3. #3
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Can you start in Golden or Boulder instead? If so, I've got a loop for you. Otherwise, maybe cyccommute will chime in, he knows his way around there.

    Or, do you have a car? Rather than mess around with carrying your stuff for just a few days of touring and staying in hotels, you could drive up to Summit County and do some spectacular loops / out-and-backs.
    I could probably head up to Boulder on the way out. But CS has a great bike shop(Criterium) next to a very cheap hotel across the road from a decent restaurant, and I'll already be there!
    Carting gear is no problem, my touring luggage is a Revelate seat bag with around 4kg of stuff.

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    Ok, I was thinking about the grand loop, but the cripple creek route on this page could be possibilities as well.

    http://www.rmccrides.com/challengese...ml#information
    http://www.rmccrides.com/grand_loop.pdf

    These are meant as one day challenges, but could be split up into tours. There are definitely hotels on the grand loop. If this looks good, shoot me a note and I can add more info next week. I'm traveling right now and only have an iPad which is hard to type on.
    ...

  5. #5
    mje
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    Having only driven US-24 out of the springs, it doesn't look amenable to cycling. I've never even driven 115, but Ride the Rockies uses it this year, so I presume it's not too bad. Consider 115 to 50 to Salida. Then north on 285/24 to I-70. East on the bike paths paralleling 70 to 9. Then south back on 9 to 50 and retrace your starting route. Some shortcuts could be 91 to I-70 or 24 east to 9.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    I could probably head up to Boulder on the way out. But CS has a great bike shop(Criterium) next to a very cheap hotel across the road from a decent restaurant, and I'll already be there!
    Carting gear is no problem, my touring luggage is a Revelate seat bag with around 4kg of stuff.
    I'd suggest a trip to Canon City. Colorado 115 is okay to ride and I'd suggest going to the Royal Gorge. Stay in Canon City and Cripple Creek. US24 isn't the best bike road but if you go down hill on it from Cripple Creek, it's a little more bike friendly. Still high traffic but you'll be faster.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Breathegood's Avatar
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    Like others have stated, US24 west of CS would be a nerve racking ride. I wouldn't do it. Highway 50 between Canon City and Salida is not much better. Narrow, winding, canyon roads with short visibility and heavy traffic moving at highway speed. If you don't absolutely feel the need to climb to the west out of CS, there are some great roads to tour that run roughly parallel to the Front Range, and the plains of Colorado can be pretty scenic. Take Highway 83 north out of CS to Franktown and you can connect with the Cherry Creek trail system to get you around to the west side of the Denver Metro area. From there, there are much better routes to go west into the mountains.

    The milage and timing might be a stretch, but you could do:
    Day 1: Colorado Springs to Canon City via 115 and HWY50 (~45 miles, rolling hills but net downhill)
    Day 1: Canon City to Fairplay via HWY 9 (~75 miles, no major passes but steady climbing for ~45 miles out of CC into South Park, then flat)
    Day 2: Fairplay to Morrison via HWY 285 (~70 miles, must climb Kenosha Pass and fight traffic in Turkey Creek Canyon)
    Day 3: Morrison to Franktown via 470/Cherry Creek trails (~40 miles depending on route, all on MUP)
    Day 3: Franktown to Colorado Springs via HWY83 (~45 miles rolling rural highway with light traffic)

    Day 1 would be long and arduous, but if you've got the stones, it would be an incredible ride. Day 2 would involve some climbing but is a net downhill. The 285 stretch from Fairplay to Morrison might be a little sketchy in sections. There are some back roads that would route you North through Evergreen to avoid the traffic in Turkey Creek Canyon, but I'm not sure they would ultimately be any safer....just longer and slower. Day 3 would be a relaxing ride along the CO Front Range.

    Don't underestimate the affects of elevation. Fairplay is almost 10,000' above sea level. Canon City is only 5300'. Your lungs will burn. Your muscles will be poorly oxygenated. The dry air will chap your skin and make your water disappear in no time flat. Not to mention, June is monsoon season in CO. Afternoon thunderstorms are a regular occurance in the high country.
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    Look you live on the other side of the world. Don't waste your precious few days in Colorado cycling sorta near the good parts. Go to the actual good parts.

    That means, go to the mountains. Not south park. Not hwy 24 or hwy 285.
    ...

  9. #9
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    I'd suggest a trip to Canon City. Colorado 115 is okay to ride and I'd suggest going to the Royal Gorge. Stay in Canon City and Cripple Creek. US24 isn't the best bike road but if you go down hill on it from Cripple Creek, it's a little more bike friendly. Still high traffic but you'll be faster.
    Thanks Stuart. That looks pretty good.

