The weather in Colorado last week was fantastic for cycling. Most of the week of was in the 60’s and 70’s with little wind. So I changed plans and got some longish rides in while the good weather holds.
Wednesday I rode with a group. Usually I ride solo but I want to add in some group rides that will push me. This group really did. I usually cruise at about 17-18 mph and this group was advertised above 16. Yea, right. Closer to 19-20 mph but with a lot of breaks. Wore me out good. Loved it and will try to ride with them every week.
Had to take a rest day on Thursday to recover and a recover ride on Friday to get ready for a weekend of fine weather.
PAC Tours posted the outline of the route for the Ridge of the Rockies. It starts in Kalispell, MT and goes 1943 miles and 88,000 feet of climbs in 18 days to Albuquerque, NM.
The Colorado section is described this way, “As we enter Colorado the mountains are taller and the passes are higher. We will average at least one major climb over 10,000 feet elevation for the each of the next six days. Some riders consider these days the best cycling of the tour. The climb over Grand Mesa heading toward Montrose is a classic ride with a good mix of mountains and farms. Equally spectacular are the passes near Ouray, Silverton and Durango. These are the heart of the Rocky Mountains with constant steep climbs and fast descents.
On Day 14 we arrive in South Fork, Colorado after climbing over 10,800' Wolf Creek Pass. The next day is an optional day of either riding up and back 11,361' Slumgullion Pass or riding a loop route through the valley before returning to our base motel in South Fork. On Day 15 we retrace our route over Wolf Creek Pass and then head south to Chama, New Mexico.”
Given that information and access to past rider blogs I believe the more detailed route through Colorado is:
Day 11 Rangely to Grand Junction over Douglas Pass (8,268’ with 4 miles of 8-10% climb).
Day 12 Grand Junction to Montrose over Grand Mesa 10,839’)
Day 13 Montrose to Durango over Red Mountain Pass (11,018), Molas Pass (10.910) and Coal Bank Pass (10,640).
Day 14 Durango to South Fork over Wolf Creek Pass (10,850).
Day 15 Loop over Spring Creek Pass (10,901) and Slumgullion Pass (11,361)
Day 16 back over Wolf Creek.
I need to keep working hard. These six days plus day 9 in Utah are going to be hard.
Weekly summary: Total workout time: 12:20, 158 miles, TSS=575 and 5076 Kcal.