It’s no surprise that the Centennial State claims a kickin’ road-race scene. But where do you fit in? It’s simple. Pick a race type that suits your cycling skills (distance = road race; cornering and pack riding = criterium; climbing = hill climb; master of the universe = omnium), and read below.
Wheels of Thunder Criterium
May 8 • Littleton
Wheels of Thunder has been put on by a Christian cycling club for years. And while the volunteers may be angels, don’t expect a cushy course. Sure, we like the sweeping turns, but two fairly significant uphill segments in the 1.6 mile loop, make for some grunting. Overall though, a heavenly choice for your first crit.
Sunshine Hill Climb
May 15 • Boulder
This infamous hill climb finishes 9.2 miles up Sunshine Canyon. The last three miles are dirt, hard packed enough to be safe for your skinny tires. If you’ve never climbed Sunshine, don’t make this your first time, as there are some uber-steep sections where you might not be able to pedal fast enough to keep from falling over. Ditto if you’ve never ridden your road bike on dirt switchbacks.
North Boulder Park Criterium
May 16 • Boulder
If you’re new, may we suggest watching or volunteering instead of racing? We’re just being respectful of the fact that this race sees more crashes on its .7-mile course than any other crit in Colorado. Blame it on the hairpin turns, or the freaky chicane on the backside of the course, or the squirrel who jumped in last year, this is one rough and tumble ride.
Hugo Road Race
May 22 • Hugo
Long live long road races! It’s a bit of a haul to Hugo, but where else could you find 78 miles of empty, pristine road to race? Expect a little bit of wind out in the plains, which can turn gusty. The pack usually stays together until about 25 miles in, when some uphill terrain presents itself and the real fun starts.
Morgul-Bismark Road Race
May 30 • Superior
The notorious 13-mile loop of the 1970’s and 80’s Red Zinger Classic and Coors International Classic is back. The loop has three climbs, the final being the gradual incline known as “the wall” which culminates in a 12 percent grade. The course was featured in the cycling film, American Flyers. So it’s only fitting that the race has been resurrected on the movie’s 25th anniversary.
Rocky Mountain Omnium
June 11-13 • Glenwood Springs
The Rocky Mountain omnium makes for a darn near-prefect summer weekend. You’ll start with a 20k time trial on Friday afternoon along the Roaring Fork River. Saturday’s criterium takes place in downtown Carbondale, and is fast and flat to make up for the rollers on the time trial course. Sunday’s 60-mile road race along the Colorado River encompasses every type of terrain, making it a true all-arounder’s course. rockymountainomnium.com
June 20 • Niwot
A Front Range classic, this crit is known for being fast, flat, and technical. There are seven corners on the 1-mile course through historic downtown Niwot. Two are sharper than 90 degrees, which translates into a lot of breakaways and team tactics, making for an exciting race.
Ride the Rockies
Spend a week riding the Rocky Mountains this summer with 2,000 of your closest friends. This year’s 25th anniversary Ride the Rockies course will take you from Grand Junction to Salida. Averaging 60-70 miles per day, you’ll ascend four of Colorado’s most scenic mountain passes (Red Mountain, Coal Bank, Wolf Creek and Poncha), cross Molas Divide, and experience two natural wonders (Colorado National Monument and the Grand Mesa). Unlike the other events in this issue’s calendar, Ride the Rockies is noncompetitive, except perhaps to see who acquires the least amount of saddle sores.