Monday, April 17, 2017

2017 Foothills Climbfest Recap

The tricky, serpentine descent down Deer Creek Canyon

Congratulations to the 2017 RMCC Foothills Climbfest finishers! The Foothills Climbfest is the oldest Challenge Series event on the RMCC cycling calendar. The challenging Climbfest features over 8,000 feet of climbing in 80 miles in the foothills to the west of Chatfield Reservoir. To add to the challenge, participants have only 7 hours to complete this difficult, hilly course to receive an official finishing time. For many riders, the Climbest serves as great preparation for some of the upcoming more difficult events on the RMCC calendar, such as the alluring Colorado Triple Crown. For other riders, the Climbfest is an opportunity to spend a solid training day with their riding friends. For all participants--finishers and non-finishers--it is a great workout and cruel reminder that the 2017 cycling season is here!  This was the first time the RMCC has hosted this intra-club gran fondo since 2014. The event was cancelled in 2015 and 2016 due to inclement weather.

Caleb Carl posted the speediest men's time of the day with a total elapsed time of 4 hours, 42 minutes (17.02 mph) and Diane Benoit, recovering well from a nasty accident last season, posted the fastest women's time of 6 hours, 28 minutes (12.38 mph). Congratulations to both riders!! Alas, the course records of Mindy Gehrs (5:06, 15.9 mph, 2014) and Mark Lowe (4:23, 18.48 mph, 2011) remain safe for one more season.

For full results: 2017 Foothills Climbfest

Special thanks to Harris Rosenthal, Jon Sendor, and Corinne Warren for providing support for this year's participants! 

Red rock formations in South Valley Park

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

2017 Colorado Triple Crown and Challenge Series Registration

2017 Colorado Triple Crown registration is open! Once again, we will be using Eventzilla to assist with registrations. Riders who wish to participate who are not currently RMCC members can also register for a 1-year RMCC membership during the registration process. Please click on the links below to access the registration links for each event.

  1. AntiEpic Gravel Grinder (Long and short course)
  2. Colorado Mesa Double Century
  3. Colorado Death Ride
  4. Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop
  5. Denver-to-Aspen Classic
Also, we are encouraging registration for the Foothills Climbfest to help out with volunteer planning.

For riders who decide to withdraw, you have until 3 weeks prior to the date of the event to receive a refund (minus the fees for Eventzilla and PayPal). After that time, refunds will not be granted. RMCC memberships are non-refundable.

Please let me know if you have questions!


Monday, January 2, 2017

The 2017 Colorado Mesa Double Century

Cloaked in golden aspen, the Grand Mesa is one of Colorado's shining climbs (and descents)!  (Photo: Mark Lowe)
The RMCC ventures to Colorado's Western Slope to ride our newest Colorado Triple Crown adventure: the Colorado Mesa Double Century. This challenging double century explores some of the Grand Valley's most challenging and most spectacular climbs, including the monstrous Grand Mesa and the  Colorado National Monument, the showpiece climb of Western Colorado. Here are the highlights for this great new ride: 

Date: Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 27, 2017. (Back-up date for inclement weather: May 28, 2017)

/Start: 4:00 am/5:00 am

Start/End location: Fruita, CO: LaQuinta Inn and Suites, 570 Raptor Rd, Fruita, CO 81521. Phone: 970-858-8850. Please make your reservations early! I cannot stress this enough. Grand Junction will host the Junior College World Series during Memorial Weekend, and hotel rooms are guaranteed to be hard to come by! 

Course Map: Colorado Mesa Double Century

Registration: Please click here to register: Colorado Mesa Double Century. This event has an early-bird entry fee of $60 (3/1/17 - 5/21/17. The entry fee increases to $80 from 5/22/17 - 5/25/17. Please register early. Please note that your registration fee will cover your entry fee into the Colorado National Monument, which will be purchased prior to the start of the event. Registration is limited to the first 50 pre-registered riders. Registration closes May 25, 2017. Participants may withdraw by 5/6/17 for a refund. After 5/6/17, refunds will not be granted. RMCC membership is also required to participate in this event. For more information about membership: RMCC membership. 

