Skieologians: the summer series
Tackling Colorado’s iconic cycling events
Well, this should be interesting.
Saturday morning will be one of the first times since late October that I won’t be out on snow cross-country skiing for the daily workout. Instead, I’ve traded the Speedmaxes’ for my archaic aluminum 29er mountain bike. This “original gravel grinder” is a model-T compared to today’s highfalutin all-carbon speed demons, but … it works. I wouldn’t say it gives me a real competitive chance; my standing in the cycling world makes Rich Strike look more like the 2007 New England Patriots.
The point is, May is typically when I use short rides to work my way into summer training. This year, however, I’ll be jumping right into the middle of the lake — without floaties.
Outside Events Cycling Series (formerly Roll Massif) recently announced a nine-part cycling series featuring the most “iconic courses in Colorado and New Mexico from May-September.” The lineup includes five road rides, two gravel races, and two 12-hour mountain bike races. This year, I’m going to attempt all of Outside’s events, starting Saturday in De Beque (pronounced “dee buke don’t chya know” according to my “How to Talk Minnesotan” guide.) with the Wild Horse Gravel.
Wild Horse Gravel – De Beque, CO – May 14, 2022
30 and 65 mile “wild west” gravel ride complete with campfires and country cookouts at the basecamp of High Lonesome Ranch.
Sunrise to Sunset (MTB) – Castle Rock, CO – June 4, 2022
12-hour endurance race for teams or solo athletes.
Elephant Rock (Road) – Castle Rock, CO – June 5, 2022
The final year of this Colorado cycling classic includes three road courses (45, 62, and 100 miles), a family friendly festival and expo and kids race. Celebrated 35 years of Elephant rock with bikes, bands and camaraderie.
Crooked Gravel – Winter Park, CO – July 23, 2022
The timed 67-mile ride includes over 5,000 vertical feet of winding climbs and wide-open descents and a $5,000 cash purse which I will have 0.01% chance of claiming.
Copper Triangle (Road) – Copper, CO – Aug. 6, 2022
A true classic, the 79-mile loop will include a QOM and KOM timed segment on Vail Pass with awards for the top three men and women.
Enchanted Circle (Road) – Red River, NM – Aug. 27 2022
“The Enchanted Circle Bicycle Tour is a scenic, southwest cycling experience with rolling hills, fast descents and rewarding climbs.” Back when I worked in Alamosa, I always dreamed of doing this legendary century ride and ending with a feast at Calvillos Mexican buffet.
Tour of the Moon (Road) – Grand Junction, CO – Sept. 10, 2022
This 41 or 62-mile route through Colorado National Monument was made famous from the 1980’s Coors Classic Tackle the 41-mile loop or metric century.
Tour de Vineyards (Road) – Palisade, CO – Sept. 17, 2022
After looping the 58-mile route over Reeder Mesa, and completing this challenge, how about a glass of wine to celebrate? Maybel I’ll do the 23-mile ride instead…
I’ve always believed, and I say this with the sincerest form of flattery, that there is no better way to develop intimacy with your surroundings than painfully grinding around all of its quiet backroads as your skin turns into a brown raisin. Now, I know not all of these are exactly in our backyard. They’re more ‘across the street’ from Vail. With an ambitious and talented bike community picking up the Vail Daily each morning, consider my detailed race reports fodder for your own fascinating in-state bike bucket lists.
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Many of these rides — the Copper Triangle or Crooked Gravel in Winter Park — have been on my wish list since I moved to Colorado. I have documented proof.
My cloud footprint would exasperate Al Gore. Polluted by the reckless annual creation of hundreds of race calendar options dating back to 1998, my Google spreadsheets — thanks to amazing technology — can be shared with important people, like my wife, as long as I have her email. Come to think of it, she recently created a new address, claiming she “needed more space for photos of our daughter.” The planner of the family, she is forced to graciously ask every couple of days, “Are you racing somewhere this weekend?
With many events canceled during the pandemic, chasing Fastest Known Times (FKT’s) or performing arbitrary made-up challenges like ‘Everesting,’ became all the rage. Presently, race fees and travel costs aren’t the same drop in the bucket they used to be. Alas, when the possibility for a good story exists, you go for it, but, for those readers with no interest in donning a race bib, I have something else we can work together on to collectively kindle the inspiration flames.
I’m supplementing Outside’s official events with my own 2022 Seder-Skier summer series: an off-the-wall, made up “go-out-and-do” list of inspiring (or psychopathic) arbitrary athletic challenges. If you want to wake up early, drive to the trailhead, sip coffee with me and try your hand at the day’s task, I’d love the company. If you’d rather read about my trials in a follow-up Skieologians column the next day, fine. If you want to come up with your own challenge and write me about it — even better!
They say if you put it on paper, you’re more likely to follow through. I’m wondering if putting it in the paper simply means I’m more likely to be embarrassed.
Wish me luck.
May 30 – Memorial Day Mad Dash (run)
Is there a better way to spend the holiday than sprinting up Notch Mountain? I didn’t think so. Coffee at the Halfmoon trailhead starts at 7:00 a.m.
Meet at the Minturn saloon Friday morning at 8 a.m. for an enjoyable 18.4 mile loop run/hike.
Aug. 13 – The Mount of the Holy Cross Triathlon (rollerski, bike, run/hike)
Come for one, two or all three if you’d like. We’re giving you time to train for this beast. Starting at the Dutch Henry Ski Hill in Leadville at 5 a.m., participant(s) will rollerski the 11-mile Mineral Belt before riding their bikes over Fremont and Vail Pass into Minturn to the start of Tigiwon road. If weather is fair, we’ll see you at the top.
Aug. 20 – TT up Mt. Evans (rollerski or bike)
Meet at Mt. Evans road at 6 a.m. for a FKT rollerski attempt up the 14er. Sending the bat signle to the SSCV Nordies.
Have an epic summer challenge/adventure story or a great idea to add to the calendar? Shoot me an email at email@example.com. As always, keep on striving.