With cycling season in full swing, I have to make the best use of my time to prepare for many of the events I have coming up. The next major cycling event is the Double Triple Bypass which will take me 240 miles with over 20,000 feet of elevation gain. So I need to get some climbing practice in. The idea was to climb Loveland Pass which takes you up to the continental divide just under 12,000 feet. But when I researched the ride, it was shorter than I wanted it to be. I decided to through some additional distance in. I figured I’d go up and over the pass, then into Keystone. In September I’ll be competing in the 106° West Triathlon which has part of the course going from Keystone up to Montezuma. I’ve never ridden this section of road before, so I thought I’d check it out. And thus this became the epic ride.
I started in Idaho Springs. There is a little parking lot by the last exit form I-70. I first learned about this spot about 3 years ago. That was the first time I had ridden this stretch of road. We didn’t even climb the pass that day. It’s amazing to see how far I’ve come.
I started out and there were several groups of cyclist on the road. I wondered if there was some sort of event going on. Eventually I passed most of them. It’s a nice ride up to Georgetown, a gradual climb but nothing to challenging. After Georgetown it takes some effort. But the scenery is amazing. Eventually you get to the bike path at Bakerville. It don’t look like it’s a climb, but damn it’s hard. Once you get dumped out of the path you are Loveland ski area. There is a small stretch of road that is always a bitch. Then the climb over Loveland Pass begins.
I’ve done this ride several times and was feeling great. I kept my head down and made it over the pass. I decided not to stop at the top since I’d be back up there in a few hours.
Descending into Keystone was so much fun! With speeds between 30 and 40 miles per hours, it’s pure bliss! Once I got to Keystone it was time to explore the 106° West Triathlon course into Montezuma. I knew this would be a bit of a climb, but was hoping it would be tame. It started out that way but the grade continued to increase. I was getting tired and as I approached Montezuma I was ready to call it a day.
Finally I made it to the town. It was not much of anything really. The paved road ended and so did I. I took a picture, then turned around and headed back to Keystone. This direction was fun, more descending! I’m considering using my road bike for the 106° West Triathlon because I think I’ll be able to climb and descend much better than on a tri bike.
When I got back to Keystone I knew I had a long climb ahead of me. I was rather tired at this point, but knew the only way home was over the pass. From Keystone the summit is about 8 miles. I knew it would be over an hour of effort to get through it. It was hard. I arrived at Arapahoe Basin and had to stop for a while. This isn’t something I like to do, but I had to stretch out my back a little. From Arapahoe Basin to the summit is not a bad climb. It looks a little intimidating, but it’s relatively short.
I was rather excite when I crested the summit the second time! I knew it was all downhill from there. Unfortunately, the wind picked up and it wasn’t all smooth sailing. I was exhausted, but at least there were no more major climbs. It was an epic ride, one that took a lot out of me. But I’m glad I did it.