The Colorado National Monument, which was including in the Coors Classic and the cycling movie, "American Flyers" during the 1980s, is arguably the "crown jewel" of Colorado's Western Slope! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Course Highlights:
  • Distance: 200 miles
  • Climbing: 13,500 feet
  • 3 categorized climbs:
Riders will enjoy the sweeping descent down the southern slopes of the Grand Mesa into Cedaredge, CO (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Grand Mesa (elev. 10,839 feet): Hors Categorie (HC). The Grand Mesa is a monster climb, gaining over 6,000 feet in 21 miles! Although the average grade of the entire climb up the Grand Mesa is only 5%, the early sections of this climb are exposed and much steeper, guaranteed to test the best climbers! Many cyclists will argue that the Grand Mesa is an even more difficult climb than Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park. The Grand Mesa is a true grind that will test your mental and physical fortitude!

Reeder Mesa offers a local escape to Western Slope riders who are interested in relatively quick loop from Grand Junction. (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Reeder Mesa Loop/Purdy Mesa/Kannah Creek Loop (elev. 6,170 feet), Category 4. The Reeder Mesa Loop is approximately 30 miles in length and is well-known to cyclists in the Grand Junction area. This scenic loop climbs gently through ranch lands along the Kannah Creek, reaching a high point of 6,170 feet and gaining over 1,700 feet. The steep, twisty descent down Reeder Mesa Road Hill, with grades approaching 10%, will certainly have riders "white knuckling" their brakes as they creep down this short, tricky descent! 

With its moonscape topography, the Colorado National Monument is one of Colorado's premier cycling routes! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Colorado National Monument (elev. 6,640 feet), Category 2. The iconic Colorado National Monument is the crown jewel of the Colorado Western Slope! It can definitely be argued that if you're going to do one ride in Western Colorado, this is it! The scenery, featuring ubiquitous red rock mesas and stone spires, is simply stunning...unlike anything else in Colorado! The National Monument features a double-peaked climb, climbing over 2,700 feet and reaching its high point along the windy Rimrock Drive at 6,640 feet. Riders will want to keep the digital camera handy while riding the monument. A few picture stops along the way will be worth the memories! 

Time limit: 17.5 hours (to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit). We don't have data on this course yet, so its possible that the finishing time will be extended based on finishing times of the first riders.

Event organizer: Mark Lowe (e-mail:

Additional Notes:
  1. Some ultra-distance experience is encouraged (but not required) to participate in this event.
  2. Pre-qualification: Please refer to our updated rules regarding pre-qualification: What's new for 2017??
  3. Given the exposure to high altitude, nasty weather can be a major concern with this event. Participants need to be prepared and bring their best winter- and wet-riding gear with them!
  4. Lights and reflective gear are required!
The Colorado National Monument...simply stunning! (Photo: Mark Lowe)

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Colorado Triple Crown: What's New for 2017?

1. 2017 Colorado Triple Crown: Back to Basics...with a couple of new twists! 
In 2017, the Colorado Triple Crown is returning to its roots and will include the three original events of the series: Denver-to-Aspen, the Colorado Death Ride, and the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop. Due to concerns about excessive traffic along US-285, Denver-to-Aspen will once again use the new route with lighter traffic along the I-70 corridor, starting in Denver and climbing up Lookout Mountain and Mount Vernon Canyon.

To continue to mix things up and keep things "fresh" for our participants, we are taking a one-year hiatus from the Colorado High Country Double Century (i.e., Boulder to Steamboat Springs), Cycle to Saturn Double Century, and the Cripple Creek Crippler. And we are taking a two year hiatus from the Colorado Classic Double Century while the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) begins a massive paving project on the west side of Cottonwood Pass. So please don't fret! These events will likely be back on the Triple Crown calendar in the near future.

So what are these new twists???

