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Upper Arkansas Valley

Cycling Guide 2011

Chaffee & Lake Counties In This issue:

• USA Pro Challenge • Complete Cycling Events Calendar • Salida Mountain Trails Expand • Mineral Belt Trail a National Attraction • Leadville • Salida • Buena Vista

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Area Mountain Bike Guide INside




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. Cycling Guide 2011


Best in the West -> Since the mid-80s when AVP first published a cycling guide much has changed. The focus then was on the “new” sport of mountain biking, featuring Upper Arkansas Valley rides from easy to epic and a mild year-round climate. Fat tracking remains a significant part of the biking scene, but cycling has blossomed. Road biking now rivals its mountain counterpart and cross and cruiser riding have become popular as well.

contents 4-6 8 10 12 14 16

USA Pro Challenge Leadville Trail 100 Ride the Rockies Area Road Cycling Area Cycling Clubs Buena Vista Area Rides

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Cycling events have exploded, from the Leadville Trail 100 to the Salida Classic and the inaugural USA Pro Challenge with the first mountain stage start in Salida. In the past 25 years trails have multiplied, including the Mineral Belt in Leadville, Whipple in Buena Vista and the Arkansas Hills and Little Rainbow in Salida. In any of the three towns visitors can leave from motels, hop on bikes and be on a trail in minutes. While trails abound in the

Salida Mountain Trails Mineral Belt Trail Upper Arkansas Valley Map Crest Crank Event Cycling Events

Upper Arkansas Valley Cycling Guide © 2011 by Arkansas Valley Publishing Co., 125 E. 2nd St., Salida, Co. 81201. All rights reserved. Use of any part of this publication requires prior, written permission from the publisher. The Upper Arkansas Vallely Cycling Guide is a special edition of The Mountain Mail in Salida, The Chaffee County Times in Buena Vista and The Leadville Herald Democrat. It is distributed free of charge throughout the region made possible by the advertisers herein. For cycling information on the Web go to NowThisIsColorado.com.

1.800.871.5145

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high country, those wanting to ride from or into town have numerous options. Toting kids? Bring ’em. We’re talking family-friendly riding for literally every ability, interest and age. Downtowns offer parks, eateries and shops giving groups choices on things to do and places to do them. With a variety, climate, convenience, affordability and family-friendliness that’s second to none, sample some of the best biking in the West.

Rainbow Trail Monarch Crest Trail Midland Trail Castle Rock Trail Colorado Trail Mt. Princeton

33 34 35 36

Colorado Trail Shavano Colorado Trail Fooses Twin Lakes Turquoise Lake

Note: All maps represented herein are based on current information and provide general information to readers. AVP does not guarantee their accuracy. Please consult other map sources for topographical and other related information. Contributors: Kevin Hoffman, Andrew Miller, Kathy Keidel, Keith Baker, Marcia Martinek, Sibyl Teague, Tom Purvis, Holly Russell and Merle Baranczyk Cover photo courtesy Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau/Brian Stocker/www.stockerphoto.com.

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World's Best

Top pro cyclists through county this summer in USA race By Kevin Hoffman • Salida Professional stage racing returns to the Colorado Rockies and with it a slew of the best road cyclists in the world will compete against each other and the altitude while winding over the high alpine passes of the Sawatch Range and the Continental Divide. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will bring Category 1 racing back to Colorado in a race billed as America’s answer to the Tour de France. With stages set from Aug. 22-28, Chaffee County with its central location will be at the forefront of the race. Two stages will take place within the county with the first mountain stage start Aug. 23 in Salida and the second stage Aug. 24 through Buena Vista. Conceived by Lance Armstrong and former Gov. Bill Ritter, the race is expected to be the most demanding professional bicycle race ever held in the U.S. Over seven days, racers will cover nearly 600 miles winding over the Rocky Mountains and some of the highest mountain passes in the country. With elevations over 12,000 feet, downhills reaching 60 miles per hour and riders exposed to 50 percent less oxygen than normal, organizers expect Colorado to showcase a race that is expected to gain global recognition. Sanctioned by Union Cycliste Internationale, a European governing body, the race was first introduced as the Quizno’s Pro Challenge. In April it became the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. The Pro Cycling Challenge will host as many as 128 professional cyclists from 16 teams. “More or less, it is the Tour de France coming to Colorado,” said Angela Damman, head of the local organizing committee. “With top teams confirmed, more teams from the Tour are going to follow.” Under the leadership of Shawn Hunter, Pro Challenge co-chairman, the race already has signed 10 initial teams. RadioShack, Liquigas-Cannondale, HTC-Highroad, Slipstream Sports/Garmin-Cervelo, BMC Racing, United Healthcare Pro Cycling, Team Type 1-sanofi aventis, Leopard/Trek, Skil-Shimano and Team Spidertech Powered By C10 are the first teams to commit to the Challenge. With the 2011 Tour de France concluding on July 24, other international teams are expected to join the list. The Colorado event boasts high-altitude competition in the middle of the cycling season for some of the sport’s brightest stars. Damman is also race director for the local Salida

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Classic, three days of road racing scheduled for July 29-31 by South Central Racing. She said the caliber of rider coming for the Challenge will be at a higher level than any other cycling event in Colorado. In addition, the stage race will arrive in Chaffee Continued on page 6

The 2011

USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stages

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. Cycling Guide 2011

Aug. 22 – Stage 1 Prologue time trial, Colorado Springs Aug. 23 – Stage 2 Salida to Crested Butte, the first mountain stage Aug. 24 – Stage 3 Gunnison to Aspen, mountain stage routing through Buena Vista Aug. 25 – Stage 4 Vail, time trail, former Coors Classic stage Aug. 26 – Stage 5 Avon to Steamboat Springs Aug. 27 – Stage 6 Steamboat Springs to Breckenridge Aug. 28 – Stage 7 Golden to Denver


Cycling Guide 2011 NowThisIsColorado.com




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Salida Classic racers • Andy Reimenschneider

For more information about the Salida Stage Start, including route information, visit SalidaStageStart.com.



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County at a time when tourism begins to taper and river levels are dropping. The Pro Challenge is expected to provide exposure for the area and a spike in tourism. A television deal with the NBC Sports Group and their Versus Network will provide 25 hours of coverage during the stages. Versus will cover 3.5 hours each day and NBC will carry live coverage during the final stage of the race from noon to 2 p.m. on Aug. 28 while riders approach the finish line in Denver. Legendary cycling announcer Paul Sherwen was at the press conference announcing the TV deal. It’s believed that Sherwen and regular co-anchor of the Tour de France Phil Liggett will provide commentary. Chaffee County takes part in the first two mountain stages. Aug. 23, Salida at 7,036 feet hosts the start with a route up U.S. 50 over the Sawatch Range and 11,312-foot Monarch Pass to Crested Butte. The start features a racers’ pit in which cyclists interact with fans and a parade roll-out with laps around Salida before cyclists head up and over the Continental Divide. Aug. 24, Stage 3 starts in Gunnison, heads up 12,129-foot Cottonwood Pass, dips to 7,954-foot Buena Vista then turns north on U.S. 24 to Twin Lakes to climb 12,095-foot Independence Pass. The two spectacular Sawatch Range passes mean racers must contend with a total elevation gain of nearly 8,000 feet. Stage 3 will likely be billed as the Pro Challenge’s premiere stage similar to the high attitude Alpe d’Huez finish in the Tour de France. The back-to-back 12,000-foot passes will be Pro Challenge racers’ biggest single-day test. The east sides of Monarch and Independence passes and the west side of Cottonwood offer spectators great opportunities to view racers cranking up the climbs.

Downtown Salida is the Pro Challenge’s first mountain stage start. The second stage will travel through Buena Vista from Crested Butte. From Buena Vista, racers will head north to Twin Lakes and Lake County to race over Independence Pass to Aspen. The first race in the Pro Challenge is the Prologue set for Monday, Aug. 22 in Colorado Springs.

. Cycling Guide 2011


Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com




Endurance Trail 100 series

By ANN E. WIBBENMEYER • Leadville A big change came to the racing scene in Leadville last summer with the announcement of a limited partnership between Leadville Trail 100 President Ken Chlouber and Life Time Fitness Chairman, President and CEO Bahram Akradi. “The Leadville Trail 100 organization and event series now are a part of Life Time Fitness and its family of athletic events,” the announcement said. The Leadville Trail 100 events are now referred to as the Leadville Race Series, which is a “more crystal clear” way of branding the events, said Ken Cooper, vice president of endurance for Life Time Fitness in Minnesota. The Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race will be signing up 1,700 entrants this year, said Cooper. This is up from the 1,600 entrants in 2010. This will include 300 racers who qualify through the new series of qualifying races. Three have been planned, and in the coming years, there could be up to eight qualifying races. The goal of these races, said Cooper, is to offer opportunities beyond the lottery for racers interested in the Leadville race to enter. Locals will still be guaranteed entry, he said. Racers will now be lined up according to past performance, with the professional racers at the beginning and the slower, beginner racers taking up the end of the line of the mass start. Ken Chlouber, founder of the race series, and Merilee Maupin, past race coordinator, will still do all they want to help for the event, such as starting the races and handing out medals at the end. They will not have to worry about the day-to-day operations. The race series is expecting the same level of volunteer participation as has been seen in the past, said Cooper. Life Time Fitness and the Leadville races have been known for taking care of their volunteers, he said. “Volunteers are near and dear to the success of the event,” he added.

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2010 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race champion Levi Leipheimer at the finish of the race in downtown Leadville.

Volunteers are given preference points in the lottery for the next year for helping with the races. As “endurance junkies,” Cooper said the company will always be looking for opportunities for more endurance events in the Leadville area. Leadville, he said, can’t be replicated. The altitude cannot be taken anywhere else. The company can only add things to the events to make them better. “We are privileged and honored to welcome the Leadville series to our portfolio,” he said.

Life Time Fitness . Leadville Trail 100 Events

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Leadville Silver Rush 50-Mile Mountain Bike Race July 16, 2011

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Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race August 13, 2011

. Cycling Guide 2011

24 Hours of Leadville Mountain Bike Race September 3-4, 2011


Welcome to the Arkansas Valley! We hope you enjoy riding in Leadville!

Join the Cloud City Wheelers in our trail-building efforts throughout the summer. • Every Wednesday afternoon • June 2-5, 2011 • National Trails Day with the IMBA Trail Care Crew Visit our website at www.cloudcitywheelers.org for more info.

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Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com




Ride the Rockies

Annual cycling tour through Colorado makes stop in BV

The complete 2011 route is: June 11

Crested Butte – Registration

June 12

Crested Butte to Buena Vista 76 miles Cottonwood Pass – 12,126 ft.