    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Or, do you have a car? Rather than mess around with carrying your stuff for just a few days of touring and staying in hotels, you could drive up to Summit County and do some spectacular loops / out-and-backs.
    I guess I could rent one and drive up to Breckenridge but it would mean losing half of Friday and Sunday. Saturday could be epic then.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Thanks Stuart. That looks pretty good.
    I've modified the route a little and taken it south of US50 into Florence. It's a more rural route. A couple of notes on the route:

    1. I've taken you to the Royal Gorge. You'll have to pay a fee to get across the bridge but it's worth the money. It was the highest bridge in the world from 1929 to 2001. You can get to the bridge either one of two ways. You go over the bridge and down into the Arkansas River basin from the east or you can go down Parkdale Hill and come back up to the bridge from the west.

    2. From Canon City (not 'canon' as in the *** but canyon with a tilde over the n) to Cripple Creek there are zero services. Make sure you pack enough water and food for that leg.

    3. Cripple Creek is a gambling town. I haven't been there in eons but it can be rather busy. Book a room early.

    4. The section of US 24 that I have you on is okay until you reach the turn off for Pike's Peak. It gets narrow for about the last 8 miles into Manitou Springs. But you will be going down a good hill so you should be able to maintain some speed. Traffic can move all that fast in the bottom of the canyon but be careful as it gets twisty near the end.

    This route circumnavigates Pike's Peak and is a pretty good sampler of what Colorado has to offer. You'll ride through the canyon lands that make up the foothills of the Pike's Peak complex and you'll ride through the canyons of the Arkansas River. Going north to Cripple Creek will take you on the lower part of the horst/graben that makes up South Park...yes, there really is a South Park. And you'll ride past Pike's Peak.

    Be careful with the altitude. Altitude sickness is very real and can be hazardous to your health. staehpj1 came out here last year to do a tour and had to abandon it after 2 days. Read up on the symptoms. And drink lots of water. The altitude sucks the water out of you quickly.
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  11. #11
    mje
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Look you live on the other side of the world. Don't waste your precious few days in Colorado cycling sorta near the good parts. Go to the actual good parts.

    That means, go to the mountains. Not south park. Not hwy 24 or hwy 285.
    If you want to take valygrl's advice to the max, go to the San Juan mountains in the southwest corner of the start. Make a loop starting with Durango to Ridgway. Then either continue north to Montrose, east a bit, and south through Lake City and Creede. Close the loop over Wolf Creek pass. But that is too far for three days. A shorter loop goes west past Telluride and Cortez. That's probably still too far for three days, so you could just make an out-and-back from Durango to Ouray. Around there you'll see some of the best concentration mountain scenery in the state that you can see from paved roads.

  12. #12
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    In June I would also recommend a three day ride based in Cannon City.

    Day 1, Ride highway 115 from Colorado Springs to Cannon City, get a room with a hot tub and swimming pool for two nights. You leave any spare overnight gear in the room for day two.

    Day 2, Ride east on 115 to Florence, then south on 67 to Wetmore. Turn right on 96 over Hardscrabble Pass to Westcliffe. Lunch here. From Westcliffe go north on 69 to Texas Creek. Right on highway 50 back to the room and hot tub in Cannon City. This is a full century, start early to beat the afternoon heat. The view from Hardscrabble Pass to the Sangre de Christo mountains is amazing, one of the best vistas in Colorado, lunch views in Westcliffe are fantastic.

    Day 3, Ride highway 115 back to Colorado Springs.


    You're welcome.
    Last edited by Shifty; 04-21-13 at 08:49 PM.
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  13. #13
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
    In June I would also recommend a three day ride based in Cannon City.

    Day 1, Ride highway 115 from Colorado Springs to Cannon City, get a room with a hot tub and swimming pool for two nights. You leave any spare overnight gear in the room for day two.

    Day 2, Ride east on 115 to Florence, then south on 67 to Wetmore. Turn right on 96 over Hardscrabble Pass to Westcliffe. Lunch here. From Westcliffe go north on 69 to Texas Creek. Right on highway 50 back to the room and hot tub in Cannon City. This is a full century, start early to beat the afternoon heat. The view from Hardscrabble Pass to the Sangre de Christo mountains is amazing, one of the best vistas in Colorado, lunch views in Westcliffe are fantastic.

    Day 3, Ride highway 115 back to Colorado Springs.


    You're welcome.
    Might work well.
    I have a day spare just after I arrive so could do an out and back to Cripple Creek. Riding is a great cure for jetlag!

    Thanks for all the great ideas everyone!

  14. #14
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Here is the view looking west from Hardscrabble Pass http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Fi...abble_Pass.JPG
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Any reason not to stay in Florence?