Scenes from the surprisingly scenic AntiEpic Gravel Grinder course (Photo: Mark Lowe)
First, after much contemplation, I have decided to include the Anti-Epic Gravel Grinder on the 2017 Colorado Triple Crown calendar. As the name implies, the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder is not "epic" Colorado road cycling. First, the AntiEpic course does not include the classic high altitude climbs or scenic mountain vistas that Colorado is best known for. However, to imply that this course is flat and boring really does not do it justice. The AntiEpic course has well over 10,000 feet of climbing...nearly all of it coming in the form of steep rollers! And the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, with its wide-open prairie landscapes and pastoral beauty, really captures the essence of riding in eastern Colorado. Second, to break tradition from the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown, >90% of this course is ridden on hard-packed dirt and gravel roads. This is a marked departure from the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown (with the exception of 43 miles of the Colorado Classic Double Century and 7 miles of Cycle to Saturn) which generally traverse beautiful paved roads. So...200 miles of slow-moving gravel roads + 10,000+ feet of steep rollers equals a REALLY HARD double century.....definitely worthy of the Colorado Triple Crown series! For 2017, this AntiEpic course will be appropriately lengthened by 35+ miles to reach the 200 mile barrier, consistent with the other double centuries in the series. It will be an excellent "warm up" for the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown series, as well as for Dirty Kanza (6/3/2017), considered by many to be the "grand daddy" of gravel grinders in the U.S.! More to come soon!

The Grand Mesa is one of Colorado's most challenging climbs (and spectacular descents)! (Photo: Mark Lowe) 
Second, in 2017, the RMCC will venture to western Colorado to tackle a challenging, new course never before attempted by the RMCC: the Colorado Mesa Double Century! Starting (and ending) in Fruita, CO, the Colorado Mesa Double Century tackles some of Colorado Western Slope's finest climbs, including the behemoth, Grand Mesa. The course also explores the lesser known Reeder Mesa to the southeast of Grand Junction, and the Colorado National Monument, arguably the crown jewel of the Western Slope! More to come on this challenging new Colorado Triple Crown event soon.

So, to sum things up, here's the 2017 Colorado Triple Crown calendar:
  1. May 6, 2017: AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, Monument, CO
  2. May 27, 2017: Colorado Mesa Double Century, Fruita, CO
  3. June 17, 2017: Colorado Death Ride, Durango, CO
  4. July 8, 2017: Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop, Golden, CO
  5. July 29, 2017: Denver-to-Aspen, Denver, CO
For the Challenge Series Short-Course Events, we will plan to keep thing simple in 2017: 
  1. April 8, 2017: Foothills Climbfest, Littleton, CO: Hoping to catch a break with the weather in 2017.
  2. May 6, 2017: AntiEpic Gravel Grinder Short Course: For those riders who want a shorter (but timed) version of a 200 mile gravel road sufferfest. 
  3. Sept 2017 TBD: Boulder Fearsome Five: End-of-the-summer challenge for riders as they catch their second wind.
2. Qualification
We will continue to use our current pre-qualification guidelines, which give more riders from outside the RMCC access to the series.

Participants who have not met the pre-qualification requirements listed below can still register and participate, but they will need to ride with a personal support vehicle until they can demonstrate that they can safely complete at least one of the Colorado Triple Crown events within its designated time limit. As in previous seasons, RMCC membership is required to participate! 

To pre-qualify, prospective participants must complete one of the following events in the previous 24 months:
  1. Any Colorado Triple Crown event
  2. A mountainous double century (or longer) event in another part of the country (time required for verification)
  3. One of the RMCC-sponsored 300 km brevets in less than 14 hours (16.5 hours for the Cripple Creek 300 km brevet)
  4. Successful completion of another extreme endurance event of at least 12 hours duration:
    • Ironman Triathlon < 14 hours (time required for verification)
    • 50+ mile mountainous running ultra-marathon < 12 hours
For 2017, we will make an exception to the pre-qualification requirements for the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder. Any rider who is up for the challenge can sign up; however, 1) Active RMCC membership is still be required to participate. This is for insurance reasons. 2) There will be an additional small registration fee. This is a cost-recovery fee to cover our expenses for providing support for this event. 3) All riders who cannot complete the event will need to make arrangements to have someone pick them up. RMCC does not provide transportation for riders who cannot successfully complete this ride. Please seep in mind that an "I can do it!" attitude is great, but it may not be adequate to successfully complete this event. Please be forewarned and come prepared!  