June 13

Buena Vista to Edwards 76 miles Tennessee Pass – 10,424 ft. Battle Mountain

June 14 A previous Ride the Rockies tour rounds the bend at the Malta Curve and schoolhouse near Leadville. The population of Buena Vista will more than double in size June 12, as Ride The Rockies bicycle tour rolls into town. Buena Vista has been selected as one of six communities to host this year's tour, scheduled June 11-17, 2011. Two thousand cyclists will begin their 412mile journey in Crested Butte and will be treated to six mountain passes and one scenic loop ride, for a total elevation gain of 22,000 feet, before finishing in historic Georgetown. Ride The Rockies will start in Crested Butte and then travel to Buena Vista, Edwards, Steamboat Springs, Granby, and finish in Georgetown for the tour end finale on June 17. This will be the fifth time in the 26-year history of Ride The Rockies that Buena Vista has been chosen as an overnight host town. “Cottonwood Pass is arguably the most scenic and challenging pass in this year's tour. Buena Vista will be a welcomed site as cyclists will be ready to rest their weary legs,” says Chandler Smith, tour director. While the tour route changes each year, the benefits and responsibilities of the host communities remain the same. Benefits include publicity generated, positive economic impact, fund-raising opportunities and a grant provided to an eligible non-profit agency in each host town by the Denver Post Community

Foundation. In 2010, cyclists spent an average of $250,000 in a 24-hour time period in each town. Many cyclists also plan to return as tourists. Host communities support the tour by providing lodging, community meals and entertainment for the cyclists. Over 4,000 applications are expected for the 2,000 spots available for this year’s ride. Riders on past Ride The Rockies have represented all 50 states and 18 foreign countries. Ride The Rockies is a non-competitive event open to cyclists of all ages, and riders are encouraged to ride at their own pace.

Edwards to Steamboat 80 miles Yellow Jacket Pass – 7,428 ft

June 15

Steamboat Loop Ride 52 miles Twentymile Rd.

June 16

Steamboat to Granby 78 miles Rabbit Ears Pass – 9,426 ft. Muddy Pass - 8,772 ft.

June 17

Granby to Georgetown 50 miles Berthoud Pass – 11,307 ft.

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. Cycling Guide 2011


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Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

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Skinny tires, great rides

Riders discovering area’s array of county, state road alternatives The best time to ride is early mornings. At sun-up, the air’s cool, sun is warming, wind is light, meadowlarks cheer you on and traffic is light.

Salida county roads:

Just west of Salida, the aforementioned CRs 120, 140 and 160 provide off-highway rides. For a 14-mile loop from downtown, head west on CR 160, Crestone Blvd., by Salida Golf Club, out to Frantz Lake then to U.S. 285. Then turn south on 285 up Hurricane Hill and head east on CR 140 passing Harriet Alexander Field and on down Airport Hill. For another option turn north at 160/285 to 291 back to Salida.

U.S. 24 offers a decent shoulder to Balltown and about a 20-inch shoulder on into Leadville where 12mile Mineral Belt Trail or the Turquoise Lake Loop are fun choices.

Monarch Pass, 21 miles:

Poncha Springs Villa Grove, 44 miles:

For longer loops we suggest:

West from Salida on U.S. 50, it’s an elevation gain of 4,200 feet to the top of the pass, 11,312 feet. The last 7 miles are a relentless climb. Early mornings are best before traffic builds.

From Poncha Springs, head south on U.S. 285. Poncha Pass is gentle as passes go, topping out at 9,010 feet, an elevation gain of 1,500 feet from town. Once you are over the pass about 3 miles, the shoulder narrows from 2 to 3 feet to about 18 inches all the way to Villa Grove. The Villa Grove General Store provides snacks or lunch before heading back.

Starting from the U.S. 24-Colo. 82 intersection at Balltown, the route passes Twin Lakes and the townsite of Twin Lakes (don’t blink) on up to 12,095 feet. Views are terrific, particularly the last 4 miles to the top. Pavement is so-so.

Those wanting an ultra or training for a brevet series or for two-day road trips, try these routes. Be sure to carry lights, rain gear and a ton of water since convenience stores can be sparse.

North Pass:

Head south from BV on CR 321, Rodeo Road, to Mount Princeton. The short descent to the hot springs is steep so take care. Then head east on CR 162 to Nathrop and return to BV via U.S. 285.

From Salida, head west on U.S. 50 over Monarch Pass to Parlin; turn south on Colo. 114 and the gradual ascent over North or Cochetopa Pass. It’s a narrow but generally quiet road to Saguache then it’s U.S. 285 back to Poncha Springs and Salida. Heading out, stock up on water at Monarch Crest — no services for 85 miles to Saguache, unless you detour to Gunnison, 8 miles each way. 160 miles.

Cottonwood Pass, 21 miles:

Poncha/Gunnison/ Cottonwood/Buena Vista:

Buena Vista - Princeton Nathrop, 22 miles:

West from Buena Vista’s stoplight, it’s a gain of 4,200plus feet plus to the top, 12,126 feet, with some rolling ups and downs. With two stretches of 10 percent grades of a mile each, this is one tough ride. The rewards are spectacular mountain scenery, relatively

Keith Baker, avid road cyclist and owner of The Trailhead outdoor gear store in Buena Vista, has an idea for cyclists who might want to get in a great ride before seasonal crowds arrive. If you can find out the day when state NowThisIsColorado.com

BV-Leadville-BV, 74 miles:

Independence Pass, 25 miles:

Local's tip -> 12

light traffic, a half-dozen hairpins and good pavement which make Cottonwood a locals’ favorite.

Head west on U.S. 50 over Monarch to Gunnison; take Colo. 135 north to Almont; veer right onto Taylor River Road then east up the Cottonwood Pass Road. The west side to the top is not paved but hard packed and treated for dust making it passable on a road bike. It’s

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Road riders can choose from a variety of routes for outings of a half hour to day-long adventures. One of the classic Upper Arkansas Valley rides traverses between Salida and Buena Vista. It offers a number of alternative routes with stunning views of Sawatch Range peaks to the west. The quickest and shortest route of 23 miles (ignore CDOT’s mileage signs; they’re long) takes riders from Salida on Colo. 291 northwest 7 miles to U.S. 285 then north 16 miles to BV. But that’s just one of many possibilities. For another, from downtown BV take Main St. west from the stoplight about a mile to Rodeo Road, CR 321. Turn left, south. To the west, Mt. Princeton at 14,197 feet is just one of the featured 14ers. At 7 miles or so, CR 321 winds down to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs. Be careful on the downhill. Turn left, east on CR 162 then a right – south on CR 270. At about 5 miles 270 turns east to connect with U.S. 285. Head south a mile to Centerville. Turn right on CR 260 then a quick left south. CR 260 comes back out on U.S. 285. Head south on U.S. 285 to Colo. 291 or continue south to CRs 160, 140, 120 or U.S. 50 and east back to Salida. Depending on the route it’s up to 30 miles but much of the riding can be on county roads which avoids heavy traffic on 285. And speaking of traffic, summers on 24, 285 or 50 can be heavy. Be alert. Single file, far right and heads up is the only way to ride these highways. Be especially careful on U.S. 50 west of Poncha Springs up Monarch Pass or U.S. 24 east of Johnson Village up Trout Creek Pass.

highway or county road officials plan to open a pass to vehicular traffic, consider going for a ride over that pass a day or two before it’s opened, Baker suggests. You may find you have the whole route to yourself.

. Cycling Guide 2011


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Out clubbing

Area cycling organizations build trails, comaraderie summer to teach the volunteers to build more sustainable single-track. Also under discussion is the possibility of connecting the Mineral Belt Trail to the Turquoise Lake Road for road bikers, said Feddema. The group promotes more bike riding by putting on events throughout the year as well, including the Winter Mountain Bike Series of races in the snow. The club also hosts a local Trips for Kids chapter to provide bike outings and environmental education for kids who wouldn’t otherwise get out on two wheels. Group rides are organized each week for all ability levels. Women-only rides were added last summer to the organized rides. Information about events and membership is found at cloudcitywheelers.org.

South Central Racing Single-track trails in Lake County.

Cloud City Wheelers

By Ann E. Wibbenmeyer • Leadville The Cloud City Wheelers are like-minded peddlers who have come together to promote cycling in the Lake County area. The club has seen an increase in membership over the last year to almost 80 members. Most are inactive, but the membership dues, $25 per person or $50 for families, go toward building new trail systems within Lake County. The membership also offers a 10-percent discount at a local bike shop, Cycles of Life. During the summer of 2010, volunteers from Cloud City Wheelers added about 3.5 miles of trail on county-owned land behind Colorado Mountain College. These new trails also connect with existing trails, such as the Boulders. This was the first phase in the new trails project, which included a lot of hand building. “The camaraderie and community of the riders built those trails,” said Brian Feddema, member of the club. Members who put in 10 hours of volunteer work on Cloud City Wheelers projects, such as trail building, will get an additional 10-percent discount at the bike shop, for a total of 20 percent. A solid crew of five to six people turned out for trail building every Wednesday, and some weeks saw up to 10 helpers joining the effort. The next phase of trails will be on flatter ground, allowing for more building using hand-operated machines. The International Mountain Bike Association will be joining the Cloud City Wheelers between June 3 and 5 this

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While South Central Racing jerseys are most commonly seen on riders looping county roads on skinny tires, the cycling club also has a presence on the single-track around Salida and Buena Vista. Started in 2004 SCR is also referred to as the Amicas Cycling Club, in connection to their title sponsor. Salida racers tired of traveling to the Front Range, or farther, for competitions initiated the club as a way for riders with competitive racing backgrounds to train together and bring a race to the area. That race became the Salida Omnium, a three-day series of road races established by the club. SCR may have come from competitive beginnings, but a byproduct of starting the club was the sense of community fostered by its members. Group rides for all abilities are held on a weekly basis during the riding season. South Central Racing consists of riders of all ability levels who volunteer their time in exchange for racing sponsorship. A typical commitment is 30 hours spent volunteering at SCR events that include a trash pickup, working with Chaffee County Mentors or their junior program, constructing single-track with Salida Mountain Trails, working on their annual gear swap and organizing race events. It is now the core cycling community in central Colorado and members organize group rides throughout the year. It was started as a road cycling club, however, riders are branching out into mountain biking events and several junior riders are invested in the new Colorado high school league. Membership is open to everyone. The SCR mission is to support all aspects of cycling in central Colorado through involvement with a community of riders, racers and kids on bikes. Members ride together, encourage safe cycling, support local racers, promote events and most importantly have fun. For more information, see southcentralracing.com.

