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Old 04-27-12, 11:02 AM   #1
staehpj1 
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Colorado Rockies

It looks like I might be doing the Colorado Rockies this Summer. These things are never etched in stone for me until I buy a ticket though I passed through there on the Trans America in 2007 and want to see a bit more of the area.
A few things I want to see while there:
  1. Mount Elbert - Colorado Highpoint (hike).
  2. Mount Evans Scenic Byway - Highest paved road in North America.
  3. Mosquito Pass between Leadville and Fairplay, Colorado - Highest unpaved through road in the USA. Maybe rent a mountain bike there and possbly a shuttle. Maybe just walk almost all of it.
  4. USA Pro Cycling Challenge - I hope to see the pro tour at some point on the trip. The stages include:
    1. Durango to Telluride - August 20
    2. Montrose to Crested Butte - August 21
    3. Gunnison to Aspen - August 22
    4. Aspen to Beaver Creek - August 23
    5. Breckenridge to Colorado Springs - August 24
    6. Golden to Boulder - August 25
    7. Denver (time trial) - August 26

Usually I ride most of the day every day on my tours, but I am open to more hiking and other diversions for this trip. I'd even consider some overnight backpacking.

I am likely to have 3 weeks ending right after the Pro Cycling Challenge and would like to possibly see a couple stages before flying home from Denver. So I am think that I will fly into and out of Denver.

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Old 04-27-12, 03:39 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
  1. Mosquito Pass between Leadville and Fairplay, Colorado - Highest unpaved through road in the USA.

Looks like some fun places to visit. Note that you might need an additional qualifier or two than "highest unpaved road" for Mosquito Pass. For example, this mountain biking site has at least a trail listed slightly higher: http://cyclepass.com/t_tpa_co_MTB_alt.html and you need to exclude roads that go only one-way. For example, I remember an unpaved road most all the way up Mount Bross: http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/Mount_Bross

In any case, you'll find a bunch of interesting roads and trails in the Colorado Rockies for both paved and unpaved cycling.
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Old 04-27-12, 04:41 PM   #3
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[/LIST]
Looks like some fun places to visit. Note that you might need an additional qualifier or two than "highest unpaved road" for Mosquito Pass. For example, this mountain biking site has at least a trail listed slightly higher: http://cyclepass.com/t_tpa_co_MTB_alt.html and you need to exclude roads that go only one-way. For example, I remember an unpaved road most all the way up Mount Bross: http://www.dirtopia.com/wiki/Mount_Bross

In any case, you'll find a bunch of interesting roads and trails in the Colorado Rockies for both paved and unpaved cycling.
Mt Bross (Actually Mt Bross, Mt Lincoln and Mt Democrat) are within spittin' distance of Mosquito Pass and the roads to both start within about 100 yards of each other. Unfortunately, you can't get from one to the other at the summits. The roads to both also just happen to be right off the Transam trail. If you want to rent a mountain bike, however, you'll have to do it in Leadville or over Hoosier Pass in Summit County.
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Old 04-27-12, 04:43 PM   #4
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Here's a suggestion if you want one:

(link)

Probably too ambitious for 3 weeks, hard but do-able in 4, if you include the hiking and peak-bagging stuff you want to do. I bet if you find yourself in the Frisco area during the Pro Tour and you're a couple days behind schedule, you won't have to try very hard to get a ride back to the Front Range.

August is a great time to tour CO - no bugs, good weather.
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Old 04-27-12, 10:16 PM   #5
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The golden rule for riding in the mountains is: Start early, as early as you can. Finish doing what you are doing by mid-afternoon. Storms build in the afternoon bringing rain, hail and lightening, quite unpleasant.

Mosquito Pass....meh, there are lots nicer rides in that area. Ride from Leadville to Turquoise Lake, then to Hagerman Pass. At the pass if you have energy and time ride on to Hell Gate, then back the way you came.

