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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I may be in Colorado with some friends this summer. Some of us ride, while some do not. I would like some advice on how to find road routes while I'm there. I would like to ride between 40-100 miles/day depending on terrain for 4-6 days. We've considered signing up for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado to benefit from their pre-planned routes and SAG support. Would this be a good option or is it better to create our own? Are there any books or bike shops that could help? Thank you!
 

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If you're looking for LBSes that can help, it would help to know where you're going to be in Colorado. There are plenty of good places to ride in CO, but it's a big state.

But just on your note of 40-100 mi/day - don't underestimate the effects of the altitude if you're not used to it. I live in Fort Worth and vacation in Pagosa Springs (SW CO). The first two days last year, I felt like I couldn't get enough air into my lungs. Day 3 was OK, and by day 4 I felt full-strength.

Going back this year on a much lighter bike, with 45 less pounds on me, so I'm looking forward to conquering some of the climbs I gave up on last year.

I hope you enjoy your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks

As of now, we don't know where we will be visiting. It kind of depends if we want to try the BTC or do our own thing. You bring up a good point with altitude. It will probably take some getting used to. Thanks for your help.
 

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A friend and I did this last year (Louisville-Fort Collins-Estes Park-Grand Lake-Idaho Springs-Louisville). We didn't do an organized ride, just mapped out our own route - I prefer staying away from the crowds. Put a rack on my bike and a small bag - just big enough for one change of clothes, rain jacket, etc. We stayed in motels (no tents for me). Had a great time, I think it's a great way to go.
 

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cam3 said:
I may be in Colorado with some friends this summer. Some of us ride, while some do not. I would like some advice on how to find road routes while I'm there. I would like to ride between 40-100 miles/day depending on terrain for 4-6 days. We've considered signing up for the Bicycle Tour of Colorado to benefit from their pre-planned routes and SAG support. Would this be a good option or is it better to create our own? Are there any books or bike shops that could help? Thank you!
If you want something to do for those who don't ride you might consider Boulder. Lots of shopping, hiking and such for the non-riders and a good central spot for starting and ending your mountain rides. Kinda hard to give you any advice without knowing where you are gonna be staying though. You could also consider Ride the Rockies which is a week before Bike tour of CO. You'll need to have you app in by the 20th though and then there is a lottery for those picked so you might not get in, but it is a pretty good ride (Boulder to Idaho spgs this year) www.ridetherockies.com
 

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Check out www.bicyclecolo.org

Bicycle Colorado is the bicycling advocacy organization out here. Their webite is full of info and they will send out a free info packet about riding in Colorado. http://bicyclecolo.org/site/page.cfm?PageID=28

The map is especially helpful, with color coded designations of roads to indicate the type of road, width of shoulders, etc.

If you're looking for other organized events or races or organizations, I'd start with the calendar at www.rockymountainsports.com (they also publish a hard copy called "The Keeper").

FWIW - My favorite road to ride is Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park. A close second is the up and down of Mt. Evans. Both are close to Denver. Lots of options everywhere. You'll have a blast.
 

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Colorado ride

Try this one for less traffic and high heart rate. Leadville to Vail ( via Minturn/ Battle Mt. ) out of Vail to Copper Mountain then back to Leadville on the back road. You'll be off I 70 most of the ride, and will climb over three pass'es during the ride. Good Luck !
 

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I'm doing BTC this year. Rode it two years ago and had a great time.
However, I wouldn't recommend it if you have people who don't ride. If they aren't the hiking, outdoors types, things might get kind of boring for them following the rest of you around for six days in the mountains. The Boulder suggestion is good. For the cyclists the choice of riding rollers, flats or mountains; good shops, restaurants etc for the rest of the group.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
BTC question

What kind of riders show up? Are you able to go any pace you want? Do you have to wait on the group? Thanks.
 

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BTC Answers

cam3 said:
What kind of riders show up? Are you able to go any pace you want? Do you have to wait on the group? Thanks.
All kinds show up. The majority are good recreational riders. There is a healthy contingent of slower tourer types; also plenty of tandems, usually couples, but I saw two that were parent/kid combos.

Riding is all at your own pace. Start whenever you want in the morning. There is a wagon doing a final sweep in the afternoon to make sure everyone makes it in to that day's destination before dark. Waiting on the group would be rather impratical since there will most likely be around 1,600 riders!

I found the aid stations to all be well stocked and well located. The food was generally very good, except for one night's dinner. You have to approach these big tours with the attitude that you're there to have fun. It's not a race, the only real competition is within yourself, and prepare for a certain amount of inconvenience that normally goes along with traveling with a large group of people.

Check out the web site thoroughly. If your non-riding group is into a certain amount of camping and hiking and would enjoy be in the mountains with you, consider renting a large camper and having them travel along. They get to see the pretty sites, and you get to sleep in a decent bed each night. The organizers usually have a place in each town where campers/trailers can park and I saw several people doing it that way. Be aware that private sags cannot park at any of the official aid stations. This year's rest day in in Steamboat Springs, and ANYONE can find something fun to do there.
 

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Where do you think Colorado is, Mars?

cam3 said:
The route sounds great! Will there be stores along the way?
Each night's stop is in a medium to small size town. Sure there's stores. Well, okay, Macy's it won't be. Otherwise what do you need a store for? If you're concerned about food/water, that's what the aid stations are for.