. Cycling Guide 2011

Continued on page 22


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Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

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Buena Vista Area rides

Beautiful views offered in any language CR 376 A R K A SA S RI

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Arkansas River: For a ride along the river, turn east on Arkansas Street from U.S. 24 then turn left onto CR 371 where Arkansas Street ends. Or, ride 0.25 miles east from the stoplight at U.S. 24 and Main Street then turn left (north) onto N. Colorado Ave. (N. Colorado becomes CR 371 at the Buena Vista city limits). This is an easy ride on a dirt road and along the way you’ll pass through four tunnels from the days of the old Colorado Midland Railroad. You’ll also pass beautiful rock formations where local climbers perfect their moves. It’s 10 miles to the end of the road at the Otero Pump Station; turn back sooner for a shorter ride. Fourmile Road: For a more difficult ride, turn right onto CR 375 from CR 371 (just south of the tunnels). Called Fourmile Road, this route climbs steeply for more than 6 miles to a magnificent viewpoint of Buena Vista, the Sawatch Range’s Collegiate Peaks, and the Arkansas Valley. From the intersection of CR 371 and CR 375, climb up CR 375 for a little more than 5 miles. At the intersection with CR 377, continue straight and uphill on CR 377 until you cross the crest of the ridge. Glide downhill for another .75 miles to a large pullout on the left. Watch for traffic on your way back to the river. Lenhardy Cutoff: This rugged road, CR 376, is the gateway into the limitless riding options on the OHV trails of the Fourmile Recreation Area. From the intersection of CR 371, climb up CR 375 for 1 mile. Turn right onto CR 376 (The Lenhardy Cutoff). After passing several OHV trails, you’ll cross Fourmile Creek in just under a mile. Continue climbing for another mile and you’ll reach the intersection with FR 311. From here you can either stay on the Lenhardy Cutoff until it merges with the Midland Bicycle Trail, or bear left to climb on FR 311 all the way to Trout Creek Pass.

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Brady Rd

The town of Buena Vista offers easy access to rides with

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beautiful views of the Sawatch Range's Collegiate Peaks. Perhaps it’s no accident then that the town's name in Spanish means just that — a beautiful view. We suggest the following routes often used by local mountain bike enthusiasts. Whipple Trail: Local bikers like to workout on the loops of the Whipple Trail. Access this trail network from the footbridge crossing the Arkansas at the end of East Main Street. There are four segments open to mountain bikers: the Midland Bike Trail (South Loop), the Midland Stage Road, the North Loop, and the recently opened TR 6032A (on the east side of CR 304). It’s possible to create several fun looping circuits in this area. This is part of the Buena Vista River Park, a 1OO-acre public area that includes trails, fishing access, kayak and rafting play areas, picnic spots, sport fields and more. Crossman Avenue rides: Several rides start at Crossman Avenue (CR 350), west off U.S. 24 at the north end of town. For a leisurely ride along the foothills of the 14,000-foot peaks of the Sawatch Range, take Crossman to CR 361 then ride north along CR 361. North Cottonwood Creek: For a more difficult ride, take Crossman to CR 361 then make a sharp left onto CR 365. Follow the U.S. Forest Service signs west to North Cottonwood Creek. Plan on a substantial elevation gain.

NowThisIsColorado.com . Cycling Guide 2011 Headwaters of Adventure . Mountain Bike Guide 2009


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Cycling Guide 2011. NowThisIsColorado.com

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Salida Mountain Trails

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ARKANSAS HILLS TRAIL SYSTEM By Tom Purvis • Salida Salida Mountain Trails/Salida Area Parks Open Space and Trails is an all-volunteer group of local citizens committed to expanding and improving trail resources near Salida. In partnership with the City of Salida, the Bureau of Land Management, and the U.S. Forest Service, with key support from Absolute Bikes, the City of Salida and Arrowhead Trails, Salida Mountain Trails has been able to add many miles of new trail to the systems near Salida. In 2010 the group was able to expand the Arkansas Hills Trail System in the Tenderfoot Mountain area, adding 5 miles of spectacular new trails and reroutes. The Arkansas Hills Trail System is conveniently located close to downtown Salida, and stays clear of snow for much of the year since it faces south. The Methodist Mountain Trail System, located on the slopes of Methodist Mountain south of Salida, saw some new trail action in 2010 as well. A new trailhead up CR 110 marks the start of the Little Rainbow, a fabulous 5-mile beginner-intermediate trail that connects to Lost Trail, Dead Bird Trail and the Racetrack. The progress made in 2010 brings Salida into a new era with two trail systems open from nine to 12 months of the year that offer more than 20 miles of great single-track, all accessible right from town without driving.

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The Frontside Trail is a gateway into the Arkansas Hills Trail System, and it starts just a few pedal strokes from the F Street Bridge. At the top of Frontside you’ll find a kiosk with a map of the trail system and other useful information, and a great view of Salida, the Sawatch Range and the valley. The Methodist Mountain Trail System and the trailhead at the west end of the Little Rainbow on CR 110 is accessible by riding west about Pauli a mile on the paved Monarch Spur Trail starting near Absolute Bikes and Uncle the Coors Boat Ramp. Turn south at Holman Ave. to the stoplight at U.S. 50, turn right then a quick left onto CR 110. At about a half mile, the road becomes gravel. From the start of the gravel to Prospector the trailhead is a mild 10 to 20 minute climb depending on how hard you push Ba ck b the pedals. From 50 to the trailhead is about 2.3 miles. The trailhead turnoff is just before the power line. Got a friend, son or daughter, or N anyone else who’s new to riding and wants to ride single-track but without a bunch of difficult climbing, technical sections or exposure? The Little ©AVP, 2010 Rainbow in the Methodist Mountain 250 500 Trail System is absolutely perfect for Meters the new rider who wants to have a positive learning experience, but still fun and engaging for the experienced rider. It’s fairly wide and smooth, the climbs are moderate, the curves are gentle and it rolls and dips through beautiful pinon and juniper forest. Do you want to work on your technical riding skills? North Backbone, the newest section of the Arkansas Hills Trail System’s Backbone, brings some great technical cross-country riding to the area. There are some challenges there that will test the best riders, and give an advanced-intermediate rider a chance to work on moves. Want to go big on a really tough free-ride trail, complete with rock drops and hero lines? Climb up to the Pauli Trail and put yourself to the test on the way down Unkle Nazty in the upper reaches of the Arkansas Hills Trail System. In 2011 Salida Mountain Trails is planning to extend the Little Rainbow to the west, eventually linking to Poncha Springs. Possible completion of the Backbone could be in the works as well, linking Cottonwood Wash to a new trailhead east of the F Street Bridge at Sweetwater Gulch. If you are in Salida during the summer and planning to hit the Monarch Crest and other high country favorites in the area, take a little tour of the “right from town” riding on the Arkansas Hills and Methodist Mountain trail systems when you have a few hours to spare. If you’re here during March, April, May or late September through Christmas time, definitely go by a bike shop to pick up a map and get some beta. Check out these new up-and-coming off-season riding areas.


HWY 91

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Mineral Belt Trail built for recreation The Leadville Mineral Belt Trail is an 11.6-mile, nonmotorized, paved, two-lane trail winding around and through Leadville. It was designed and built to provide a 12-foot-wide paved surface with adjacent 3-foot-wide soft-surface recovery zones, and includes two grade-separated bridges crossing county roads. It has an average grade of 3 percent, with maximum sustained grades of 5 percent. Mile markers and signs tell users the altitude on various parts of the trail. These were placed as the result of visitor surveys. In 2002, the U.S. Department of the Interior honored the trail by designating it a National Recreation Trail. The Mineral Belt Trail passes through the historic and famous Leadville Mining District while offering spectacular views of the 14,000-foot mountain peaks of the Sawatch and Mosquito ranges. Scattered along the trail are mining relics of the past. Riders see

a number of head frames, adits, tailing piles and various pieces of mining equipment such as ore cars, dynamite cars, man-trips, rock drills and more. Take time to read the interpretive signs and visit the information kiosks along the way. Each has a story and a picture of what occupied that particular site more than a century ago. It’s not necessary to travel the entire 11.6 miles to enjoy the trail. There are five recognized accesses offering opportunity for shorter sections: Ice Palace Park; Lake County Middle School; U.S. 24 at Dutch Henry Hill; CR 2 at California Gulch; and the East 5th Street Bridge. Dogs are permitted on the trail, but must be leashed, and owners must clean up after them. Information about the trail and scheduled events is at mineralbelttrail.com.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

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Cycling Guide 2011. NowThisIsColorado.com

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Events & Themes: Sunday, May 29 Sunday, June 12  Friday, June 24 Monday, July 4

->

BV Cruiser Club

Redneck Mullet Kickoff Villians and Heroes T.G. It's Friday-1980's 4th of July Parade and afternoon potluck Sunday, July 17 Vintage circus Freakshow July 28-30 Collegiate Peaks Music Festival--Cruiser Parking and After Party Rides Friday, August 12 T.G. It's Friday Beach Party Sunday, August 21 Duct Tape and Bubble Wrap Sunday, Sept. 4 Season Finale Prom Ride! BV Cruiser Club riders. Jason Moore photo.

BV Cruiser Club

By Kathy Keidel • Buena Vista It’s time to spin into action and cruise into summer on your wheels. The BV Cruiser Club, founded by Jason and Natalie Moore, is beginning its third season of community bike rides in Buena Vista, beginning May 29. Newcomers to Buena Vista four years ago, they began the club as a way to meet new people and engage in the community. Jason is a self-employed structural engineer and Natalie is the program coordinator for Chaffee County Mentors. “The BV Cruiser Club is about showing up and showing off,” says Jason. “It’s free and family-friendly.” Rides are held twice each month and each ride centers on a fun theme. “The most popular one last year was the ’50s theme,” Natalie says. “Everyone dressed in amazing clothes and many showed up on vintage Schwinns.” Jason added, “It seemed to fill a niche right off the bat as 40 people showed up for the first ride.” Even the potluck dinner that followed the ride included casseroles in tune with the time period. Riders meet on Fridays or Sundays at 6 p.m. at McPhelemy Park. They ride together around the neighborhood, then through the BV stoplight, down East Main Street to South Main. Here the riders dismount for a “pit stop,” and a bit of fun with games in the park. After the break, the riders return to McPhelemy Park. Potluck meals occur once or twice during the three-month cruiser season. Riders arrive on all sorts, shapes and sizes of bikes. There are mountain bikes, bikes with kid trailers attached, children on training wheels and tiny tykes on trikes. Ryan “Fish” Cole captures attention on his unicycle. “One speed is all you need,” and the club is for all ages and abilities.

