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Looking for Details/History on Morgul Bismark Race Course Near Boulder, CO

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Looking for Details/History on Morgul Bismark Race Course Near Boulder, CO

Old 01-21-06, 09:15 AM
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Looking for Details/History on Morgul Bismark Race Course Near Boulder, CO

I’ve been in sort of a reminiscent mood lately, so I watched the film “American Flyers” which I use to watch all the time as I trained indoors on the road bike. The movie depicts 3 courses of the Coors Classic or “Hell of the West” in movie lingo. As I watched the film I started trying to figure out the course they used for the Morgul Bismark race course that featured the “Wall.” This is the route I’ve come up with and I’d appreciate it if anyone could correct my guess or assure me if I’m correct.

Morgul Bismark Race Course Near Boulder, CO (Coors Classic):
West on Hwy 128
North on Hwy 93
East on Hwy 170 a.k.a Marshall Rd.
South on McCaslin Blvd.
Reconnects to Hwy 128 via “The Wall”

1) Is this correct?
2) Did it take any side roads through Superior?
3) Where was the start/finish line?
4) During the Coors Classic, How many laps did the pros have to do of this course?
5) Is there a website that list the results of the course, specifically for the Coors Classic?

I've gotten some good feedback on the course from other forum boards, but I'm still looking for questions 3,4 and 5, any ideas? I've looked around the web for details specific to the Coors Classic, but I often forget that the race ended before Internet really started...

Any help/links would be appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 01-21-06, 12:07 PM
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I was there to spectate the 1983 Coors, aka. Davis Phinney & Co. I believe that that was when they shot some of the footage for the movie also. I was living in Michigan at the time, so I took 2 full weeks off, stayed with relatives in Aurora, and made it to a number of the stages. Morgul start/finish was at the top of the Wall just as shown in the movie. The Wall is one steep (*&^$#%^$#!@# pitch, made worse by the high temps that year, plus no shade to be had anywhere around.

I looked at mapquest and the route you list looks roughly correct to me, but I don't remember it going through any town - just out in the country, IIRC. But there would be no mistaking the Wall for anything else. I could ride it still in my mind. Don't recall the # of laps, but I did have one unforgettable experience. I was riding the course in the reverse direction (counter-clockwise) prior to the start, planning to get to the start line to watch the men's send off. I was a bit late and was still maybe 1/2 mile away. I looked up suddenly to see the lead motorcycles heading my way in the opposite lane, and the huge field hammering behind them which began to spread out like a swarm of locusts covering the whole road from shoulder to shoulder. I had to ride into the ditch & out into a field to avoid getting run over! Man, what a rush!

Plenty of crashes as they made the right turn off the long downhill on highway 93 onto Marshall road. Mmmmmm - shredded wool... That was the lowest elevation point of the course IIRC.


Thanks for the flashback!

edit: I have information on that year's race buried somewhere around here. When I have some time, I'll try to find it. What I do recall is that Davis was basically duking it out for the lead with some racer from S. America as the series went on.

Both crashed into each other in the Boulder Park crit - the S. American guy broke his frame but got one from a team mate. Davis injured his arm pretty badly and finished the race basically using just one arm and won it - amazing. His podium appearance was delayed while they patched him up.

Last edited by Slice2; 01-21-06 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 01-21-06, 12:43 PM
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Shoot an email to WheatRidge Cyclery. It's owned by Ron Keifel (former 7-Eleven racer). He'll give you all the info you could want. He's a great guy!
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Old 01-21-06, 01:06 PM
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You mean the Morgul-Bismarck time trial course around Superior. Yep, that's the route alright. It was named after the original promoter's cat and dog.

1,100 ft of climbing averaging 5% in 7miles. Some of the nicknames along the course are the infamous hump, wall and the feed hill. None of the terrain is really that noteable for an avarage road rider. As a time trial course, it's pretty gnarly.

I used to live in Superior.

Here'e the finish with the "Cannibal" in '85.


Last edited by telenick; 01-21-06 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 01-21-06, 01:13 PM
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I think the original start is the 93/170 intersection, going east on marshall.
The mens pros did 8 laps, women did 4.
I don't have any results on me though, will look.
Now, during the excel stage race, they just do from the gas station at the 170/McCaslin intersection, to the 128/93 intersection as an ITT. 93 is real busy with no shoulder.
It's a great ride, although wind can make it really hard sometimes (ie some climbs and descents same the same...)
You wouldn't happen to know where to find American Flyers for a reasonable price would you? I'd like to see it.
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Old 01-21-06, 01:26 PM
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I came across my copy (DVD) in the bargain bin @ Best Buy - $5-6.