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Any reason not to stay in Florence?
    No but accommodations are limited. There are only 2 hotels and a bed and breakfast in town. Canon City has more options. They aren't necessarily better options but there are more of them.
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    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Any reason not to stay in Florence?
    Also more cafes, restaurants and stores. Not much of these in Florence.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

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    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Timed this well haven't I?

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    Ugh. Yeah, the air must be horrible around there, and the roads congested with fire equipment. The air is good here in Boulder, but the west side of RMNP has a fire too, not sure if Trail Ridge is affected. Can you get up to Summit County? It's so hot right now, you probably want to stay high.
    ...

  20. #20
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    By the way, last year I had to completely re-route a Washington/Oregon tour because my route was on fire.
    ...

  21. #21
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Great day today.
    Picked up the bike (carbon BMC road racer!) and headed for the hills. Slow steady climb up to woodland springs, with a short stop to fix a flat. More climbing to Divide where I stopped for what you Americans call coffee, a sub for lunch and a powerade for the bottles.
    Despite having Cyccommutes map loaded I missed a turn and had to back track a km. Jetlag.
    Actually I got lost earlier in town too. Twice.

    Soon after a storm passed and for about 10 minutes there was hail. 37C my ass. Quite unprepared for that, luckily it blew through quickly.

    The downhill was great after spending so long climbing but the climb back through Cripple Creek wore me down. There were a few idiots in cars around, it was starting to rain again, there was lightning nearby. The climb after cripple creek beat me and I had to stop for a breather and a gel. This did the trick and by the top of the hill (3100m) I was enjoying it again. The downhill run after that was brilliant, the sun was out and the road in great condition.

    More Mexican-chocolate coffee in Divide and then probably the longest downhill I've ever done. Even after that rest I was completely exhausted and slowly made my way back through town.
    170 km in 10 hrs.

    More next week.

  22. #22
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    285 is not a nice road to bike on.

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    Great day today.
    Picked up the bike (carbon BMC road racer!) and headed for the hills. Slow steady climb up to woodland springs, with a short stop to fix a flat. More climbing to Divide where I stopped for what you Americans call coffee, a sub for lunch and a powerade for the bottles.
    Despite having Cyccommutes map loaded I missed a turn and had to back track a km. Jetlag.
    Actually I got lost earlier in town too. Twice.

    Soon after a storm passed and for about 10 minutes there was hail. 37C my ass. Quite unprepared for that, luckily it blew through quickly.

    The downhill was great after spending so long climbing but the climb back through Cripple Creek wore me down. There were a few idiots in cars around, it was starting to rain again, there was lightning nearby. The climb after cripple creek beat me and I had to stop for a breather and a gel. This did the trick and by the top of the hill (3100m) I was enjoying it again. The downhill run after that was brilliant, the sun was out and the road in great condition.

    More Mexican-chocolate coffee in Divide and then probably the longest downhill I've ever done. Even after that rest I was completely exhausted and slowly made my way back through town.
    170 km in 10 hrs.

    More next week.
    Ah, Colorado. The high temperature for the day usually tells you nothing about the weather. It's just a number. As you've seen the temperature fluctuates greatly around here and it does so more at altitude than lower down. Frankly, I don't go for a ride in the mountains without planning on a 10 to 15 degree temperature fluctuation. But it does pass quickly and water doesn't stick around for long.

    Was your downhill on US24 back to the Springs? That really is a great downhill. Nice and steep except for a little section near Green Mountain Falls where it levels out a tiny bit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Ah, Colorado. The high temperature for the day usually tells you nothing about the weather. It's just a number. As you've seen the temperature fluctuates greatly around here and it does so more at altitude than lower down. Frankly, I don't go for a ride in the mountains without planning on a 10 to 15 degree temperature fluctuation. But it does pass quickly and water doesn't stick around for long.

    Was your downhill on US24 back to the Springs? That really is a great downhill. Nice and steep except for a little section near Green Mountain Falls where it levels out a tiny bit.
    In simplistic terms it can fluctuate a degree a minute, drop 20 degrees in 20 minutes. As soon as the sun goes down then it really drops. highest I have seen overnight minimum is 41 this year, when we arm up could go to 50F.

  25. #25
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Great trip.
    did CS - Divide - Florence on Friday. Suffered a little, probably shouldn't have been out drinking all night. Didn't enjoy the highway 50 traffic but the rest was fantastic.
    Saturday I did an out and back to Silvercliff instead of a loop, due to fires. Hardscrabble pass was stunning. Great burger in Silvercliff.
    Tailwind back to CS yesterday. Smash burger and Front Ranger.

    Now back to the winter.

    Thanks guys!

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