22

NowThisIsColorado.com

In addition to the fun, the club has shown up to support the community in many other ways. They have hosted a family night with Boys & Girls Clubs, participated in the Fourth of July Parade, the Christmas Parade of Lights and LiveWell Bike to Work Day. This summer they will help with the Collegiate Peaks Music Festival. They plan to increase their numbers of charitable events in the next year. Natalie said, “Last year it was very heartwarming to hear from one man how much he and his children look forward to the rides.” Jason added, “And when riders see each other out and about in town they give each other a bell ring and a wink and a nod. It’s that feeling of community and connection that initiated the club in the first place.” Soon more bike lanes will be visible in town through a grant made possible through LiveWell. Safety is always emphasized when groups are riding together and wearing helmets is encouraged. “It goes without saying,” Jason says, “that when people choose to ride, they are also making a statement about physical fitness and the environment.” The club has bicycle bumper stickers and T-shirts to promote the BV Cruisers. “We are a friendly group without a political agenda …we encourage everyone with wheels to join us. We move at a one-gear speed, stop to socialize and play and gather more friends along the way.” So join this “laughing group” and go a block in “granny!” Pull your bikes out from the winter storage shed and pedal on over to join Jason and Natalie for the upcoming BV Cruiser season.

Ark Valley Velo

By Andrew Miller • Buena Vista In 2008, Ark Valley Velo was formed by a group of concerned local cyclists who wanted to make a positive difference in their local community. The organization places

. Cycling Guide 2011


an emphasis on improving the cycling experience and providing additional cycling opportunities for cyclists of all abilities, ages and types. According to club president Kep Heinitz, “During the span of our relatively short existence, Ark Valley Velo has provided untold hours of volunteer service advocating for cyclists in the valley.” From a hands-on perspective, Ark Valley Velo has been busy constructing re-routes of damaged trails and making official previously unrecognized trails. On the 6034 trail, club members constructed almost one mile of new trail to replace a dangerously eroded section of the route. Club members also successfully lobbied for the formal addition of Trail 6032 to the system. Informally known as the “Broken Boyfriend” trail to locals, the addition of this trail officially opened an intermediate section of single-track to all nonmotorized trail users, immediately adjacent to the popular Barbara Whipple Trail system. In 2010, Ark Valley Velo joined with a group in Salida to create SBV Racing for high school athletes. SBV Racing was a participant in the inaugural season of the Colorado High School Cycling League. High school racers from Buena Vista and the surrounding area were supported by local riders, including club members, and sponsored by local businesses. “Ark Valley Velo, through Kep Heinitz, has made great contributions of time and money to make BV Racing a wonderful activity for the youth of our community.” said Jon Bernhard, BV racing coach. The first year was a great success in participation and results. As the team enters the second season of racing as BV Racing, more success is anticipated. An exciting new development for 2011 is a partnership with the Town of Buena Vista Recreation Department to construct a town pump track. A pump track is a cycling venue made of dirt berms and jumps in which an emphasis is placed on momentum and skill. The pump track will be located on town land near the Buena Vista River Park. According to Heinitz, Ark Valley Velo helped organize local support for the design and promotion of the venue and will contribute man hours toward its construction. A successful community event, a “Pump-a-Thon”, was held last fall to raise funds and awareness for this unique project. In addition to its advocacy and trail work, the club hosts local group rides both on-road and off-road for all abilities. Information can be found at local outdoors stores, or on the club’s Web site. Riders looking for a change of pace might also look into the regularly scheduled theme rides hosted by the BV Cruiser Club during the summer months. Ark Valley Velo, The Trailhead store in Buena Vista, and the BV Cruiser Club all post updates on mainstream social media sites. Cyclists interested in more information regarding Ark Valley Velo are encouraged to check out the club’s Web site at arkvalleyvelo.org. Those interested in helping with trail building/maintenance, working with the high school cycling team, or simply getting connected with other area cyclists can contact Kep Heinitz at (719) 2214838.

Ride the Divide,

help out local group

©Nathan Ward, NathanWard.com

The Monarch Crest Crank is the historic fund raiser for the Chaffee County Alliance Against Domestic Abuse (AADA) and this year it will be bigger and better than ever. To start with, the event will now be open to all ability levels and people who don’t even mountain bike. AADA will continue to offer advanced mountain bikers the chance to ride the famed Monarch Crest Trail, as it has since 1998. Less experienced mountain bikers will now have a chance to ride some of the great new single-track in Salida – the Salida Mountain Trails. The SMT represents one of the coolest community trail building projects in Colorado and the trails are suited to intermediate and beginner mountain bikers. Finally, for those who don’t mountain bike at all, there’s the Historic Salida Cruiser Ride for all ability levels. This ride will wind through the streets of Salida and take in some of the area’s more interesting historical spots. Want to learn about ghosts, gunfights and historic architecture without breaking a sweat? This is the ride for you. Entry remains $75, plus pledges, and includes the ride, guide, shuttle, T-shirt and of course, the legendary party in Riverside Park after the ride. The top fund-raiser wins a stylish new cruiser bike. Come join in the fun and help raise funds to support the important work of AADA. This year the ride is on August 21, and space is limited. Visit the website for complete details and registration – MonarchCrestCrank.com.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

23


Events Central Colorado Cycling Events Compiled by

Andrew Miller • Buena Vista Salida, April 17, 3psalida.com

Celebrate the changing of the seasons as you follow the snowmelt from the top of Monarch Pass to downtown Salida during this unique event. Solo competitors or teams backcountry ski from the top of the pass to an 8-mile mountain bike segment, and finish with a paddle down the Arkansas River, finishing at the F Street Bridge.

Buena Vista Bike Fest,

Buena Vista to Leadville, May 21, bvbf.org

Enjoy a beautiful road tour of the Upper Arkansas Valley. Multiple routes including 100-, 62-, 50-, and 35-mile distances. Theme for the 13th annual event is “The most fun you can have at over 10,000 feet.” Great aid stations and post-ride party in McPhelemy Park make this ride an early season Colorado classic.

FIBArk Cruiser Crit,

Salida, May 21, fibark.net

Popular race in downtown Salida where participants race “cruiser” style bikes through closed streets and alleys. Historically, money raised at the event is used to support entertainment at the FIBArk festival later in the year. Costumes are encouraged and the rules are fast and loose, but helmets are required. One of the highlights of the event is the kids’ race.

Ride the Rockies,

Crested Butte to Georgetown, June 11-17, ridetherockies.com One of the most famous and popular multi-day road tours returns to the Arkansas valley this summer. On Day 2, June 12, the 412-mile ride comes from Crested Butte to Buena Vista via Cottonwood Pass. The riders will spend the night in Buena Vista prior to heading north out of town to Edwards. Registration held by lottery in February.

FIBArk Mountain Bike Race, Salida, June 19, fibark.net

Enjoy a race on the moderately technical singletrack trails adjacent to downtown Salida. This is a great new tradition at FIBArk. Racers compete on the Arkansas Hills of the newly-developed Salida Moutain Trails.

Lap the Lake 50,

Leadville, June 25, lakecountyco.com/recreation/node/76

All abilities are welcome for one of the most challenging road races in Colorado. With a lowest elevation of 9,800 feet, this race is contested over 22or 50-mile distances. The reward is a hard day’s effort while riding in view of the highest peaks in Colorado.

Silver Rush 50,

Leadville, July 16, leadvilletrail100.com

This mountain-bike race heads from the base of Dutch Henry Hill in Leadville to a maximum elevation of 13,000 feet high above the East Side Mining District in Leadville. This is the Leadville 100 cut in half with the easy parts taken out. It’s an annual test of riders’ determination, guts and insanity.

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NowThisIsColorado.com

Tri-It-High/Du-It-High,

USA Pro Cycling Challenge,

Experience the majestic scenery of the Sawatch Range and the state’s two highest peaks, Mt. Elbert (14,440 feet) and Mt. Massive (14,428) on this rolling course suitable for all ability levels. The triathlon consists of a 500-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and a 5-kilometer run. The duathlon consists of a 5kilometer run, a 20-kilometer bike, and a 5-kilometer run. Individuals as well as teams are encouraged to apply. Questions may be directed to Larry Colley at (719) 486-7484.

The return of big-time pro-tour caliber racing to Colorado takes on three premier passes of Colorado’s famous Sawatch Range, Monarch, Cottonwood and Independence. Salida serves as the host city for the start of the first mountain stage which heads to Crested Butte via Monarch Pass. The next day sees the professional peloton leave Gunnison to travel through the Taylor River Valley, over Cottonwood Pass and into Buena Vista before heading north to climb Independence Pass into Aspen. Both stages will feature high-alpine excitement for visitors to the area.

Leadville, July 17, lakecountyco.com/recreation/node/183

2011 Courage Classic,

July 23-25, couragetours.com

This three-day event, which starts and ends in Leadville, raises funds for Children’s Hospital. Riders are encouraged to register early as the event last year sold out in June.

Salida Classic,

Salida, July 29-31, southcentralracing.com

This three-event road race has become one of the staples of the Colorado road racing scene. An omnium is a road race where a unique awards system based on points earned, rather than cumulative time, determines the winner. The race consists of three “stages.” They are a time trial, road race and criterium. The criterium course in downtown Salida is one of the most spectatorfriendly cycling events in the state.

Copper Triangle,

Copper Mountain and Leadville, Aug. 6, coppertriangle.com

This ride is a spectacular 78-mile loop, starting and finishing in Copper Mountain, which crosses Fremont Pass, Tennessee Pass and Vail Pass in one day. This noncompetitive road tour benefits the Davis Phinney Foundation. On its way between Fremont and Tennessee passes, the ride visits Leadville. This alpine classic is a great opportunity to ride these three passes in one day with the support of an organized tour.

Leadville Trail 100,

Leadville, Aug. 13, leadvilletrail100.com

The Arkansas valley hosts perhaps the most-famous ultra-distance mountain-bike race in the world. Positions for the start of this race were determined in February, but the 50-mile out-and-back course offers numerous opportunities for spectators to take in the excitement. Watch over 1,200 racers discover that they are better than they think they are and they can do more than they think they can.

Crest Crank,

Salida, Aug. 21, monarchcrestcrank.com

The Crank is an annual mountain bike tour from Monarch Pass to Salida. The descent from the pass follows the IMBA classic Monarch Crest Trail. The ride includes a shuttle to the top and picnic lunch after the ride with raffles and music. New this year will be a historic Salida cruiser ride and a Salida Mountain Trails ride.

