In a couple days I will be flying to Colorado. We’re visiting my wife’s best friend from high school. They have a place in Denver and Breckenridge, and are graciously hosting us for ten days. We expect to have a great time. We’re already planning to visit a couple breweries, see a show at Red Rocks Amphitheater, and I’m sure we’ll eat our weight in the local cuisine.
Our friends are also being great sports about accommodating my cycling addiction. In fact, when they offered this last year, they suggested we schedule the vacation date around a cycling event. That turned out to be Copper Triangle.
My bike is already waiting for me in Golden, CO. I’ve been researching the local cycling opportunities, all of which seem amazing, and have a rough idea where I’ll be riding.
We are arriving Friday afternoon. I’ll pick up the bike on Saturday morning in Golden. Since it is being re-built, I’ll need to ride around the block to make sure everything works out. It turns out there’s a popular climb, Lookout Mountain, not far from the shop’s doorstep. I believe it is around 4-5 miles and not too steep. I’ll ride up and down, just to get a feel for the bike and to loosen up my legs.
Sunday morning will be the big test. I will be riding with a small group from Idaho Springs to the top of Mount Evans. This is the highest paved road in the United States at above 14,000 feet. It should be an epic climb, where I will gain 7,000 feet of altitude in 28 miles. Honestly, it is what I am most nervous about. One of my concerns is how I will handle the altitude. I sleep every night at 300 feet here in South Carolina. When I attempt Evans, I’ll have slept at 6,000 feet for a couple nights. Moving up to 14,000 is a different feat entirely. I’m going to be taking some altitude medication and riding at a leisurely pace.
The next day, assuming we are acclimated, we will move from Denver to Breckenridge, where we should stay for the rest of the trip. During the week I’ll take my bike out for short trips of maybe an hour or two, just enough to see the beautiful sights, while not too much to burn out my legs. The climb to Hoosier Pass is nearby, and will probably be the first one I’ll try. Not too much further are Fremont Pass, Independence Pass, Loveland Pass, and several other climbs. They appear to have an active cycling club, who I may try to ride with while in the area.
The signature climb of the area is Vail Pass, but I will probably wait for Copper Triangle before attempting that one. It is a lengthy climb, not too steep, all on a paved bike path. It’ll be a blast trying this climb along with 3,000 other riders.
The one issue with Copper Triangle is that a massive, 100 foot sinkhole has opened up on Highway 24 from Leadville. This is at a crucial section of the route. Currently the road is closed indefinitely for repair. The organizers have an alternate route in mind, but are optimistic that the original route will be ready in time. The sinkhole is being repaired right now, and hopefully will be finished soon. Either way, I’m not going to complain about whatever climbs they throw at me. It’s all a vacation for me.