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  1. #1
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Colorado Dreamin'

    ...on such a Summer's Daaay!

    I left Colorado back in '93 (Jesus' trousers, 20 years have passed already?) and had a vivid dream last night about Hwy 50 (a beautiful road) somewhere between Gunnison and Monarch Pass. I woke up at 3:45 this morning with a larval plan and have been humming without the aid of caffeine since. So in July or August, I'm shipping my bicycle to Colorado, riding my motorcycle up there on the wondrous sillystring roads, and riding for 3-4 days in Southwestern CO. I was mightily tempted to go to Frisco by your other basecamp thread, but there's something about Highway 50 that is calling to me right now.

    Would this route be suicidal? Or would you recommend another?
    Or would Frisco be absolutely better in every way? (I'm fortunate, because I've got 8 days in CO, AND a motorcycle so I'll still be able to enjoy the 50 and Monarch Pass on two wheels regardless.)
    Maybe I should ship my bike to Montrose, stay in a hotel there, and ride around to Salida, Ouray, Silverton, and Durango?

    I know the stretch that I desperately need to see, but it's been 13 years since I've been back. Is there anything else in the region you consider a must-see?

    Also is it going to be blazing hot in late July?
    I heard there were recently fires in SoCol...how bad?

    Many thanks, and if anyone ever makes it down to Southern California, specifically Coastal San Diego County, I'd be glad to help with some route advice (and maybe pizza & pitchers) on top of the SoCal Route Repository.

    Peace & safe riding this summer!

  2. #2
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    Hwy 50 is one of my less favorite roads to ride, since there is so much traffic and the scenery is less dramatic than in some other areas. If you insist on 50, you could head north from Gunnison up to Crested Butte, and then over Cottonwood Pass (dirt, but ok for road bike) and down the other side to Buena Vista.

    I can't tell from your post if you are day-riding or credit card touring, which will affect the planning.

    Right now, Wolf Creek Pass and the South Fork / Creede area are on fire, otherwise I would suggest to you my very favorite loop, Gunnison - Lake City - Creed - South Fork - Pagosa -Springs - Durango - Montrose - Gunnison. You get a little of the best parts of 50, and a lot of other stuff that is truly spectacular.

    This may or may not be an option in July/August, you'll have to check the fire situation. RIght now it is huge and 0% contained. By then, who knows what else might be on fire.

    Summit County, the Copper Triangle route, Trail Ridge Road, the loop above, the Grand Loop (in the other thread), the Death Ride (Durango, Telluride, Cortez), Grand Mesa, Hwy 92 north of Blue Mesa, Independence Pass.... there are many other options that are better and with less traffic. 50 is not "suicide" but there are a ton of options that are nicer.

    You could also take a look at the USA Pro Challenge thread, in August you could follow the race and do a bunch of great riding.

    In July & August it will be blazing hot at the lower elevations (Denver, Durango, Pagosa, Grand Junction, all around 5000'-6000') but the high country (Summit county is high) is good.

    Can you carry your bike on your motorcycle? I've seen that - pretty cool.
    ...

  3. #3
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Wow. Can't believe Yahoo news is featuring Miley's Underpants, Paula Dean being fired by some restaurant, and some stupid wedding photo story over this actual news.
    Thank you for the tips, but as I said, my heart isn't set on pedaling the 50, when I can ride my motorcycle on that part to get to the more bicycle-friendly roads you recommend. I'd like to do some riding over 10,000 feet if possible. (And yep, I know about the altitude effects. )
    No bike mounted on my motorcycle, but my next bike will be a BMW like Nate Loyal's so I can do exactly that. I just have to wear out one of my current Kawasakis first, to make room in the garage.

    For this trip, I'll be boxing up and UPSing one of my bikes to your lovely state ahead of time.
    I'm thinking rainy thoughts for you good mountain people right now. Good luck.


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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Summit County, the Copper Triangle route, Trail Ridge Road, the loop above, the Grand Loop (in the other thread), the Death Ride (Durango, Telluride, Cortez), Grand Mesa, Hwy 92 north of Blue Mesa, Independence Pass.... there are many other options that are better and with less traffic. 50 is not "suicide" but there are a ton of options that are nicer.
    9 weeks to go before I am over for my three week tour - glad I have quite a few of your recommendations in my schedule.

    Drive to Grand Junction from Bishop

    -Grand Mesa over and back
    -Independence pass over and back
    -Copper Triangle
    -Trail Ridge rd over and back
    -Mt Evans from Idaho Springs (gate will be closed but hoping to still be able to summit)
    -Pikes Peak
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  5. #5
    Senior Member robabeatle's Avatar
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    Go to Summit County.

    Love the jersey.

