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Cycling Vacation - Colorado

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Cycling Vacation - Colorado

Old 08-11-08, 11:31 AM
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Cycling Vacation - Colorado

My wife and I are looking for some recommendations for a good 4 day cycling vacation preferably in Colorado. Any vacation package ideas would be awesome as well.
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Old 08-11-08, 11:36 AM
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No first hand info but I was just starting to plan a vacation out to Colorado next summer to do some hill riding. I bought 2 books on Amazon - something like Cycling Colorado's Passes, Road Biking Colorado. Good books. I might stay somewhere in the general vacinity of Vail and ride some of the passes in that area. I have toyed with Ride The Rockies or the Tour Of Colorado but June isn't a good month for me.
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Old 08-11-08, 11:52 AM
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Which part of the state?
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Old 08-11-08, 12:19 PM
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I'm watching this thread... I too would like to learn more about the area. Every year a group of us head from the Toronto area to New Hampshire to do some of the hills there. I'd love to take it to the next level and do some bigger ones in Colorado.

Anyone have any experience riding in both NH and CO to compare the two?
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Old 08-11-08, 12:25 PM
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I can be of service to you..... feel free to send me an email...if you are looking to do road and mountain, Durango is the bomb. I prefer cycling on the western slope to the front range, so i might be a bit biased.
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Old 08-11-08, 12:37 PM
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I wouldn't mind the Steamboat area. I'm still trying to decide if we should do one of these packages that includes food, guide and stay, but I think it would make more sence to find a nice resort and just ride some of the nice roads in the area. Most of the packages are around 1500 to 2 grand per person.
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Old 08-11-08, 12:38 PM
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I go every year. I stay with friends in Denver. Lots of cool riding around Denver/Boulder. I'd check out the Lookout Mountain climb on the first day just to get acclimated. Squaw pass is only a few miles out of town on the freeway - climbs to 11k and then some. Then you can bomb down the backside into the little town then climb over it again. Other good rides in the Denver area are the Lefthand Canyon climb outside Boulder, the Platte River trail (flat bike path) around to Morrison.

You can drive out to Frisco or Breck and ride over Vail pass into Vail, have lunch, then climb over it again to get back, or stay the night in Vail.

A little further out is Aspen and the climb up Independence Pass, and if you want to make a long, hard day of it, Aspen-Leadville-Aspen.

What I suggest is to get a place in Denver metro, then ride out to Golden and just meet up with some locals. They're friendly and will be happy to tell you where to go for whatever kind of riding you want to do. Check out Wheat Ridge Cyclery on 38th ave. They can help, too.

I'm not sure what time of year these higher passes are closed. I usually go in July, so all the high roads are open.

I'm actually trying to put together a group cycling trip to CO next summer, so PM me if you want me to put you on the mailing list.
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Old 08-11-08, 01:59 PM
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Which part of Colorado? Fruita is just ouside of Moab, Utah. Plenty of the best slickrock riding on earth.
Also road rides in Canyonlands National park, Arches National park, couple more hours south is Valley of the Gods (mountain biking) and Monument Valley (mountain biking). The Moab century tour is a great road ride. Just under 100 miles, and you get to climb "The Big Nasty" (3000 ft 7 miles) though the La Sal mountains. Then drops into the Colorado river gorge, with 1000 ft redrock cliffs on both sides.
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Old 08-11-08, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pingzing
I wouldn't mind the Steamboat area. I'm still trying to decide if we should do one of these packages that includes food, guide and stay, but I think it would make more sence to find a nice resort and just ride some of the nice roads in the area. Most of the packages are around 1500 to 2 grand per person.
Steamboat is terrific. We'll be out there over labor day doing a Rabit ears / gore Pass century with some friends. Join us? Plenty of places to stay there was well. Lots of mtn biking too if you do that.
- having said that - I am prejudiced in favor of the front range myself. Estes Park is a nice place to stay and gives you access to Trail Ridge Road as well as the peak to peak hiway. Great road rides.
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Old 08-11-08, 02:31 PM
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Steamboat

I use to live in Steamboat, now Denver. I'm up there 5-6 weekends during the summer months and much more in the winter. Some really amazing road rides in that area. You can go for hours without seeing another person or vehicle on some of the back roads west of town. You can do some serious climbing one day and rollers through high plains farmland the next. As for packages - up to you on how catered you want your trip. I've never done one but from what I've seen of some of those group rides (at least in Steamboat), it looks like the requirements to join the package are only suggestions. I see people lagging miles behind, pushing their bikes up hill or grabbing a ride with the sag wagon. So if you're looking to really ride far, fast, etc a package may not be right. I can get you some info for all the riding in the area and make some recommendations of places to stay/eat, etc.
Also as someone mentioned, Durango is awesome. Great riding that way too.
PM me if you want some info
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Old 08-11-08, 02:41 PM
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Many good places...Front Range is a good hub to ride from, and even Manitou Springs has loads to offer in terms of a home base.

But, I think Summit County would be a great home base, too...Hoosier Pass within easy reach, Vail Pass too, even Loveland Pass and more (Fremont, Tennessee, etc...). To boot it's a very tourist friendly area with great food, shopping and spas.