Please e-mail me if you have questions about pre-qualification! 

The picturesque Mt Sneffles Range from the Dallas Divide (Photo: Mark Lowe)

3. Registration
  1. Fees. Registration fees will be similar for 2017 (Early-bird special: approx $50/event. Week-of-event registration: approx $70/event). Please keep in mind that these are cost recovery fees for running these events. These fees barely cover our expenses for supporting these rides. We do not turn a profit for running these events! And if we do have funds left over at the end of the season, we will apply these funds toward the cost of the Colorado Triple Crown kits for those riders who successfully complete the series. 
  2. Registration will open on March 1, 2017! 
  3. Withdrawal. For those individuals who have registered for an event and need to withdraw, they can do so up to 3 weeks prior to the date of the event for a full refund. Within 3 weeks, refunds will not be granted. 
  4. Transfers. Registration fees are NOT be transferrable between events less than 3 weeks prior to the date of the event. So please plan ahead!

Approaching the summit of Independence Pass (Photo: Mark Lowe)

4. Volunteers
We are 100% dependent on volunteer support!!! 
For 2017, we are continuing to ask (i.e., beg) for volunteer help!  I'm not going to lie! Volunteering for one of these events is a long day...usually between 12-20+ hours! And it usually involves getting up well before the crack of dawn. But volunteering can be quite a bit of fun too! For 2017, we will continue to provide the following incentives to volunteer:
  1. If a rider volunteers for an event, he/she can participate in another Triple Crown event for free.
  2. Riders who volunteer for an event may pre-ride or post-ride that event sometime during 2017 to receive official Colorado Triple Crown credit. This is the only situation that we will allow participants to pre- or post-ride and receive credit for completing the event.
  3. Volunteers who provide SAG/driving support for the event will be reimbursed for their mileage  accrued during the event (at the current Federal rate). We will also reimburse for volunteer motels and food/snack purchases accrued during the event. 
  • If we are unable to secure volunteers for an event, the event will still be contested in brevet format (i.e., without support). Please be aware of this! If this situation does occur, participants can expect to receive a partial refund for that event.
It's not called Red Mountain Pass for nothin'! (Photo: Mark Lowe)

5. 2017 Colorado Triple Crown Stage Race
The following Triple Crown events are included in next season's stage race. The rider with the fastest cumulative time for the following three events wins the series:
  1. Colorado Death Ride
  2. Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop
  3. Denver-to-Aspen

6. Triple Crown Kits

Riders who complete the extremely challenging 2016 Colorado Triple Crown Series are eligible to receive one of our stealthy Colorado Triple Crown kits. If we have registration funds left over at the end of the season, I will apply these funds toward the purchase of next season's kits.

Happy holidays and bring on 2017! 

Breath-taking views from Trail Ridge Road

Mark Lowe

Sunday, October 30, 2016

2016 Colorado Triple Crown Finishers

Congratulations to the following RMCCers for successfully completing the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown! This year's series featured three of the most difficult double century rides in the Continental U.S.: Colorado Classic Double Century, Cycle to Saturn Double Century, and the Cripple Creek Crippler. 17 riders successfully completed this year's series, including 6 rookies! Special kudos to Andy Lapkass, who becomes the first rider to complete the series on a single speed bike! Also kudos to David Nelson who ties Dick Wiss as the oldest rider to complete the series at 63 years young!