  6. #6
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    Hwy 50 is one of my less favorite roads to ride, since there is so much traffic and the scenery is less dramatic than in some other areas. If you insist on 50, you could head north from Gunnison up to Crested Butte, and then over Cottonwood Pass (dirt, but ok for road bike) and down the other side to Buena Vista.

    I can't tell from your post if you are day-riding or credit card touring, which will affect the planning.

    Right now, Wolf Creek Pass and the South Fork / Creede area are on fire, otherwise I would suggest to you my very favorite loop, Gunnison - Lake City - Creed - South Fork - Pagosa -Springs - Durango - Montrose - Gunnison. You get a little of the best parts of 50, and a lot of other stuff that is truly spectacular.

    This may or may not be an option in July/August, you'll have to check the fire situation. RIght now it is huge and 0% contained. By then, who knows what else might be on fire.

    Summit County, the Copper Triangle route, Trail Ridge Road, the loop above, the Grand Loop (in the other thread), the Death Ride (Durango, Telluride, Cortez), Grand Mesa, Hwy 92 north of Blue Mesa, Independence Pass.... there are many other options that are better and with less traffic. 50 is not "suicide" but there are a ton of options that are nicer.



    In July & August it will be blazing hot at the lower elevations (Denver, Durango, Pagosa, Grand Junction, all around 5000'-6000') but the high country (Summit county is high) is good.
    What's the latest on those fires? Seems like it's not really on the headlines of Colorado papers, and they're not updating the maps. (...good sign?)

    I'm not looking to do any credit card touring. I'd like to UPS my bike case to a hotel with great 30-80 mile dayrides in all directions. Montrose? Gunnison? Telluride? Frisco?
    A few bullet points:
    ~Prefer paved roads
    ~Prefer higher elevations
    ~Nicer hotel with laundry service that will let me UPS them my bikecase (been saving for this trip, so money is almost no object.)
    ~Better, non-franchise restaurants

  7. #7
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    Here's a fire link: http://inciweb.org/incident/3436/

    Frisco area, or you could stay in Breckenridge, though that makes the Copper Triangle ride really long.
    Rides:
    Copper Triangle route
    Up and over Loveland Pass, down the other side, back the same way. 12,000' pass
    Up and back over Hoosier Pass (passing Breckenridge)
    Ute Pass

    For an easier day, just ride around Lake Dillon on bike paths and Swan Mountain road, with a spur out to Breckenridge for lunch or something like that.

    If you can drive with your bike, you could also spend a couple of days in Aspen - ride Independence Pass, Maroon Bells.

    So Montrose is pretty low and hot, and not very scenic. Telluride is very scenic, but there are only 2 roads. Gunnison is not that scenic, although Crested Butte is really scenic, but the rides are limited, and the best ones (cottonwood pass, kebler pass) are dirt. Durango is awesome but pretty hot, and there are fewer options.
    ...

  8. #8
    mje
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    Montrose: elevation 5800'
    Telluride: 1 paved road, limited routes within 30-80 miles roundtrip
    Gunnison: The 'nicer hotels' are up the road in Crested Butte, which gets you pretty isolated at the end of the paved road.
    Frisco: The 'nicer hotels' are up the road in Breckenridge, not so isolated

  9. #9
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    Montrose: elevation 5800'
    Telluride: 1 paved road, limited routes within 30-80 miles roundtrip
    Gunnison: The 'nicer hotels' are up the road in Crested Butte, which gets you pretty isolated at the end of the paved road.
    Frisco: The 'nicer hotels' are up the road in Breckenridge, not so isolated
    Not high-end, but very nice - the Comfort Inn in Gunnison. Ride to Crested Butte, Lake City, perhaps?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  10. #10
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Many thanks kindly Mountainfolk!

    Except I'm sad because I have to be heading back home on August 3rd, the day of the Copper Triangle.

    What are the possibilities of staying in Frisco or Copper Mountain, and riding the Copper Triangle route unsupported the week before? Is this (click) pretty much the route? I've finished in the top 10% of the l'Etape du California fields over the last 3 years, so hopefully my reasonable fitness will help offset my sea-level acclimation. If so, your other recommended roads around Frisco, Breckinridge, etc sound mighty tasty.

    Anybody have any favorite hotels around Frisco/Breckinridge, or do you guys pretty much treat the area as a day-ride, and drive back home at night?Doesn't HAVE to be high-end hotels (no wife or gf along to worry about), but I haven't been on a real vacation in 5 years and have some dosh saved. (Also the trip is to celebrate paying off my mortgage.)

    Also heard a rumor that the road up Pikes Peak is now paved. Is that true?

  11. #11
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Ouchymama! It's true!