A nice variation on the Mt Elbert climb is to climb it from the west side from Halfmoon Creek. Take the Halfmoon Creek road about 3 miles past Halfmoon Campground then turn left at the fork, going up south Halfmoon Creek road. You'll see a rocky moraine drainage, this is the place to start up the mountain.
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Old 04-28-12, 08:55 AM   #6
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Thanks for the comments. I am kind of torn on how much I want to plan vs just winging it. I'll probably plan and then wing it any way I am also kind of torn on how much I want to ride and how much I want to hike and peak bag.

Shifty, your golden rule works for me since I usually do that any way.

BTW, how cold do I need to be prepared for. I am assuming my regular gear is adequate. With my lightest gear list I was OK at 18F (overnight low) on my last tour. I had another layer of warm clothes, hat, gloves, and a vapor barrier in reserve. According to the locals it was probably a little colder, but 18 was what I read on my bike computer in the morning.
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Old 04-28-12, 08:58 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
Here's a suggestion if you want one:

(link)

Probably too ambitious for 3 weeks, hard but do-able in 4, if you include the hiking and peak-bagging stuff you want to do. I bet if you find yourself in the Frisco area during the Pro Tour and you're a couple days behind schedule, you won't have to try very hard to get a ride back to the Front Range.

August is a great time to tour CO - no bugs, good weather.
It looks like that could be shortened a number of places, so it is probably useful even it I go shorter.
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Old 04-28-12, 03:26 PM   #8
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Thanks for the comments. I am kind of torn on how much I want to plan vs just winging it. I'll probably plan and then wing it any way I am also kind of torn on how much I want to ride and how much I want to hike and peak bag.

Shifty, your golden rule works for me since I usually do that any way.

BTW, how cold do I need to be prepared for. I am assuming my regular gear is adequate. With my lightest gear list I was OK at 18F (overnight low) on my last tour. I had another layer of warm clothes, hat, gloves, and a vapor barrier in reserve. According to the locals it was probably a little colder, but 18 was what I read on my bike computer in the morning.
That should be fine, it's very unlikely to be that cold unless you sleep on top of a pass. Make sure you are prepared to ride downhill for 10 miles in freezing rain (worst case scenario, but it can happen).
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Old 04-28-12, 05:17 PM   #9
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I'm considering doing a shorter version of something similar around the tour. If you see a silver Honda motorcycle with a Cannondale Touring bike hanging off the back, flag me down and say hi
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Old 04-28-12, 10:56 PM   #10
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Since you live at or near sea level, it might be advisable to stay as low as you can for the early part of your ride. It would also help if you could acclimate for a few days somehow before climbing up into serious altitude.
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Old 04-29-12, 07:03 AM   #11
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I'm considering doing a shorter version of something similar around the tour. If you see a silver Honda motorcycle with a Cannondale Touring bike hanging off the back, flag me down and say hi
I'll keep my eyes open for you. I'll be the old guy on the lightly loaded old burgundy Cannondale Road Bike.

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Since you live at or near sea level, it might be advisable to stay as low as you can for the early part of your ride. It would also help if you could acclimate for a few days somehow before climbing up into serious altitude.
Yeah that is a concern of mine. I have generally done OK with altitude in the past, but a lot of this trip will be higher than I have been.
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Old 05-02-12, 05:21 AM   #12
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It is official. I bought a round trip ticket to Denver. Specific plans still nebulous, but the dates are etched in stone.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/GettingHigh
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Old 05-02-12, 06:24 AM   #13
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Yay!! I hope I get to meet you. Are you bringing a phone?
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Old 05-02-12, 06:39 AM   #14
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Yay!! I hope I get to meet you. Are you bringing a phone?
Yes. My phone is usually off though. I typically rely on text messaging a lot on tour. I will pm you contact info.
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Old 05-02-12, 04:35 PM   #15
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Thanks for the CG link. I'll be following your plans and that might just be the motivation I need to make the trip! I also owe valygrl copious amounts of ice cream so maybe that could happen as well!
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Old 05-02-12, 07:39 PM   #16
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Sweet!!!!
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