  1. Chris Baker (2)
  2. Graham Barnes (2)
  3. Caleb Carl (1)
  4. Ryan Franz (4)
  5. Andy Lapkass (1)
  6. Mark Lowe (7)
  7. Tom Miller (6)
  8. Chris Miner (1)
  9. David Nelson (2)
  10. Kale Olson (1)
  11. Josh Peter (1)
  12. Steve Rudolph (5)
  13. Ray Rupel (3)
  14. Jon Sendor (2)
  15. Andy Stockman (1)
  16. Corinne Warren (2)
  17. Walter Zitz (3)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop Recap

The high alpine tundra (12,000 feet elevation) as viewed from Trail Ridge Road during the 2016 Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop (Photo: Heidi Hartman)

Contested on August 20, 2016, the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop was the final event of the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown. The Grand Loop is an extremely difficulty double century! But in comparison to three of the other five events on the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown calendar (Cycle to Saturn Double Century, Colorado Classic Double Century, and the Cripple Creek Crippler), the Grand Loop looked relatively benign! However, 200 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing, and 2 crossings of the Continental Divide at very high altitude is definitely nothing to scoff at! The first 81 miles of the Grand Loop have over 10,000 feet of climbing, making the start of this double century extremely top-heavy with climbing and as difficult as any double century in the Colorado Triple Crown series. And Trail Ridge Road, with seven continuous miles above 11,000 feet and twice cresting 12,000 feet, is undoubtedly one of the most challenging (and spectacular) stretches of pavement in North America. 13 RMCC members, including 5 Grand Loop newbies, decided to accept the challenge of cycling one of Colorado's grandest loops!

The Grand Loop is ridden in memory of Tim Kalisch (1967 - 2011). For Tim, the Grand Loop was his epic ride and a ride that he looked forward to each year it appeared on the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club calendar. And with bright, sunny skies and nary a chance of rain (after an evening of heavy rains along the eastern Colorado Front Range), it was guaranteed that Tim was smiling down on this year's participants as they completed this epic course. Congratulations to all of this year's participants!

One of many amazing high-alpine valleys as viewed from Trail Ridge Road (Photo: Heidi Hartman)

2016 Grand Loop Event Summary:

  • 200 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing
  • 8 categorized climbs:
    • Wyoming Circle Climb (Golden): Cat 4
    • 93 Climb (North of Golden along CO-93): Cat 4
    • US-36 (Lyons to Estes Park): Cat 1
    • Trail Ridge Road, from Estes Park (elev. 12,183 ft): HC
    • Victory Highway Climb (North of Tabernash): Cat 4
    • Berthoud Pass, from Fraser (elev. 11,307 ft): Cat 1
    • Floyd Hill: Cat 3
    • Soda Creek Climb: Cat 4
  • 2 crossings of the Continental Divide: Milner Pass (elev. 10,758 ft, RMNP) and Berthoud Pass (elev. 11,307 ft) 
  • The courses traverses Rocky Mountain National Park via the spectacular Trail Ridge Road, the highest continuous paved road in North America
  • 15 pre-registered riders
  • 13 ride starters, 2 early withdrawals. Of the riders who started, 13 were men. Alas, no woman.
  • 13 official finishers (100% finishing rate) successfully completing this epic course in under 18 hours (>11.1 m.p.h.)! 
  • Mark Lowe recorded the fastest finishing time of the day, completing the Grand Loop in a total elapsed time of 12 hrs, 8 minutes (16.5 mph). Billy Edwards holds the course record, 11 hrs, 4 min (2013).
Panoramic vistas from every direction on top of Trail Ridge Road (Photo: Heidi Hartman)
Special thanks to this year's volunteers. We simply cannot run these events in their current timed format without their help! Thanks again to each of you for sacrificing your day!
  • Heidi Hartman and Walter Zitz. Heidi and Walter drove our support vehicle, allowing riders to have access to their drop bags at Lyons, Estes Park, and at the Alpine Visitors Center in Rocky Mountain National Park.
  • Wayne Lawton. Wayne (and his wife) gave up their day to provide an aid station support in Granby.
  • Mark Michel. Mark once again stepped up to provide Triple Crown support, providing an aid station on top of Berthoud Pass.
  • Corinne Warren. Corinne recorded finishing times at Parfet Park in Golden.