Riding around Leadville area may be a little more remote.
 

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try these sites...

http://www.cyclingevents.com/
http://www.coloradobicyclerides.com/
http://www.cyclingevents.com/TopoMaps/BoulderArea.asp
http://www.teamevergreen.org/
http://www.rmccrides.com/
http://www.teamevergreen.org/triple_bypass.htm


Also a warning about the altitude. You CANNOT adjust to the altitude in a few days. It's a 4-6 week process. Also, if you've never climbed a mountain before, plan on using considerably lower gearing. When I moved to the Denver area last July, I was certain the I would need a triple for the mountains and built-up a bike with a 53/39/30 and a 12-25 cassette, just for that purpose. I only weigh 135 and always left others behind on hills, but the mountains are nothing like hills. On rolling hilly terrain you may go up a hill for a few minutes and then get some rest on the downhill. In the mountains, it's not unusual to climb for an hour or more without any reduction in the uphill grade. Initially I found myself using the 30/23 and 30/25 fairly often. After 6 weeks of acclimation, I seldom use the two lowest cogs, but even my 30/21 is equivalent to a 39/27 and I still use it frequently.
 

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more on altitude...

I live at sea level. On my trip last summer riding at altitudes of 11k-12k ft., I found that I drank much more water than I normally do. It might be worth planning on this - make sure you can carry enough water bottles, or even carry a camelback. If you do a supported tour like BTC, etc. this is less of an issue, though I'd personally still carry two bottles even if sag stops are only 20 miles apart.

Curt
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good point

Thank you to everyone for bringing up very good points and useful info. I think we are leaning towards the BTC route.
 

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C-40 said:
Also a warning about the altitude. You CANNOT adjust to the altitude in a few days. It's a 4-6 week process. Also, if you've never climbed a mountain before, plan on using considerably lower gearing. When I moved to the Denver area last July, I was certain the I would need a triple for the mountains and built-up a bike with a 53/39/30 and a 12-25 cassette, just for that purpose. I only weigh 135 and always left others behind on hills, but the mountains are nothing like hills. On rolling hilly terrain you may go up a hill for a few minutes and then get some rest on the downhill. In the mountains, it's not unusual to climb for an hour or more without any reduction in the uphill grade. Initially I found myself using the 30/23 and 30/25 fairly often. After 6 weeks of acclimation, I seldom use the two lowest cogs, but even my 30/21 is equivalent to a 39/27 and I still use it frequently.
A question for you about the mountains. I found out that I'm being transferred to Colorado in the Spring of 2005. I'm about to buy a new bike within the next month and have no need for a triple here. If I bought the new bike w a double, do you believe it would be a much longer acclimation process once I move and start riding in the mountains? I, like you were, am decent at hills here but really have no desire to have a triple chainring. Any thoughts or opinions?
 

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altitude acclimation..

I don't think anyone can avoid the 4-6 week acclimation process. Whether you need a triple depends on how good a climber you are, your fitness level and your age. A lot of folks ride the mountains with a double, but many are using a wide spaced 12-27 cassette with Shimano 9-speed or a 13-29 with Campy 10 speed. I'm sure the young racers manage to get up the mountains with only a 23 or 25 low gear, but they have to spend a fair percentage of their time standing. I found that while I often stand on short hills, standing for miles in the mountains is too much for a 50 year old.

I've passed a lot of folks struggling up a mountain road on a double. Many folks riding doubles are stuck in their lowest gear, grinding out an incredibly low cadence. The triple provides more options and a rest if you need it. I think the 53/39/30 triple is the best choice. Campy doesn't offer this combination and it's only available at the DuraAce level with Shimano. I chose an FSA crank. I also believe that Campy ergo levers are much better at handling a triple front derailleur. There are 9 distinct clicks on the shifter and you can move up or down one click at a time.
 

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C-40 said:
I don't think anyone can avoid the 4-6 week acclimation process. Whether you need a triple depends on how good a climber you are, your fitness level and your age. A lot of folks ride the mountains with a double, but many are using a wide spaced 12-27 cassette with Shimano 9-speed or a 13-29 with Campy 10 speed. I'm sure the young racers manage to get up the mountains with only a 23 or 25 low gear, but they have to spend a fair percentage of their time standing. I found that while I often stand on short hills, standing for miles in the mountains is too much for a 50 year old.

I've passed a lot of folks struggling up a mountain road on a double. Many folks riding doubles are stuck in their lowest gear, grinding out an incredibly low cadence. The triple provides more options and a rest if you need it. I think the 53/39/30 triple is the best choice. Campy doesn't offer this combination and it's only available at the DuraAce level with Shimano. I chose an FSA crank. I also believe that Campy ergo levers are much better at handling a triple front derailleur. There are 9 distinct clicks on the shifter and you can move up or down one click at a time.
I've ridden most of the routes that RTR and BTC are doing this year and you can definately do it with a double if you are in halfway decent shape and have put in the miles. If you don't train enough than definately do the triple, but nothing on the ride should be over 10 percent grade. I've done RTR five times and never had more than a 39x25 and I'm no Pantani.
 
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