These color-filled romps will keep your summer legs spinning no matter your cycling style.
Autumn is here and after a summer spent in the saddle it’s time to reward yourself with a classic Fall ride: the type of ride where you eat up the miles while enjoying the changing scenery and cooler weather. Since old man winter will soon be demanding your attention, here are three tours for you to try now.
Kenosha Pass to Georgia Pass
As you head west from Denver on Hwy 285 for the hour-long drive to the top of Kenosha Pass, mentally prepare yourself for a challenging, yet gorgeous ride. The eleven-mile journey on the Colorado Trail offers unfettered access to aspens, wildlife and mountain views in endless high meadows. Be prepared for thin air since you will be riding above 10,000 feet. “Fall is the best time to head into the mountains” says Taylor Nye, manager of Golden Bike Shop. “The trails are dry, colors are changing, and the weather is cool. The ride to Georgia Pass is challenging, you need to be an intermediate to advanced rider, but it’s one of the most stunning ascents around, plus the return trip is awesome since it’s mostly downhill.”
The Colorado Trail starts in the parking area at Kenosha Pass. Overall, the ride is a 23-mile round trip that tops out at 11,855 feet.
Colorado ‘Cross Classic
For those who love cyclocross racing or are interested in trying it, head to Boulder County on October 13 for the Colorado Classic. This European import has been rapidly gaining fans across the country since the mid 1990’s due to its unique blend of road biking, mountain biking and approachability. Racers complete laps on a short course (2-3 km), with a variety of obstacles (stairs, hills, pavement, sand), for a set period of time (40-50 minutes).
The Colorado Classic regularly hosts over 700 racers of various skill levels. “It’s the perfect race to see if cyclocross is for you,” says Aaron Bouplon, Executive Director at the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado. “It’s early in the season and attracts a large raucous crowd cheering you on.”
Load your road bike and head to Aspen for a great weekend before the leaves drop and the celebrities flock to these hills, drawn by the glitz and glamour. Aspen might win the title of friendliest bike city in Colorado with numerous trails throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, welcoming locals and the fact the town has hosted a stage of the USA Pro Cycling tour every year.
The 24 mile out and back up Castle Creek road takes you up a moderate 1800 feet of climbing on a freshly paved road. Along the way you will pass numerous large stands of trees, ample wildlife, the ghost town of Ashcroft, with a turn around at Pine Creek Cookhouse where you can enjoy a well-earned lunch before your splendid decent.
“I’ve ridden all over the world. This is my favorite,” says Michael Wampler of Aspen Velo. Park near Michael’s shop at 465 N Mill St and head south to Main St/Hwy 82 for approximately one mile to Castle Creek, take a left and head up.
So what are you waiting for? Hop on your bike and enjoy the last few months of riding before the snow blankets the region and you exchange your pedals for skis.
Photo of Kenosha Pass by Zach White