For you Coloradans, is the penulitmate race in that movie basically the Tour of the Moon near Grand Junction? (I didn't make it to that one) Great scenery!

telenick - maybe the avg. grade for one lap is 5%, but I'd like to know what it is specifically on the Wall. The feed hill was just a roller on Hwy 128, IIRC. Where was the Hump?
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Old 01-21-06, 01:41 PM
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From https://www.ucar.edu/eac/bike/steep.html
Originally Posted by Burt and Terry Struthers
Modified Morgul-Bismarck - from Marshall Road (Colo. 170) to south on McCaslin Blvd to west on Airport Rd (Colo. 128). On McCaslin, The Hump is 8% grade, The Wall is 12%, and a section on Colo. 128 is 6.5% - each shorter than a mile. Due to high traffic on Colo. 93, don't complete the loop but retrace your route the way you came.
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Old 01-22-06, 09:41 AM
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Thanks to everyone so far that has responded. It is awesome to chat with some people that don't mind taking some time to chat about the old days...

Thanks for confirming my course. It makes sense that you wouldn't remember that it went through any towns, Slice2. Part of the information I got from another board was that Superior has just recently - last several years - Add a shopping paviolion right on the intersection of Marshall Rd and McCaslin Blvd. Back during the race they would have connected from Marshal to McCaslin at a 90 deg. angle. Now there is a slight s-turn in the road because of the shopping center.

"Tour of the Moon" does have incredible scenery! I used to ride it a lot back when I lived in Grand Junction. I actually have that course mapped with my gps, which is what I'm trying to do with the Morgul Bismark course. I'd be glad to supply %grade information once I ride and record the course with my GPS.

Along with tracking the GPS route I'm really trying to get some history on the course. If you have an old racing packet that depicts race courses for each of the stages and race/result information I'd love to look at it. I'd gladly pay for photo copies and shipping.

In addition I'd like to know where the "hump" and the "feed hill" would have been located.

Talking to Ron Keifel is a great idea. Hadn't' thought about it. I'll have to go down to his shop soon.

Telenick - Time Trial Course? Was it a time trial course during the days of the "Zinger" and then a road race during the "Coor Classic?"

Thanks again for your responses.
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Old 07-20-07, 04:45 PM
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The Devastating Morgul Bismark

Hello,

I was a mechanic for the Buccaneer Womens Cycling team at the Coors Classic in 1985 and for the Norwegian Womens National Cycling team in 1986 for both the Coors Classic and World Championships in Colorado Springs. I lived in Boulder for 2 year and rode the Morgul Bismark course many times. The first year that the course was used was in 1976 for the Red Zinger Classic which was the race which later became the Coors Classic. The first 2 years of the Red Zinger the race to my knowledge was promoted by Mo Siegel himself for the last years of the Red Zinger he hired an outside promoter as he no longer had the time to run the race, it had gotten too big. In 1980 when the race became the Coors Classic it was promoted by Micheal Aisner. Oh but back to the Morgul. The course was named after some one either the promoter or a racer friend who had a cat and a dog respectively named Morgul and Bismark. If I remember correctly the person lived close to the course and the animals would play on part of the course. Though I could be wrong on this. Wikipedia wrongly states that the dog and cat were owned by race promoter Lynn Pettyjohn, again to my knowledge the guys name was Len Pettyjohn and he ran the Denver Spoke cycling team and was also part owner in the Denver Spoke at one time.

The course you have outlined is correct. The Starting line for the course was on Highway 128 right where in intersected with McCaslin Blvd. The course followed 128 and the feed hill the first rise on 128 after the start the course does a dip then a rise. The are a few of them and the first is the largest rise. Then you would turn right on highway 93 there was a ripping descent then you would turn on highway 170 which became Marshall road. This took you west and turned to where you were paralleling the Boulder Denver turnpike. Then you would take another right turn on McCaslin Blvd there used to be a stop light there now there is a strip mall this was the town of Superior. It was a lot smaller back in the day. Shortly after you made the right turn you climbed the Hump on a good day with a good group in a race you could big ring this hill. Then the course descended into like a little valley. From a long ways off you could see the wall. The base of the climb for the wall was not too bad just a little tick up. Twards the top it was brutal. The finish line was on the wall about 30-50 meter from when it meets highway 128.

In the Coors Classic the men did 8 laps and the women did 4 or 5. They also ran regular USCF road races on the Morgul Bismark, I did those a number of times. In 1986 when the US hosted UCI World Cycling Championships the Morgul was the original course that was going to be used. Then when the cyclists in Colorado were just plain jerks that year the Colorado State Police refused to grant permits or close the road and the World Championsips moved to the Air Force Academy course which had been used for a number of years as the Colorado State road championships course.

I hope that this might have cleared some stuff up. If you have questions please feel free to contact me.

George Tapley
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Old 02-11-09, 03:37 PM
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Minor thread hijack here - I'm looking for the Niwot Time Trial route in the 1986 Coors Classic. Someone posted to youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CPfA25cwD0 but I don't know the exact route. Many thanks.

m
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