    Any word on if they permit cyclists on it this time of year? I might UPS my bike from Frisco to Woodland Park.
    I used to climb Barr Trail every weekend in the Summer, and only saw the road twice when the snow was too bad to hike back down the mountain.

  12. #12
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Omfg!!

    Has anyone ridden up the new asphalt on Pikes yet? Why wasn't I notified?!
    Last edited by calamarichris; 07-16-13 at 04:42 PM.

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    I love how excited you are! .

    Copper triangle is very easy to self support, there are supply points at all corners of the triangle and all along the vail to minturn area. Bring two waterbottles and a bunch of snacks, at least, for the stretch from minturn to leadville which is pretty long, sometimes there is a water tank out for cyclists at a little lodge north of the main tenessee pass climb.

    I like to do it counterclockwise, copper, vail, minturn, Leadville, copper. You can do it from Frisco for 100 miles, using a very cool bike path out the west end of frisco to get to copper. Start early, the main hazard is afternoon thunderstorms. Bring a jacket even if the weather looks perfect.

    Pike peak is open to cyclists now. I havent done it yet. There's a race up it next weekend.

    I've only stayed in mediocre hotels in frisco, there are probably some ok ones, the nicest ones will be in Breckenridge or maybe the resort at keystone or copper is open. Personally I would prioritize ride start location over hotel niceness, if you can't transport your bike on your motorcycle. Frisco or silverthorne would be better locations to ride from than Breckinridge. copper resort would be ok too. Breckinridge is the cutest town. Silverthorne is new America, with an outlet mall, yuck but convenient. Frisco is cute and slightly seedy. That would be my choice, it has some character. its on the lake, too, for afternoon walks. Best pastry in Colorado is at The Butterhorn on main street frisco.
    ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
    Ouchymama! It's true!

    Any word on if they permit cyclists on it this time of year? I might UPS my bike from Frisco to Woodland Park.
    I used to climb Barr Trail every weekend in the Summer, and only saw the road twice when the snow was too bad to hike back down the mountain.
    After a successful trial last September, bikes are allowed now year round on Pikes Peak!

    On my list for this September.

    http://www.pikespeaksports.us/group/...ing-jan-1-2013

    For a good collection of rides - if I was basing myself in the one town I would look at Grand Junction for a mix of rides http://tomorrowhillfarm.com/JohnHodgebicycleMaps.html

    Might be still warm though when you are looking? I will only ride one day here - riding over and back Grand Mesa ride...
    Last edited by Dalai; 07-16-13 at 08:02 PM.
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I like to do it counterclockwise, copper, vail, minturn, Leadville, copper.
    You have suggested a few times to do the Copper triangle in reverse to the actual ride. May I ask why do you prefer this direction as I was just going to ride this clockwise from the hostel in Leadville (thanks for the recommendation for this too)
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

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    mje
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
    You have suggested a few times to do the Copper triangle in reverse to the actual ride. May I ask why do you prefer this direction as I was just going to ride this clockwise from the hostel in Leadville (thanks for the recommendation for this too)
    I don't know VG's reasons, but one reason is that the bike path on the west side of Vail pass is freshly repaved, but on the east side it is now very rough with big bumps and cracks so that descending the east side is much less safe.

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    Because if you start at copper and ride clockwise, you do vail pass eastbound last, and it's about 25 miles of continuous climbing, with a lot of it rather steep, at the end of the day when you are already tired.

    If you go the other way, the last climb is Fremont, which is easier, less steep and shorter. Also, there's often tail wind climbing Tennessee pass, so you get a long stretch of gentle climbing with tailwind, instead of a long stretch of gentle descending with a headwind.

    Essentially, it's just easier counterclockwise. I've done it both ways. Next time I want to go the hard way. But
    I can never get my friends to agree.
    ...

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    Thanks to you both for explanations. I'll be starting from Leadville as that is where I will be staying a couple of nights. I will decide which direction closer to when I am there.
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  19. #19
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mje View Post
    I don't know VG's reasons, but one reason is that the bike path on the west side of Vail pass is freshly repaved, but on the east side it is now very rough with big bumps and cracks so that descending the east side is much less safe.
    Warning - the paint they used on the Vail side of the pass gets very slippery when wet I have heard of a large numbers of accidents Also note they have just started resurfacing the wooden bridge closest to vail pass on copper side you have to get off bike and scramble . Pushing a bike i'd rather scramble uphill than downhill

  20. #20
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I love how excited you are! .

    Pike peak is open to cyclists now. I haven't done it yet. There's a race up it next weekend.

