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Cycling question!

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Cycling question!

Postby Prairie Native » Thu Sep 17, 2009 8:52 pm

I've recently began using my bike more and have a few questions about road biking in colorado. Ive been climbing the biggest hills around here that I can find and even have a hilly crit course that I try and do 3 times a week. I feel like I can climb these hills pretty easy. One is 3/4 of a mile and around 7%. Not horrible but I hit it after busting my @$$ after 10 miles. The question is what are some cool passes around the state that are road bike friendly. I know that I will die, nothing here measures up obviously. But I still want to test my meddle. I'm assuming Mt. Evans is out of the question, but I would like to try something like Independence pass. Any suggestions about training/routes?
Something witty.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby Fiemus » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:14 pm

Prairie Native wrote:But I still want to test my meddle.

You might want to try testing your mettle first... :?

Any of the passes from the classic mountain rides are good. Look at the Triple Bypass, Courage Classic, and Copper Triangle: Squaw Pass, Loveland Pass, Vail Pass, Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass. Other good passes are Rabbit Ears Pass and Hoosier Pass.

I rode the course of the Copper Triangle solo last year after 15 years away from road biking and only 4-5 training rides. Vail pass almost killed me, but I made it. I rode the organized Copper Triangle ride this year after a bit more training and it was very straightforward.
Last edited by Fiemus on Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby Prairie Native » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:21 pm

Mettle, got it.
Something witty.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby Prairie Native » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:22 pm

woops double post.
Something witty.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby ShowMeMike » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:36 pm

If you are in the Denver area, I really like Lookout Mountain as a training ride.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby thunderinacircle » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:39 pm

I rode Snowy Range pass in Wyoming over the summer and that was awesome. A small fraction of the traffic you get out here too.
when the moon first rose tonight, my eyes were met with such a beautiful sight. a feeling deep inside so hard to explain, so familiar yet impossible to name. this is the place where dreams come true, a part of me and a part of you. this is where our spirits fly, on beams of light across the sky...and i'll meet you, in the valley of the full moon. as bright as the sun, in the middle of the afternoon.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby Tory Wells » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:50 pm

Prairie Native wrote:But I still want to test my meddle.

Freudian slip?

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is a classic and helped by the fact that the slow national park speed limits make riding it even more pleasurable. The passes Fiemus mentioned are all great....you have a pretty good chance of seeing Lance Armstrong on Independence Pass, he rides it all the time in the summer months now. The Mt Evans Road (when open) is not to be missed, an absolute classic. There is a race to the top every summer, the Bob Cook Memorial Mt Evans Hill Climb. I've done it three times, it is great.

p.s.....riding a bicycle, especially uphill, is great training for mountaineering due to the leg strength you will build. Keep on ridin'.
"Tongue-tied and twisted, just an earthbound misfit, am I." -David Gilmour, Pink Floyd

"We knocked the bastard off." Hillary, 1953
"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Hillary, 2003
Couldn't we all use 50 years of humble growth?
-Steve Gladbach

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby pstew85 » Thu Sep 17, 2009 9:51 pm

deer creek canyon and golden gate canyon near denver, left hand canyon near boulder, squaw pass near evergreen/bergen, mt. evans is not bad but its closed for the year but you could ride from idaho springs to echo lake (or summit lake still i believe). these will all test your meddle!

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby madbuck » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:00 pm

Where do you live/train now?
Where would you be interested/what would be convenient for Colorado training rides?
Careful, once you start descending smooth pavement at 50-60mph, you might become addicted! :D

I'd say your top priority for training away from CO is distance/time. Most of the mountain passes here, including Mt. Evans, are pretty much long slogs. Any typical multiple pass rides, like Copper Triangle and parts of the triple bypass, are ~80 miles or so. Get your mind and your body ready for 4-6+ hour rides or so.
(That is, if you want a 'fun' ride that's an interesting route or loop. I did have a buddy that 'did' Rabbit Ears by parking a few miles from the bottom, riding up in an hour and asking what the big deal was?!)