. Cycling Guide 2011

Colorado Springs to Denver, Aug. 22-28, USAProCyclingChallenge.com

Tenderfoot Tri/Duathlon,

Salida, September 3-4, tenderfoottriathlon.com

Salida is the place for multi-sport athletes to spend the Labor Day weekend. In its 14th running this year, the triathlon event includes a 1,000-meter swim in the Salida hot springs pool, a 40-kilometer bike ride on quiet county roads, and a 10-kilometer run through Salida to the finish. The adult race is on Saturday and the popular kids’ race is held on Sunday.

24 Hours of Leadville,

Leadville, September 3-5, leadvilletrail100.com Endurance junkies rejoice! A variety of team categories join solo racers on a day through night on an almost 18-mile loop that runs from the Colorado Mountain College campus to the Black Cloud Mine. Racers and teams completing the most laps in the 24-hour period are crowned champions.

Vapor Trail 125,

Salida, Sept.10, vaportrail125.com

Those who know declare this mountain bike enduro as perhaps the most difficult anywhere. Riders cross the Continental Divide multiple times on their way to a cumulative climbing total of over 20,000 feet. This event has first-class support from a grassroots event through some of the most remote and rugged terrain of any mountain bike race in the world.

Mineral Belt Gold Tour,

Leadville, Sept. 10, mineralbelttrail.com

This noncompetitive tour of the Mineral Belt Trail in Leadville is a great way to enjoy the mining history of the area while taking in the fall colors. Contact the Mineral Belt Trail organization via its website contact information for additional details.

Cross at the River,

Buena Vista, TBD, southcentralracing.com

This fall the sport of cyclo-cross invades Buena Vista and the Arkansas River Valley. Cyclo-cross is a cycling discipline in which specialized road-type bikes are ridden off road around a circuit for a specific time. Obstacles requiring great skill and mandatory dismounts are included to keep things interesting. This race is held in the Buena Vista River Park and is spectator-friendly.

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Salida Pole, Pedal, Paddle,


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Little Rainbow Trail Kent Davidson Rating: Beginner to intermediate. Distance: 5 miles Time: Two to three hours as a connected loop ride from Salida. Less if done as an out and back from a trailhead. Elevation: Western trailhead begins at 7,850 feet with gentle climbing and descents to the eastern terminus at 7,560 feet. Racetrack and Lost Trails descend to the eastern trailhead at approximately 7,100 feet. Trails: Wide, rolling single-track connecting both county roads and other intermediate single-track trails. Access: A western trailhead is left off of CR 110 just north of the powerline and 2.3 miles south from the intersection of CR 110 and U.S. 50. There is also a BLM trailhead and parking area accessing the trail system south off of U.S. 50 just east of its junction with C.R. 105. The trailhead is at the end of “Burmac” road and connects the north ends of Racetrack and Dead Bird Trails that lead to the Little Rainbow. Ride Description: The 5-mile long Little Rainbow is the most recent addition to the Salida Mountain Trails network. It is a unique trail in a number of aspects. First, a trail building machine (SWEECO) was used which allowed the construction of a trail that is wider, smoother, and more gently sloping than any trail in the system. This makes it perfect for beginning or intermediate mountain bikers, with minimal side-trail exposure and plenty of room for passing. It is also the first new trail that Salida Mountain Trails has built on Methodist Mountain. Just south of U.S. 50 outside of Salida.

The Little Rainbow takes its name from the Rainbow Trail that also courses along the flank of Methodist Mountain, but at an elevation approximately 1,500 feet higher. The Little Rainbow is designated as “non-motorized,” making it appropriate for hiking, biking, and equestrian use. The trail winds in and out of piñon/juniper forest, while crossing a series of dry washes. It offers incredible views along its course, including the Salida and the Arkansas River valley to the north, and several of the 14,000-foot mountains of the Sawatch Range to the west. The trail is located on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management and was approved in the BLM 2008 Arkansas River Travel Management Plan. It extends roughly from the Castle Gardens geologic formation at its eastern boundary to a trailhead at CR 110 at its western boundary. The Little Rainbow connects existing trails, including Racetrack, Dead Bird, Lost and Skull trails, creating an important linkage to the trail system on Methodist Mountain. Connecting a variation of these trails can create a good loop ride from Salida. The BLM has constructed two trailhead parking areas to allow access to this system which are located at the end of “Burmac” road off U.S. 50 (at the north ends of Racetrack and Dead Bird Trails), and on CR 110, just north of the power line 2.3 miles south from the intersection of CR 110 and U.S. 50 connecting with the Skull Trail. Future plans are to continue the Little Rainbow westward, toward the town of Poncha Springs. The Little Rainbow has already become a popular trail among locals and should be on the “must-do” list for visitors mountain biking in the Salida area.

Want to volunteer?

->

Salida Mountain Trails depends on volunteer support to accomplish future projects. Regular Saturday workdays are scheduled throughout the year with occasional special events. Check at salidamountaintrails.org to see if you could join in a trail building session and put your elbow grease to good use hammering out new single-track. Then you can ride the trails proudly, knowing that you had a direct effect on the outcome. Salida Area Parks, Open Space and Trails, the parent organization, is a 501(c)3 non-profit, so your cash contribution could be a nice tax deduction.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

25


Rainbow Trail

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NowThisIsColorado.com

CR 10 108 CR

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Most cars can make it much of the way up the fourwheel drive portion of CR 108 if roads are dry. Riders can then do an out-and-back on the Rainbow’s single-track. Another popular option is to start as high on CR 101 as is comfortable to drive, and ride from that point to the trailhead on the side of Simmons Peak. Riders can then either ride the single-track Rainbow Trail to Methodist Mountain and return, or continue down Methodist to Salida and shuttle back up to their vehicle on Bear Creek Road. Ride Description: Approximately 2 miles east of the Salida city limits on U.S. 50, turn right or south onto CR 101. From U.S. 50 up Bear Creek to the Rainbow Trail, note the change in vegetation. The low point of the ride next to the Arkansas River is semi-arid. During the next 5 miles, the landscape changes from near desert to a lush, narrow, high mountain valley with beaver ponds, aspen and mountain wildflowers. Riders also get great views of Simmons and Hunts peaks, coming through the trees and around the bends heading up Bear Creek. After 1 mile, cross the Chaffee/Fremont County line. Continue another 2.4 miles on Fremont CR 49 to the cattle guard, the national forest boundary. At this point, the road becomes a single lane four-wheel drive road, FR 101.3. Slightly more than 2.5 miles up the four-wheel drive road, ford Bear Creek. The road is closed just beyond the creek crossing. Look for a single-track trail, FST 1336, on your right and continue generally west. The next 6 miles are excellent single-track, almost all of which

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Rating: Intermediate to advanced. Distance: 20 miles. Time: Two to four hours. Elevation: Low point — 6,950 feet; high point — 9,100 feet. Trails: 6 miles excellent single-track; 5 miles four-wheel drive road; 9 miles graded or paved road. Maps: USGS Topo maps — 15 minute: Cameron Mountain, Bonanza and Howard. San Isabel National Forest Map. The topos do not show the trail, but give an idea of the terrain. The trail is indicated on the Forest Service map. Access: This route can be a loop that starts and finishes in Salida. Others prefer to ride this section by setting shuttles as high as is comfortable driving vehicles up CR 108 or CR 101.

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In spite of its difficulty, it is a favorite of local riders who jump on bikes in Salida for an invigorating ride up a beautiful drainage, taking in 6 miles of sensational single-track before bounding back into the valley.

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The Bear Creek-Rainbow TrailMethodist Mountain Ride is for those with the gumption to climb more than 2,000 feet of elevation on a tough ride.

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8,960'

can be ridden by riders with intermediate-advanced trail-riding experience. Expect a few short pitches of uphill. Some other obstacles to watch for are stumps and rocks jutting out into the trail, and a few places where the trail travels along fairly steep mountainside. If anything, the single-track provides varied terrain. It drops into and climbs out of several drainages. The trail crosses two four-wheel drive roads at 0.3 and 3 miles after starting singletrack. The single-track ends after passing a trail register on the left (south) side of the trail. Continue on the four-wheel drive road (CR 108), which becomes rough after making a sharp hairpin turn to the right. This rough section lasts 2 miles until CR 108 becomes a graded, two-lane road. Take it easy heading down Methodist. The four-wheel drive road is steep and rocky. The next 2 miles of screaming descent returns you to U.S. 50 in Salida.

. Cycling Guide 2011


Monarch Crest Trail

Valley's premier route a classic backcountry ride

By Kevin Hoffman • Salida The Monarch Crest Trail is high alpine single-track at its finest. Because of the superb quality and sometimes committing nature the Monarch Crest is one of the mountain biking gems that must not be overlooked. Depending on snowpack from the previous winter the Crest Trail opens up to mountain bikes in mid-July. If going up before July a rider may find snowdrifts and mud instead of solid singletrack. The Monarch Crest Trail or “Crest” is actually the nickname associated with an 11-mile section of the Continental Divide Scenic Trail. Signs in the area don’t identify the trail specifically as the Monarch Crest; they more or less indicate the sections and transitions along the CDT. After reaching Marshall Pass via the crest from Monarch Pass the trail splinters into various offshoots. From Marshall pass the easiest way down is CR 203 to CR 200 then hang a left on U.S. 285 to coast down to Poncha Springs. Because there are several variations each Crest ride can feel like a totally new experience. The Silver Creek to Rainbow Trail variation is the classic route and makes for a full day by the time it reaches U.S 285 close to Poncha Pass. The Rainbow Trail extends south of Salida after passing the highway and riders looking to rack up miles may choose to take it all the way to Bear Creek. For adventurous riders looking for steeper more technical descents the Starvation Creek or Green Creek trails are excellent choices. Both routes descend quickly and make for a shorter day. Although the Crest Trail can be done as an out an out back

by those familiar with the area most riders set a shuttle and complete the ride as a point to point starting at Monarch Pass. Commercial shuttles can be arranged through High Valley Center located in Poncha Springs. At an 11,312 ft. starting elevation and a high point of 11,960 ft., certain precautions must be taken. Eleven miles may not seem like a challenge if you’re an avid rider, however, there is some climbing and being at an altitude of 12,000 feet can suck the wind from anyone’s lungs. There are also a few other variables to take into account before embarking above treeline. An early start is necessary to avoid exposure to lightning when afternoon thunderstorms roll in and it is wise to give yourself added time in case an intersection is missed. The Crest leads into remote backcountry areas. Bring food, water and clothing in addition to spare tubes and tools. Tell someone where you are going and what time you will be back. Purchase a Colorado Search and Rescue Card. Although the pioneers rode the trail sans shocks it is a general consensus that some suspension is appreciated if not necessary to navigate the off-road single-track. Having added travel, especially on the more technical variations, can make or break your day. There is a route finding description of the Monarch Crest Trail in this guide on the following pages. Absolute Bikes has one of the most thorough route-finding maps available for the trail. For those unfamiliar with the area a “photo-flow” map helps identify the major intersections and transitions on the trail using pictures. The map is waterproof, durable and worth its weight in gold for a first-timer.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