    I've only stayed in mediocre hotels in frisco, there are probably some ok ones, the nicest ones will be in Breckenridge or maybe the resort at keystone or copper is open. Personally I would prioritize ride start location over hotel niceness, if you can't transport your bike on your motorcycle. Frisco or silverthorne would be better locations to ride from than Breckinridge. copper resort would be ok too. Breckinridge is the cutest town. Silverthorne is new America, with an outlet mall, yuck but convenient. Frisco is cute and slightly seedy. That would be my choice, it has some character. its on the lake, too, for afternoon walks. Best pastry in Colorado is at The Butterhorn on main street frisco.
    Thank you thank you thank you for the guidance Valygrl! Not so much excited as frantic. I'm leaving next Thursday, the 25th, and I'm going to need powerful sedatives to get any sleep between now and then.

    I can transport my bicycle 10-20 miles on my shoulder while motorcycling with no problem. Maybe 30 if I can stop and switch shoulders. Breckinridge is starting to sound like the better option, because I'll need to find a UPS or FedEx pick-up point, so I can send my bike to some town near the base of Pikes. I can't believe it's paved! And it looks like there are a few straight sections. I've hit 58 plenty of times around on these little California molehills, but maybe Pikes will be straight, steep & smooth enough to finally get me over 60?


  21. #21
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
    After a successful trial last September, bikes are allowed now year round on Pikes Peak!
    Big hitter, the Lama...



    Thanks, your Holiness! And thanks all you awesome Colorado riders for riding politely and making that trial run up Pikes Peak a success!
    Seems like so many of the riders here in California insist on rudeness, and "take-a-lane". Me, I prefer to ride frap and make life easier for motorists--and the vast majority of them appear to appreciate this, because I usually hear the reassuring rumble-rumble of their tires going on the bot's dots when they swing wide around me.

    I'm so pumped about this trip, I can barely think about anything else. There are so many memory-pics that have recurred in my dreams, and it's been more than 20 years since I've seen them.

    I rode up Mount Evans back in '01


    And proposed to my now ex-wife after hiking up the Barr Trail, atop Pikes Peak back in '99.


    But I was with other people on those two trips, and thwarted from getting to the places I've been dreaming about seeing again like Monarch Pass, the Ouray hot springs pool, downtown Durango, the park with the mineral water fountain in Manitou Springs and also the little Mexican restaurant where I used wait tables. Some of those roads, those scenes and places, they're like my dearest friends.
    Last edited by calamarichris; 07-17-13 at 02:01 PM.

  22. #22
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Anyone know of any must-sees in Southern Utah along the way? This is the motorcycle route I'm planning (clicky.)
    I've made the trip numerous times on the interstate, and down through Four Corners/Mexican Hat/Monument Valley, so this route is less familiar. I might have taken it once or twice back when I was a kid living in CO.
    Is Arches National Park worth a look? Or is it pretty hot there? Is the time better spent in Colorado's lush, idyllic mountainscapes, instead of the background of the Road Runner cartoons?

    I'm going to be rocking my bright yeller crash-suit, so

    lock up ya daughter, lock up yer wife, lock up yer back door and run for ya life!


    Anticipation List (spontaneous order):
    ~Ride up Pikes Peak, finally break 60mph on way back down.
    ~Ouray hotsprings
    ~Million Dollar Hwy (motorcycle)
    ~Hwy 50 from Montrose to Salida (the original memory that kicked off this dream trip)
    ~Have a cold beer in the grass in the shade of those cottonwood trees next to the river in downtown Salida, and see if Alice's Restaurant is still there.
    ~Taste that crazy mineral water in the fountain at the park in Manitou Springs at the base of Pikes
    ~Ride the Copper Triangle counterclockwise and unsupported; fart around Breck, Frisco area, eat in the hippy restaurants & markets, and cruise for braless free-spirits in birkinstocks.

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    Photos and write up of the rides required!

    I am exactly 6 weeks from flying to the States for my three weeks riding, so keen on a preview...
    http://climbinglama.blogspot.com.au

  24. #24
    cycling for 50 plus yrs colorado dale's Avatar
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    There is a fedex pick up/drop off in Dillon in same plaza as City Market The Snowshoe Motel in Frisco is a AAA 2 star nothing fancy but clean. its on main street so its walking distance to bars /restaurants Riding around Frisco can get confusing but there is a free summit county biking guide you can pick up at any Summit LBS There are evening free concert in Frisco 5:30 every Thursday, Dillon 7pm every Friday and Saturday

  25. #25
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalai View Post
    Photos and write up of the rides required!

    I am exactly 6 weeks from flying to the States for my three weeks riding, so keen on a preview...
    Will do, your Holiness. Here's an example from a weekend trip from a two-day CC trip I did back in June.

    And thanks Dale. It's looking like I'll just stay in Breck, since they have a UPS Store there, and I don't mind adding a few miles to my Copper Triangle day. I'll keep an eye out for that concert!
    Last edited by calamarichris; 07-18-13 at 09:33 AM.

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