In addition to that, sprints and hill repeats are great, so take the hills you have and do 8-10 repeats of them. But the best workout will be learning to pedal efficiently for a longer ride, and teaching your body to use energy efficiently and burn fat, which requires multiple-hour rides.

Aside from passes themselves, canyon rides are quite good training.
My fav rides in the Fort Collins/Loveland/Boulder area area:
The dams (rolling hills right from town); Carter Lake (60 miles with 1 decent climb);
Canyons: Rist canyon, Big Thompson Canyon, Lefthand Canyon, St. Vrain canyon (can make loops out of these)
Peak to peak highway: Estes, Nederland, Ward (make your own loop with the canyons)
Flagstaff in Boulder

Can give more suggestions based on what you're looking for, some routes by the Springs and various mt. passes...

PS: I bought Michael Seeberg's "Road Biking Colorado" book after moving here and it's awesome, with great ride descriptions and pictures
http://www.roadbikingcolorado.com/

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby GravityPilot » Thu Sep 17, 2009 10:30 pm

Prairie Native wrote:I've recently began using my bike more and have a few questions about road biking in colorado. Ive been climbing the biggest hills around here that I can find and even have a hilly crit course that I try and do 3 times a week. I feel like I can climb these hills pretty easy. One is 3/4 of a mile and around 7%. Not horrible but I hit it after busting my @$$ after 10 miles. The question is what are some cool passes around the state that are road bike friendly. I know that I will die, nothing here measures up obviously. But I still want to test my meddle. I'm assuming Mt. Evans is out of the question, but I would like to try something like Independence pass. Any suggestions about training/routes?


You can ride to Vail from Lake Dillon. It's all on the bike path so you can focus on riding and not worry about traffic. The section from Frisco to Copper is a nice warm up, then a nice push to the summit. Coming up from Vail is harder, but easily do-able. If you ride that out and back and want more, spin up to Breck then back down to Swan Mountain Rd then to Keystone and back to where ever you started. Almost all of that is on the bike path. You can always add in the middle Freemont Pass, Hoosier or my favorite one to finish it off Loveland.
The best training for riding is riding. Stick with it and you'll get it.

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby Jack » Fri Sep 18, 2009 12:23 am

Hey man,
I'd say a couple of the more beautiful passes would be Loveland Pass snaking its way to nearly 12,000' among many many high peaks and Independence Pass for the same reasons. I have only driven Indy Pass and have not ridden up it, but I can definitely say that Loveland Pass is quite a climb, especially when you're on a full suspension mtb! haha. It's a beautiful ride from Breck and you can go over Swan Mt. Rd. for a little warm up climb. When you start riding the mountains here, 3/4 of a mile at 7% will seem like a breeze compared to 10+ mile ascents at altitude. The ride from Breckenridge or Frisco to Vail is great because of the trail that connects the towns keeping you off the roads. o when you ride west to start, the climb on your way back is much harder...

If you are looking for a good climb much closer to Denver or Boulder, the two that immediately come to mind are Lookout Mountain and Flagstaff Road. Lookout mountain will have tons of riders on it any given day and is not particularly grueling as I recall. Flagstaff road west of Boulder is a real haul. The climb is not much more than 6 miles (starting at Chataqua Park), but the grade is serious (certainly over 10%), especially towards the top. Despite it's length this climb is definitely no joke. I imagine you would have a great ride to go up Flagstaff all of the way until the road dead ends into dirt and then returning the same way if you wanted a longer spin. You'd have pretty good climbs coming both directions for sure. These climbs would be good shorter training rides at lower altitudes before you take on a big kahuna like Loveland from the west or Indy Pass.

Really though, you can't go wrong out here. Any ride that you do will be sweet, and considering where you are coming from do not be surprised or discouraged if you struggle as you reach higher altitudes on the two wheels. I don't notice altitude so much while climbing, but when I am on my bike it makes a huge difference. See you out on the roads Prairie Native!

Keep the rubber side down,
Jack

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Re: Cycling question!

Postby RJones » Fri Sep 18, 2009 9:43 am

In addition to some of the local Denver rides already mentioned, I would add: Highgrade, City View, Kennedy, and Highdrive.

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