27


Monarch Crest Trail

Valley's premier route a classic backcountry ride

Rating: Intermediate-advanced. Distance: 28 miles. Time: Four to five hours. Elevation: Starting at 11,312 feet, the high point is 11,960. Total climbing is about 1,000 feet. Elevation drop is 3,800 feet. Trails: Single-track, four-wheel drive, graded dirt and paved roads. Maps: Monarch Crest Trail Photo Flow Guide, Colorado Trail Map; San Isabel National Forest map; USGS 15-Minute Bonanza, Garfield and Poncha Springs topos; 7.5-Minute Pahlone Peak topo. Access: This ride requires a vehicle shuttle. The lower shuttle is set in Poncha Springs or Salida and the upper at the Monarch Aerial Tramway parking lot at the Monarch Pass summit. The summit is about 18 miles west of Poncha Springs on U.S. 50. Ride Description: This ride is a favorite of locals as well as fat trackers from around the nation; it is a challenging, fun ride. From the Monarch Tram parking lot, start up the one-lane dirt road east of the gondola tower. Look for the start of the single-track on the right on Forest Service Trail 531, approximately 0.3 mile up this hill. Several signs at the start indicate mileage to Marshall Pass and to several other points along the route. Another sign notes the Continental Divide Trail. Similar markers will be present along the remainder of the trail, all the way to Marshall Pass. Follow the single-track for 0.7 mile to the power line, and continue up the four-wheel drive road going almost straight south. This section gains 230 feet in 0.7 mile. After two switchbacks, continue uphill to the trees, and make a right turn onto the trail. Signs posted at this point indicate “Marshall Pass 9 miles,” and a Continental Divide Trail marker. At this point, you have climbed approximately one quarter of the total elevation, and have ridden a short section of the single-track. The rest of the single-track is as difficult, or more difficult, for short sections. This is a good turn-around point if you are having difficulty with the altitude, or if the weather looks threatening. The next 8.7 miles are single-track, which will climb initially (300 feet in 1.5 miles) to gain the ridge crest. Continue along the crest, skirting high points on their southwest aspects. This section is exposed, so avoid thunderstorms. Four miles after regaining single-track, join the Colorado Trail as it comes up South Fooses Creek drainage and continue east. In another mile the ridge breaks, resulting in a 400-foot descent in slightly more than a mile. Look for a shelter hut on the left after completing the descent.

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• 4-5 h A 200-foot climb in 0.8 mile is the iles o last major climb of the ride. This m section, which can be muddy in wet weather, regains the crest. Cross Agate Creek Trail is 0.2 mile after finishing the climb, and continue through the trees. Watch for a short section crossing a talus field. Many will want to walk their bikes through this stretch. a d dv The single-track ends three miles ance from the shelter house. Continue on the four-wheel drive road (CR 234.2G) that descends rapidly to the Marshall Pass trailhead — 600 feet in 1.5 miles. This trailhead is marked with several signs — one showing distance to Monarch Pass. Riders choose among three routes to get back to U.S. 285: • The single-track of the Rainbow Trail along Silver Creek; • The Colorado Trail to intersections with Poncha Creek; or • A left off the trailhead following the old Denver & Rio Grande Western narrow gauge track bed, now a graded road, the route we’ll describe here. Look for a sign noting Gray’s Creek, just over a mile after crossing the Chaffee-Saguache county line sign. Go down the embankment on the right and continue on a four-wheel drive road to O’Haver Lake. Ride along the south shore of the lake, leaving the campground on FR/CR 202A and pass straight through an intersection in half a mile. In another mile is a “T” intersection with a stop sign. Turn left and continue east on CR 200 to 285.

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Without question, the Monarch Crest Trail rates as the most popular ride in the region. It is 12 miles of wondrous single-track from the top of Monarch at 11,312 feet on U.S. 50 to Marshall Pass, with another 28 miles of singletrack following on the Rainbow Trail to U.S. 285, and on to Methodist Mountain and Bear Creek. Be advised: The stretch from the highway to Methodist is tough biking — suitable for advanced-only fats riders. But added up, from Monarch to Bear Creek, it’s about 40 miles of virtually all single-track ... and no wonder this is considered one of Colorado’s and the West’s top rides. For our purposes, the following description will be limited to the Crest Trail and the trail choices from Marshall Pass to Mears Junction/U.S. 285. The first 12 miles at 11,000 to 12,000 feet of elevation of the Crest Trail meanders along the Continental Divide. Riders get sensational views of the Rockies, including the Sawatch Range, Pikes Peak to the east and the distant San Juans and Uncompahgres to the southwest and west. Riders cover a variety of terrain from mountaintop granite to boulder fields. One moment you’re on what seems to be the edge of the world. The next, you’re flying effortlessly, silently through a dark green tunnel on a pine needle carpet.

The Monarch Crest Trail -> is one of the finest mountain bike rides in the state with elevation gains up to 12,000 feet and extreme views of the Sawatch, Uncompahgres and San Juan mountain ranges. It is an extension of the Continental Divide Trail System and in some sections, overlaps the Colorado Trail. Seeing a great need to help riders navigate the various routes on the Crest, Andrew Mesesan has created a waterproof, topographic map of the Crest Trail complete with photo references, altitude gain and trail profiles. The various trails are color-coded with mileage labels in an easy-to-use format. The maps are available for purchase at Absolute Bikes, 330 W. Sackett Ave. in Salida or by calling 888-539-9295, absolutebikes.com.

. Cycling Guide 2011


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Option: For an easier, mostly downhill ride to Buena Vista, use a shuttle to start this ride at the Shield’s Gulch Trailhead. To get there, drive just over 5 miles east of Johnson Village on U.S. 24/285 and turn left (north) onto FR/CR 315. The trailhead area and an informational display are about a half mile from the highway. Ride Description: Covering the historic, long-abandoned Colorado Midland railroad grade, visitors pass the vestiges of a bygone era (old rail ties, hillside cuts, telegraph poles) and are treated to stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks of the Sawatch Range: Mt. Princeton, Mt. Harvard, and Mt. Yale. The trail is just under 8 miles from trailhead to trailhead, but you can turn back sooner for a shorter ride. The first half-mile of the route climbs steeply up the Barbara Whipple Trail from the footbridge over the Arkansas River. This

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Rating: Intermediate. Distance: up to 16 miles round trip; out-and-back. Time: 2-3 hours. Elevation: Start 7,950 feet; end 8,680 feet; total climbing approximately 1,015 feet. Trails: 11 miles of single-track; 5 miles graded one-lane road. Maps: USGS 15-Minute Buena Vista Topo, San Isabel National Forest. Access: As described, this ride is an out-and-back ride starting at the footbridge at the Buena Vista River Park at the end of East Main Street in Buena Vista.

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l -3 single-track trail features several mi h 6 switchbacks and is challenging for most riders. Once at the top, however, the grade eases after you turn right on CR 304 and ride for about 2.5 miles to the intersection with FR 376A. From here, take the middle fork, the road immediately left n (east) of the Fourmile Recreation te Area sign. rm edia The next five miles of the old rail grade are single-track closed to motorized users. Most stretches of the actual grade are easily ridden with only a few difficult spots where the walls of some of the cuts have partially collapsed to narrow the trail. The most challenging sections of the route are the four draws originally spanned by wooden and steel trestles. Mountain bikers and hikers now cross on trails that descend into the draws along the north side of the original grade. These diversions are more difficult than the rest of the grade and feature short, steep and loose descents/climbs. Those without much trail riding experience will find these a nice introduction to "single-tracking," but please use discretion and dismount for sections that exceed your ability. The few difficult sections are short and easily walked, and should not discourage novice mountain bikers from attempting this ride. The end of the route and turn-around point is at the trailhead on CR 315.

The Midland Trail is the area's first designated mountain bike trail. Work on the trail started in 1990 under auspices of the U.S. Forest Service with help of the Bureau of Land Management, town of Buena Vista and volunteers.

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Rating: Beginner. Distance: 9.5 miles; loop. Riding Time: 1-3 hours, depending on your pace. Elevation: start/end 9,200'; max 9,720'; min 9,200'; total climbing about 650’. Trail: Easy four-wheel drive road. Maps: San Isabel National Forest Map; USGS 15-minute Topo -Antero Reservoir. Access: Drive approximately 6 miles northeast of Johnson Village on U.S. 24/285 and turn right onto CR 307. Continue on 307 for 1.7 miles and turn right on CR 187. Drive approximately 3.6 miles and park near the intersection of CR 187 and CR 188.

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Ride Description: From the intersection of FR/CR 187 and 188 bear left and downhill to ride east on FR/CR A 188. At mile 1.5 continue straight on CR 188 9600 FR 188 past the intersection with FR 188A on your left. Around mile 2.7 the 9200 grade gets a little steeper for about a half mile. At mile 4.0, stay right to 8800 continue on FR 188 past FR 189 on 0 miles 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 the left. Castle Rock Gulch Turn right at the intersection with CR 187 at mile 5.2; there are superb CR 1 views of Mt. Antero, Mt. Princeton, 87 Mt. Yale, and Mt. Harvard from this intersection. Be sure to watch for light auto traffic on CR 187, especially on ©AVP, 2010 the weekends. Continue straight on For a very challenging ride, start by riding 2 miles south on CR CR 187 through the intersection with FSR 185 at mile 7.5. Ride 187 to FR 185. From there, ride a little more than 13 miles south on downhill to arrive back at your car in about 2 miles. FR 185 (through Aspen Ridge) to its intersection with CR 175 (the Options include exploring FR 188A, a rough out-and-back jeep Ute Trail). From this intersection, ride downhill on CR 175 for about trail leading into East Castle Rock Gulch, or starting the ride from 8 miles to arrive in Salida. This is a very long ride and you will most any point after turning off of U.S. 24/285. likely want to use auto shuttles.

