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A short 3 day getaway

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A short 3 day getaway

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Old 06-13-09, 11:58 PM
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beeftech
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A short 3 day getaway

So I'm going back to Colorado in a few weeks, planning to pick up a cheap bike while I'm there, and doing a short tour 3 days 2 nights. (maybe 4 days )
It'll be my first, although being a bike messenger I am already accustomed to riding long distances.
Blah blah blah.

I'm debating going north or south.
Here is my southern route as it stands. Going through Pike National Forrest. Starting and ending in Littleton. The days are little shorter than I wanted mileage wise, but I could fix that by going to Hartsel and Fairplay.

If I were to go north, I would have part of my route go through Rocky Mountain National, still working out the kinks on that one. I've been hounding over the CDOT bike maps for hours now...

On to the questions!
Since it will be short a trip, I'm debating making my mileage per day longer than what seems to be the average 60-70. Would that be recommended? I'm already used to going 5+ days without recovery time, and putting in around 60 miles a day 5 days out of a week.

Does anyone who has been through Colorado have a preferred route, or know of some nice scenery worth checking out, or roads to absolutely avoid?
Any info/recommendations/etc all welcomed!
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Old 06-14-09, 01:56 PM
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What company do you work for? Long ago I was a messenger in NYC at Orbit Lightspeed down on 31st and Lex if I remember correctly. Enjoy your trip. Sorry I don't have any info on touring in CO.
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Old 06-14-09, 03:38 PM
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Linked maps didn't work for me, can you check them? I'd be happy to comment on your northern loops if i knew what it was.

as to long days, don't forget climbing at altitude can be more challenging than at sea level, so you might not want to bite off more than you can chew.

searcy for "grand loop" under my username for a RMNP loop suggestion.
(here: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...op#post6483690)
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Old 06-14-09, 04:24 PM
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Try these links?
Northern loop:
http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...852bec6f4bc6a9

Southern loop(Actually more in the middle of Colorado): http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...6e22fc471dcbcd

I'm leaning for the northern loop, more stuff I wanna see up there. (Dont pay attention to the day's they aren't dialed in yet.)

Also, I used to live in Colorado and did regular morning rides from Morrison to Evergreen, I figure I'll go on some of those rides in the days prior to get re-acclimated again.


@ Surfjimc, I for Cyclehawk.

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Old 06-14-09, 04:33 PM
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Haha just read your Grand Loop, almost exactly the same as mine!
Except I'd be starting in Golden going up 46 to 119 then to 72.
Is Peak to Peak really that bad?
My girlfriends parents live in Nederland, so I was planing a lunch stop there. But if it is really bad, I would avoid it.

Also you mentioned it was a 4 day trip, would be at all possible to do in 3 days, or am I killing myself?
I haven't yet taken into account all the elevations and climbing, just put the routes together last night in the wee hours.

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Old 06-14-09, 05:45 PM
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Never ridden there, but elevation can really sneak up on you, espcially with more weight than you are used to loaded on. My first short tour I was supposed to have a short day in the middle with time to hike and ended having one of my longest riding days because I underestimated how much time the climbing would take. Other than that, the only thing I would suggest is to take time and enjoy the ride. Look around, see sights.
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Old 06-14-09, 08:56 PM
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Your 'loop' looks like a great ride. I assume you are planning to stay in hotels and carry minimal gear. I would NOT plan those milages if you are planning to ride with a camping load. Also, definitely get a bike with a triple chainring or otherwise very low gearing.

Golden Gate Canyon is a beautiful ride, between Golden and Nederland you will gain approximately 6000 feet of elevation. Sections near the top of golden gate are quite steep - 10-12%. The Peak to Peak is awesome, not awful (don't know where you saw that, didn't read that whole older thread) - but is significantly hilly - still another 1800 feet of gain between Nederland and Ward, then mostly down to Hwy 7, then another couple thousand up and then descend into Estes Park. You'll ascent to about 9300 feet twice on the P2P between Ned and Estes Park.

From Estes Park over Trail Ridge Road is another 5000 feet of climbing (up to 12,000 feet above sea level), then you drop way down the other side. Berthoud Pass (hwy 40 south of Frasier/ Winter Park) is another climb up to about 11,000 feet. then you drop down to Idaho Springs. If you take Squaw/Juniper pass south of Idaho Springs, you do another climb up to about 10,500. The front range (denver/boulder/golden) sits about about 5200 feet above sea level.

So, there is a LOT of climbing. Probably upwards of 25,000 feet. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it's really quite a lot. And lots of time over 8000 feet, which if you are coming up from low altitude, can be really different. some people do OK with it right away, others not.

I think you *might* be able to do it in 3 especially if you cut Squaw pass and return to golden down the I70 corridor, (look for "floyd hill road" and "lookout Mountain" but this still does have some more climbing). So you would start in Golden, stay in Estes Park (LONG first day), then go to Winter Park on day 2, then back to golden on day 3. There are places to stay in: Golden, Nederland, Allenspark (lodge, $$$), Estes (hostel, hotels) Grand Lake, Granby, Winter Park, Idaho Springs. So if you need to shorten a day, you have options. There is water/light food available in Rollinsville, Ward (1/4 mile off the P2P) Raymond (2 miles off the route), Allenspark and all the lodging towns. There is water in Golden Gate Park.

Personally, I would leave myself 4 days to do this trip, it will still be plenty hard. Three might be do-able but you might not be able to spend the time having lunch with your g/f's folks and taking pictures, etc. I did it from Boulder -Idaho Springs - Grand Lake - Estes Park and it was good.

Another thing to know is that you will very likely have afternoon thunderstorms, so it's good to be off the high passes (esp. trail ridge) before about 2:00. We've been getting a lot of storms the last couple weeks, might be different by the time you get here, but it's pretty common. So bring a rain jacket and warm gloves, minimally.

Have fun!
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