Growing up in Buena Vista I think BV and Salida would also be great places to base out of for 4 days...especially Salida, but it's a bit more removed there, and some people say it's an acquired taste. Nice thing about BV is you can hit Independence Pass with ease, and you can also tap Poncha Pass and Monarch Pass, and if you're ok with out-&-backs Cottonwood Pass is one of the sweetest views evar.

Honestly, it's really hard to go wrong in this state for good riding. Better yet is you'll always be able to find a quaint, mountain town to base out of that has good food and comfy beds.

Like others have offered, pm me if you want more.

Enjoy!
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Old 08-11-08, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by adam
I'm watching this thread... I too would like to learn more about the area. Every year a group of us head from the Toronto area to New Hampshire to do some of the hills there. I'd love to take it to the next level and do some bigger ones in Colorado.

Anyone have any experience riding in both NH and CO to compare the two?
Colorado's climbs tend to be forever long; the climbs in NH and Vermont are much shorter, but they can also be much, much steeper. Pick your poison. Basically, if you can cruise up the big passes in NH (Pinkham, Crawford, Jefferson, Kancamagus, etc) -- you can handle the big climbs in Colorado.
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Old 08-11-08, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinF
Colorado's climbs tend to be forever long; the climbs in NH and Vermont are much shorter, but they can also be much, much steeper. Pick your poison. Basically, if you can cruise up the big passes in NH (Pinkham, Crawford, Jefferson, Kancamagus, etc) -- you can handle the big climbs in Colorado.
VERY happy to hear that! Evan's Notch, Pinkham Notch, Bear Notch, Kanc, Crawford Notch and Hurricane Mtn. Road are the ones we hit over and over again in a four day trip.

Looking forward to planning a CO trip!
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Old 08-11-08, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by adam
VERY happy to hear that! Evan's Notch, Pinkham Notch, Bear Notch, Kanc, Crawford Notch and Hurricane Mtn. Road are the ones we hit over and over again in a four day trip.

Looking forward to planning a CO trip!
If you can ride over Hurricane Mtn. Road and not feel like puking at the top, then you'll be enjoying Colorado. The altitude adds a few percent to the grade until you get used to the lack of air; I try to gear low (34x25) enough for western tours to be able to take it really easy for the first day while my lungs adjust.
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Old 08-11-08, 05:22 PM
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...Cottonwood Pass is one of the sweetest views evar.....
+1 on that. Great ride. Plus you get to enjoy Cottonwood Hot springs which has some very nice hot water and a laid back attitude, though I think they've dropped the clothing optional after 11pm rule. Which is sad.
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Old 08-11-08, 07:37 PM
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Check this out as a possibility: https://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path...n-ride-supreme

I know people from BV and Salida that do it as a one day ride!
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Old 08-11-08, 08:19 PM
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Durango -> Silverton -> Ouray -> Ridgway -> Placerville -> Telluride -> Rico -> Dolores - Mesa Verde - Durango

Or just do Durango - Silverton 4x :-)
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Old 08-11-08, 08:41 PM
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Summit County:

Day 1: Warm up day. Frisco (or Keystone or Breckenridge) to Copper or Vail Pass. From Frisco only 5 miles to Copper and another 6 to Vail Pass. Back down to Frisco. If you feel OK, go around Lake Dillon, up to Keystone and then up to Montezuma or Loveland Pass. If you still feel OK, go back to Frisco over Swan Mountain Rd. All of this is well over 50 miles. Bring your camera.

Day 2: Mt Evans. Drive through Eisenhower tunnel back toward Denver to Idaho Springs. Take the Mt Evans exit, take a right and park in the parking lot about 1/4 mile on the left. 27 miles later you'll be at 14k feet. If you are a bit tired from Day 1, you can drive up the road half way to Echo Lake and park there. Continue on bike. Coast ALL the way down. Bring your camera. 54 RT if you do the whole thing.

Day 3: Copper Triangle ride. Start at Copper Mountain. Up over Fremont pass and down into Leadville. Then over Tennessee pass over to Minturn. Then through Vail and up to Vail Pass. Back down the other side into Copper. 77 miles. Bring your camera. Optional: rest day.

Day 4. Hm. You'll be toast. I'd recommend you take a day off somewhere like day 3. If not, you could ride Hoosier Pass or Loveland Pass (if you didn't do it the first day), Independence Pass (from Leadville).

Mountain riding season is June to about October for most riding, but Mt Evans is a safe bet July/Aug.

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Old 08-11-08, 08:45 PM
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I'm salivating just reading this thread! I wish I could hit up some cycling in Colorado this year, but I think it would be a race between my legs or my lungs exploding (STL =~ 570' v. Colorado = 8,000-14,000' ). I may have to save this thread for next year though!

+1 for BV/Salida. Beautiful area. I've stayed in BV and in Leadville and go back there pretty much every time I'm back in the state...
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Old 08-11-08, 08:49 PM
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If you want to go really high up, Mt Evans road will take you to the top of a 14,000 foot mtn, the highest paved road in North America.

Most riders visiting Colorado put Independence Pass near the top of their list.

Rocky Mtn National Park.
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Old 08-11-08, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by pingzing
My wife and I are looking for some recommendations for a good 4 day cycling vacation preferably in Colorado. Any vacation package ideas would be awesome as well.
Bicycle Tour Colorado is 7 days, fully supported.

I did it this year, and I can tell you it was well worth the effort.
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