Keith Baker says variety is one of the best things the Chaffee County area offers for cyclists. Riders can choose woodland, alpine or high-desert environments. “There’s lots of variety in a relatively small space,” Baker said. For riders who are interested in routes which have more complex

directions, information and maps are available at The Trailhead. Another source is “Single-track and Tarmac” by Salida author Nathan Ward, available at The Trailhead. The book covers mountain bike trails and road rides. Absolute Bikes in Salida also carries the guide.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

31


Colorado Trail

Mount Princeton to South Cottonwood Creek Although it’s rated as advanced, this is one of the best rides in the Buena Vista/Nathrop area. Fat tire enthusiasts will love the single-track that traverses the eastern slopes of Mount Princeton between Frontier Ranch and South Cottonwood Creek. Rating: Advanced. Distance: 16.8 miles; out-and-back Riding Time: 3 hours. Elevation: High point 10,030 feet; low point 8,890 feet; total climbing approximately 3,100 feet. Trails: Single-track 14.6 miles; four-wheel drive road 2.2 miles. Maps: USGS 7.5’ Mt. Antero, Buena Vista West; NGS Trails Illustrated #129 Buena Vista Access: From the stoplight at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Main St. in Buena Vista, drive 0.8 miles west on CR 306 to the intersection with CR 321 (Rodeo Road). Turn left on CR 321 and drive 6.8 miles to the intersection with CR 322. Turn right, following the sign to Frontier Ranch, and drive 0.9 miles to the Mt. Princeton parking area.

Buena Vista

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Ride Description: Ride west out of the parking lot. Bear right, ride up the jeep road for 1.1 miles, then turn right onto the Colorado Trail single-track. As you work your way to the highpoint of the trail, you’ll encounter some rocks and water bars, but the most challenging sections are the sharp, steep transitions leading in and out of

washes. At mile 6.1, the trail begins to descend to the South Cottonwood Creek trailhead. From this point forward, the trail gets increasingly rocky and steep, and some less experienced riders may want to turn back here. Expert riders, however, will enjoy navigating their bikes down the steep, rocky trail. Cross CR 343 at mile 8.0 and continue riding the single-track on the other side. You’ll cross over the creek and reach the S. Cottonwood Trailhead at mile 8.4. Options: Some bikers may want to ride this trail one-way using auto shuttles. Riding north from Frontier Ranch is slightly easier, but the net downhill is much shorter. To get to the South Cottonwood trailhead from the stoplight at Main St. and U.S. 24 in Buena Vista, drive approximately 7 miles west on Main (CR 306) to the intersection with CR 344. Turn left onto CR 344 and look for the small parking area and Colorado Trail markers on the left in about 0.25 miles. It’s also possible to ride this as a loop by riding down CR 344 to CR 306. Turn right and ride a little more than 6 miles east to the intersection with Rodeo Road (CR 321). Turn right and ride about 7.7 miles south on CR 321 to CR 322 and back to your car.

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Scale in miles

CR 270 Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

CR 280

•Leadville •Granite •Buena Vista •Johnson Village •Nathrop •Centerville •Maysville

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Colorado Trail s ile

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This segment of the Colorado Trail Raspberry Gulch to Angel of Shavano, star ts midway between Salida and Buena Vista. It offers great views of the valley from a vantage point high up on the Sawatch Range. On the trail, riders pass under lush, green aspen stands and tunnels of pine boughs.

The trail crosses several drainages then gradually loses altitude. After intersecting the second of two four-wheel drive roads, a relatively steep section gains almost 550 feet in 1.6 miles, to the high point of the ride (10,170 feet), just after crossing South Sand Creek. In a half mile, after crossing a small drainage, the trail makes a steep descent. This section is rocky and loose use caution. About 1.3 miles past the ride's high point is a trail register box. This marks the beginning of a short section of four-wheel drive road. Just to the west is the start of the hiking trail to the summit of 14,229-foot Mt. Shavano. After about 0.3 miles, look for a monument to Rocky Mountain goats placed by the Order of Rocky Mountain Goats, an organization with an international following. About a half mile after crossing a cattle guard, the single-track begins again on the right. The next section crosses a four-wheel drive road and some small creeks then climbs a small ridge after passing through a gate. The next 0.7 miles descends 500 feet to the Angel of Shavano Campground. The last 0.2 miles has difficult switchbacks and rocky sections.

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The other end of the shuttle is the Angel of Shavano Campground. Drive 6 miles west on U.S. 50 from Poncha Springs to CR 240. Turn right on CR 240 and drive 4 miles to the Angel of Shavano Campground and trailhead. Start by riding south on the Colorado Trail (FST 1776). The trail is well marked and easy to follow. In 1.5 miles, you’ll cross FR 273 (unmarked). Just beyond this intersection, the trail gets steeper and rocky for about 1.5 miles. Starting at mile 3.4, the Little Browns Creek Trail and several other trails intersect the Colorado Trail as it crosses several branches of Browns Creek. Just follow the trail markers to stay on the Colorado Trail.

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Photo by Kevin Hoffman

Rating: Advanced. Distance: 12.2 miles; one-way. Time: Four to five hours. Elevation: Start 8,900 feet; finish 9,200 feet; total elevation gained is 2,190 feet; highest elevation is 10,170 feet. Trails: single-track. Maps: Colorado Trail map sections 14 and 15 (recommended). USGS 15-Minute Topo Poncha Springs; San Isabel National Forest Map Access: This ride requires a vehicle shuttle. The beginning is at the intersection of FR 274 and the Colorado Trail. From the intersection of CR 270 and US 285 (about 3 miles south of Nathrop), drive 1.5 miles west on CR 270 to the intersection with CR 272. Drive 2.1 miles west on CR 272 to the intersection with CR/FR 274. Drive 2.0 miles northwest on CR/FR 274 to the trailhead and parking area before the large gate on FR 274.

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CR 270

Mt. Princeton Hot Springs

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Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

33


Garfield

Rating: Intermediate to advanced. Distance: 12 mile spur or you can add an additional 2.5 miles of

down to the bottom of the hill to where the road forks. Take the turn to the left and go across a bridge. This is private property so stay on the road. Choose where you park carefully and considerately at any of a number of turnouts. For a great warm-up of approximately 3 miles — a steady climb with great views — start here. It is a rough road after this point, so be prepared should you decide to drive the 3 miles to the actual trailhead where the Colorado Trail and the single-track begin. The road is obvious and winds around somewhat at first. You will pass a small body of water on your right at about a mile. It is here you enter the San Isabel National Forest. You will pass several camping spots along this stretch. Stay on the trail marked with blue diamonds on the trees. When the road reaches a major fork with the right going to North Fooses, veer to the left (east). The trailhead and start of the single-track are 100 yards further ahead. As you begin the single-track, you will cross over a bridge and then come to the sign-in. Please sign in and let the forest service know the trail’s usage. From the trailhead it is 3.1 miles to the turn-

NowThisIsColorado.com

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Shelter Hut

©AVP, 2010 11,505'

Chipeta •Mountain 12,055'

around point of this particular ride, making it a spur (6 miles total of four-wheel drive road and 6.2 miles of total single-track for a 12mile ride). While enjoying the wonderful flat cruises through the woods, watch out for short, steep descents and rocky climbs. The log bridges are a challenge to clear. At mile 3.1 of the singletrack is a forest service sign and a steep climb up and to the left of the trail. From this point, it is another 2.5 miles to reach the top of the divide. Beyond this point is terrain for only the extreme mountain biker, including long stretches of possible bike-hikes through boulder fields and a steep ascent up to the Continental Divide.

Photo by Kevin Hoffman

34

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Ride Description: Turning left off U.S. 50 onto CR 225, go

50

9,600'

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very difficult terrain with some bike-hiking and connect with the Monarch Crest Trail. Time: Two to three hours, depending on the spur. Connecting with the Crest Trail can take several hours longer, depending on the approach. Elevations: 8,670 to 10,400 for the 12-mile spur, or 11,600 if you make it to the Continental Divide on the Crest Trail. Trails: Three miles of four-wheel drive dirt road to the trailhead, 3.1 miles of excellent single-track; double these miles if doing this as a spur. Maps: Colorado Trail Map Number 15 and 16, San Isabel National Forest Map. Access: Travel west on U.S. 50 toward Monarch. Approximately 3 miles west of Maysville, CR 225 is to your left.

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Fooses Creek is a favorite of Salida and Poncha Springs bikers. It starts as a dirt road with a steady climb. But at the single-track, the fun begins. The single-track’s a generally wide trail through aspen and pine.

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Twin Lakes Trail Rides Two segments of The Colorado Trail

Here are two segments of the Colorado Trail accessed from Twin Lakes. South Segment: Rating: Advanced. Distance: 23-mile round trip. Ride Time: 4-6 hours. Elevation: start/end 9,235 feet; maximum 9,960 feet; minimum 8,940 feet. Trails: single-track (18 miles); double-track (5 miles). Maps: USGS 7.5’ Granite North Segment: Rating: Intermediate/advanced. Distance: 17-mile round trip. Ride Time: 4-5 hours. Elevation: start/end 9,235 feet; maximum 10,670 feet; minimum 9,235 feet. Trails: single-track (13 miles); double-track (4 miles). Maps: USGS 7.5’: Granite, Mount Elbert, Mount Massive; NGS Trails Illustrated No. 110 Leadville/ Fairplay. Access: from the intersection of U.S. 24 and Colo. 82, drive 3.9 miles west on Colo. 82 to CR 24C. Turn left onto CR 24C and drive 0.5 miles. Turn left at the T and continue to the Mount Elbert picnic area. To get to the trail, pedal back from the parking area to the T intersection, turn right (uphill), and look for the singletrack that crosses CR 24C in about 0.25 miles.

South segment:

Start/End

TWIN LAKES RESERVOIR

CR 82

LAKE CREEK

SAN ISABEL NATIONAL FOREST

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.5 Miles

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Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

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The Ride: From CR 24C, turn left 7 and follow the trail west past the power plant. A mile-and-a-half from the start, bear left to ride through the tunnel under CO 82. The trail climbs for the next half-mile as you work your way past the Lake View Campground. Look for Colorado t. Trail Markers and follow the most /ad anc v obvious line. Approximately 2 miles from the start, turn left and follow a jeep road for approximately 2 miles. You’ll cross a bridge just before the route returns to single-track and you intersect the South Elbert Trail. Stay on the Colorado Trail and follow the most obvious line as you watch for trail markers. A little less than 7.5 miles from the start of the ride, the Mount Elbert Trail intersects and overlaps the Colorado Trail for a about a mile. A steep downhill followed by a stream crossing takes you to Halfmoon Road and the Mount Massive hiking trail parking lot. Turn around and return along the same route.

