20 May 2015 Colorado Road Bike Tour Profile
Colorado Biking, not all is uphill!
So you have been staring at all of these amazing pictures of the Colorado Rockies and wishing you could go biking there, but you are a regular ol’ weekend pedaler. Have no fear! That is why we put this road bike tour together, for those of you who live below 5000 feet in elevation and are not climbing 10,000 feet every week on your bike.
This tour is a combination of road riding and paved trail riding. The trails are a mixture of paved recreational trails and trails on old rail beds. These trails are considered rails-to-trails, but they are quite different in character than the long tree lined tunnels of the east. They have curves and dips and rises and are much like road riding, just without the cars.
Below is a sampling of the ride elevation profiles from each day of the tour. This is a representative group, it is not all rides and it not the entire ride of each day. The hardest rides of the tour are shown below. Keep in mind the scale of the image can distort both the steepness up and down of these rides.
Day 1 primary ride +980 ft. / -2500 ft 28.5 miles
You can tack on a bit more downhill on day 1 if you like. This day is a mix of road and trail.
Day 2 morning ride +850 ft. / -908 ft. 16.7 miles 2 categorized climbs, 1 grade 3, 1 grade 4
We head out of the hotel with a short road ride and then settle into a beautiful paved trail.
Day 2 afternoon ride +505 ft. / -1864 ft. 25.6 miles 1 categorized climb, 1 grade 5
Another combination of road and paved trail riding.
Day 3 morning ride + 489 ft. 13.3 miles
At first glance this chart is quite misleading,, take a careful look at the stats, 489 feet over 13 miles, no sweat. This ride is all on a rail trail. Interesting how it looks identical to the chart below.
Day 3 afternoon ride +1004 ft 16.4 miles
Well a little bit of uphill today, but it is pretty friendly, this majority of this is road riding. The good news is tomorrow, you will start by cruising down this route, and the views will be so different you will not recognize it.
Day 4 morning option1 downhill version of Day 3 afternoon ride -1004 ft 16.4 miles
Road riding for the first 11 miles.
Day 4 morning option 2 +1483 ft. / -418 ft. 22.5 miles 1 categorized climb, 1 grade 5
Another afternoon of amazing paved trail riding
Day 5 Primary ride +837 ft. / -2437 ft. 22.5 miles 2 categorized climbs, 2 grade 4
This is probably the hardest ride of the tour. Note that you begin at quite the elevation, 10,000 feet and then we do “pop” over a pass. It is quite gradual, and you will feel accomplished. Don’t forget, the SAG vehicle is always close at hand.
Day 5 option 2 + 760 ft. / -1687 ft. 9.1 miles 1 categorized climb, 1 grade 3
This alternative end of day ride, is not for everyone, in fact we will be quite selective about offering this route option. This is a spectacular ride, a butt kicking start that will have you out of your seat and then hold on kids…. a serious descent with switchbacks and yes, exposure lots of it.
Day 6 primary ride + 308 ft/ – 2125 ft. 19.5 miles
AHHHH coasting in to the finish line. The graph says it all, basically a 20 mile down hill.
The below chart gives an explanation of the climb rating that you find associated with the graphs above.
For any climb to be rated (receive a climb score/category) it must be at least 500 meters in length with an average grade of 3% or more.
***** Courtesy of Mapmyride.com
All climb scores are based on distance, grade/elevation change, and maximum elevation. The combination of these factors drives all final climb categories and there is no subjective analysis used in the final scoring of any climb score. All other climbs that do not meet the criteria for HC to Cat 5 are simply too small to rate and can usually be crossed easily by bicycle, running, or walking.
We do consider this a road bike tour and not a rails-to-trails tour. You must be comfortable riding on roads and although the climbing has been minimized, you will be doing an at times strenuous activity at elevation.
The lowest elevation of the entire tour is 5280 feet, when you are in Denver at the airport, the majority of the riding occurs above 6000 feet in elevation. There are a number of things that you can do to prepare your self physically and to maximize your enjoyment Tips for exercising at elevation and preparing for altitude.
To check out the tour overview, follow the link Colorado bike tour details.
Wilderness Voyageurs operates bike tours around the US, choose from road rides, rail trail tours, or mountain bike tours. We are based in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania along the Great Allegheny Passage, the trail from Pittsburgh to DC.
Wilderness Voyageurs, 103 Garrett Street, Ohiopyle PA, 15470 800-272-4141