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CR 82

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The Ride: From CR 24C, turn right and ride east around the lake. At the dam, be sure to follow les round t the Colorado Trail markers to CR mi ri 3 25; do not cross the dam. Ride west on CR 25 to the trailhead at the end, then ride along the lake for about a mile. Turn left at the Colorado Trail marker to begin a fairly steep, halfmile climb. At the bottom of a quick, rocky descent, turn right onto a jeep ad track, ride .5 miles west then turn vanced left at a large cairn to continue on single-track. Watch for Colorado Trail markers to find the way. You’ll cross CR 399 approximately 8 miles from the start of the ride and reach CR 398 (Lost Canyon Road) around mile 9. Turn left onto CR 398 and descend about .25 mile to a campsite spur on your right. Follow the Colorado Trail markers into the clearing then look left for more trail markers leading to a descent. From this point forward, follow the most obvious line and watch for trail markers as the route alternates between singletrack and double-track. You’ll eventually crest the prominent ridge visible to the south (about 11.5 miles from the start). From the top of the ridge, either turn around to return along the same route or extend the ride by descending nearly 900 feet in 1.5 miles to Chaffee CR 390 at the bottom.

CR 24C

35


Turquoise Lake

Dam to May queen campground

12

mile loop

mile approaching the May Queen campground at mile 6. For a more challenging ride, add a climb over Sugarloaf Pass to the lake loop. Turn right onto CR 4 from the parking area and ride east on CR 4 until you reach CR 5 in about a mile. E . asy/Int Turn right on CR 5 and ride past the golf course to CR 5A. Turn right on CR 5A and ride until you reach a dirt road on your right in just under 1.5 miles. Turn onto the dirt road and cross a small stream in approximately .1 mile. What follows is the infamous Power Line climb of the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. As you steam up this formidable grade, you will gain more than 1,500 feet in a little less than 3.5 miles. Continue following the main road as it weaves back-andforth beneath the utility lines to the top of Sugarloaf Pass. Stay on the main road (FSR 105A) as you descend to the intersection with CR 4 (about 8.75 miles from the start). Turn right onto CR 4 and follow it downhill until you intersect the paved road. Turn left onto CR 9 and continue downhill to May Queen campground. Finish the loop along the Turquoise Lake Trail as described above.

Turquoise Lake offers cyclists several mountain bike options of varying difficulty. Rating: Easy/intermediate – the Sugarloaf Pass option is advanced. Distance: 12-mile loop. Ride Time: 2-4 hours. Elevation: start/end 9,860 feet; maximum 10,230 feet; minimum 9,850 feet. Trails: single-track (6 miles); paved road (6 miles). Maps: USGS 7.5’: Leadville North, Homestake Reservoir; NGS Trails Illustrated No. 110 Leadville/ Fairplay. Access: from the traffic light at the intersection of Sixth Street and Harrison Avenue (U.S. 24) in Leadville, ride or drive .8 miles west on West Sixth Street. Turn right onto CR 4, following the signs to Turquoise Lake, and drive 3.6 miles west. There’s a large parking area east of the dam on the south side of CR 4. The ride: The primary Turquoise Lake loop begins at the dam and follows the paved road to the May Queen Campground and the start of the single-track. From the parking area, turn left onto CR 4 to ride west over the dam. Watch for auto traffic, especially on busy summer weekends. In approximately 3.5 miles from the start, CR 4 forks left and turns to dirt; stay right to continue riding on paved CR 9. When you get to May Queen (about 5 miles from the start), turn right to enter the campground. Follow the main drive toward the lake to the Turquoise Lake Trail trailhead. From this point forward, follow the single-track around the lake and return to the start of the ride at CR 4 and the dam (approximately 6 miles from May Queen). For an easier, all single-track option, cross CR 4 from the parking area and look for the single-track trail that parallels the lake shore. Ride it as an out-and-back for a pleasant spin along the lake. The terrain is relatively easy with little elevation gain, but you will encounter some tougher, rocky sections in the last half

Stop by Cycles of Life in downtown Leadville and ask about more riding options in this area, including a challenging singletrack descent along the Colorado Trail from the top of Sugarloaf Pass. (Continued, next page)

CR 9

CR 9

TURQUOISE LAKE To Sugarloaf Pass

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©AVP, 2011

TURQUOISE LAKE

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CR 4


Scenic Loop Road ride

Turquoise Lake Loop, 15 miles: Paved roads winding around Turquoise Lake provide an excellent route for spinning scenic miles near Leadville.

->

Sleeps 8 $304/night

Turn right onto FSR 705 then immediately turn right again at the trailhead marking the start of the Mitchell Creek Trail. Follow the trail as it descends into the Mitchell Creek basin then widens to a double-track as you begin the climb back to Tennessee Pass. Continue straight past the intersection with the Colorado Trail on your left (just under 5.5 miles from the start of the ride). Stay on the main trail until you return to the parking lot. To extend your ride, you may want to take a side trip exploring Wurts Ditch Road before returning to the trailhead along the Mitchell Creek loop. Wurts Ditch Road, an excellent option for a family outing, climbs gently approximately 10.5 miles before ending at Yoder Gulch. Along the way you’ll be treated to amazing panoramic vistas as you pass under the dense canopies of forested hillside. Another fun option from this loop is to explore the Colorado Trail north to Camp Hale. This intermediate route descends 1,400 feet and extends 6 miles from Tennessee Pass to the bridge leading into Camp Hale. Along the way you’ll find fast, excellent singletrack with just enough technical obstacles to keep you on the edge of your saddle.

->

Explore this mellow single-track loop combining short segments of the Colorado and Mitchell Creek Trails from the summit of Tennessee Pass. Rating: Easy/Intermediate. Distance: 7 miles (main loop). Ride Time: 1-2 hours. Elevation: start/end 10,440 feet; maximum 10,630 feet; minimum 10,060 feet. Trails: single-track (4 miles); double-track (3 miles). Maps: USGS 7.5’: Leadville North, Pando; NGS Trails Illustrated No 110 Leadville/Fairplay. Access: from the stoplight at Sixth Street and Harrison Avenue (U.S. 24) in downtown Leadville, drive 10.0 miles north on US 24 to the summit of Tennessee Pass. Park in the large trailhead pullout west of the highway. The ride: Start this ride at the Colorado Trail trailhead adjacent to U.S. 24 at the southeast corner of the parking lot. As you ride, follow Colorado Trail markers along the single-track until you intersect a dirt road approximately 2.5 miles from the start. Turn right onto the road and ride about 0.5 miles to the intersection with FSR 705 (Wurts Ditch Road).

Start at Sugarloaf Dam on CR 4 and ride the loop clockwise for outstanding views of the lake and surrounding peaks from the inside lane. Leave CR 4 at its intersection with CR 9, follow CR 9 to CR 9C, then close the loop by returning to CR 4 along CR 9C. Pedal from the center of Leadville to add miles.

Continental Divide Cabin

10 miles North of Leadville on Hwy 24 across from Ski Cooper Lee Rimel • 970-390-4256 10th Mountain Division Huts www.huts.org

BASE CAMP while you MOUNTAIN BIKE Tennessee Pass and The Colorado & Continental Divide Trails.

Cycling Guide 2011 . NowThisIsColorado.com

37


VISIT DOWNTOWN SALIDA

Photos by Kevin Hoffman

SHOPPING • art GALLERIES Restaurants

www.brodeurart.com

Brodeur Art Gallery • Cycling Prints 151 W. 1st St.,Salida, CO • 719-221-1272

Open Daily

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Op 7 Dayesn Week a

Silver & Gemstone Jewelry • Incense Crystals • Wall Hangings • Fountains • Music Asian Art • Books • Salt Lamps Chimes • Candles

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• FULL SERVICE BIKE SHOP • BIKE PARTS AND ACCESSORIES • NEW AND USED BIKES • MAPS AND TRAIL INFORMATION • AND MUCH MORE...YOU NAME IT!!

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• Unique Educational Toys & Games • Children's Books • Travel Toys • Baby Gifts • Fun Jewelry • Playmobil • Puzzles • Arts & Crafts • Novelties

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116 F Street J 530-0533

Open Mon.-Sat. 10am-6pm • Sun. noon-5pm


348 W. 1st St.

Our wheels are always spinning.

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Downtown Salida

GREAT DEALS! Salida’s Working Gallery + Clay Studio New artists, new work! Studio space for classes, workshops, paint-your-own New digs! 119 F Street, Salida 719.539.5112

Thursday - 10% Off Wine & Champagne Saturday - Early Bird Special 10am-Noon •5% Off All Beer WEEKLY IN-HOUSE SPECIALS Monday - Saturday 10 am - 10 pm Sunday 11-8 pm

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119 E. 1st St. #B Salida, CO 81201

omemade HGOURMET ICE CREAM Gellato • Sugar Free Floats • Sundaes • Malts • Tin Roofs Soft Serve with Flavor Bursts

Four Winds Gallery

Oil Painting by Cary Carlson ©

118 F Street, Salida • 719-539-6075 www.fourwindsgallery-colorado.com

Art Matters Gallery & Studio 119A E 1st St, Salida CO * 719-539-2383 www.ArtMattersGallerySalida.com

Pet Boutique, Organic Grooming, Self-service Wash Behavior Counseling & Classes

w w w. Sa l i d a D o g s . c o m

539-9727

215 F Street 539-9727

215 F St. • Salida Open: 10am-5:30pm • Mon-Sat

n7 Ope ! S Y A D

Daily Happy Hour

122 N. F Street Downtown Salida

539.9514

Find Great Literature and Good Reads! Maps • Guides • Cards • Journals Regional History & MORE! 128 F St., Downtown Salida • 539-9629

Serving good Food 11 am – 11 pm Full Bar 11 am – until Close free high fives all the time

719.539.0364 (0DOG) 113 EaSt SaCkEtt StrEEt SaliDa


Bike Rentals! Groups Welcome!

5IF5SBJMIFBE5SBJMIFBE$ZDMF4LJ #VFOB7JTUB $PMPSBEP

Rentals - Sales - Service Monday - Saturday: 9 - 6 Sunday: Noon - 5 Discover the Arkansas Valley on a bicycle. Experience pristine singletrack, backcountry jeep trails, cruise through downtown and along the river park. Enjoy scenic alpine forests, desert sage, and incredible mountain views. Rentals include: helmet, souvenir bike bottle & local maps.

The Trailhead / Trailhead Cycle & Ski 707 Hwy 24 N - Buena Vista, CO 81211

40

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. Cycling Guide 2011


Upper Arkansas Valley Cycling Guide