Slowed by some pesky headwinds and chilly temperatures, Mark Lowe grinds his way up Trail Ridge Road toward the Alpine Visitor center en route to a 12:08 finishing time and his 7th Grand Loop.
RMCC newbies, Craig Miller and Oliver Heckl, arrive safely in Golden with Triple Crown veteran, Steve Rudolph. Great ride, guys!
Chris Baker, who had two flats early during the course of the ride, made up time to finish with Andy Stockman, who continues to receive the "cool bike o' the day" award! Great ride! 
Exhausted at the end on the Grand Loop, Caleb Carl is relieved to have survived after an intense (perhaps too intense!) week of training! Great ride, Caleb...much faster than my first Grand Loop!
Graham Barnes shaves off over 1.5 hours from last year's Grand Loop! Excellent ride, Graham!
At 63 years young, David Nelson matches Dick Wiss to become our oldest member (and youngest at heart!) to complete the Colorado Triple Crown Series. Great ride, David! 
Fueling on Fritos, Harris Rosenthal makes a return to the Colorado Triple Crown after his 2015 season ended on a sour note with a crash during Denver to Aspen. Mark Michel (background) is contemplating knocking some sense into Harris for riding another double century! 
Jason Turner and Steve Schroer successfully navigate the tricky series of frontage roads and bike trails from Empire to Golden to complete the Grand Loop. Great ride, guys!
Patrick Nourse (with the best cycling hair of the day) completes his 3rd Grand Loop! Excellent ride, Patrick!
Chris Baker, Andy Stockman, and Caleb Carl take a breath-taking breather at the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo: Heidi Hartman)
Heidi Hartman takes a playful break from a long day of support riders during the Grand Loop (Photo: Walter Zitz)
Steve Schroer, Jason Turner, and Patrick Nourse at the Alpine Visitor Center in Rocky Mountain National Park (Photo: Heidi Hartman)
Craig Miller gets creative, using packaging tape that he purchased at a hardware store in Granby to attach his shoe and broken cleat to his pedal to successfully complete his first Grand Loop! (Photo: Heidi Hartman)
Oliver Heckl wisely gears up for the chilly descent down Trail Ridge Road. (Photo: Heidi Harman)
Rocky Mountain National Park: Views that never get old! The Grand Loop is EPIC Colorado riding at its best! (Photo: Heidi Hartman)

By successfully completing the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop, the following riders have successfully completed the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown:
  • Chris Baker (2)
  • Graham Barnes (2)
  • David Nelson (2)*
*At 63 years old, David ties Dick Wiss as the oldest rider to complete the Colorado Triple Crown!

Although we don't have a special category for these riders, congratulations to the following riders for successfully completing all 5 events of the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown:
  • Caleb Carl
  • Mark Lowe
  • Steve Rudolph
  • Andy Stockman

Sunday, July 31, 2016

2016 Cripple Creek Crippler Recap: Man, That Was HARD!!!

The beautiful Cathedral Spires from Southwest Platte Canyon Road, a welcome reminder to participants of the Cripple Creek Crippler that the end of a really HARD day is near.....sorta! Only 25 miles (and a little more climbing up Foxton Canyon) to the finish! (Photo: Mark Lowe)

The Cripple Creek Crippler is an ominous name that invokes nightmares in riders who've completed this grueling double century. When asked about the "Crippler," the consensus is unanimous amongst Colorado Triple Crown veterans. The "Crippler" is a HARD ride, equally as challenging as hardest double centuries in the Colorado and California Triple Crowns series. The "Crippler" is much different than the other events of the Colorado Triple Crown series. It doesn't have the epic high alpine climbs and majestic mountain vistas of the other events of the Colorado Triple Crown. The high point of the course, in fact, only reaches 10,200 feet, which is much lower in elevation than the other events of the series. In spite of this fact, the  appropriately named "Crippler" is never flat! Participants are either climbing or descending the entire day! By the time the damage is done, participants have climbed over 19,000 debilitating feet in 207 miles as course traverses through the rolling foothills of Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Teller County.

In spite of not having classic Colorado high alpine climbs, the "Crippler" course has more than its share of stunning Colorado scenery! Participants capture amazing views of Pikes Peak throughout the day. The heart of the course also includes portions of the Gold Belt Scenic Byway as participants make the challenging climb to the mining (and gambling) community of Cripple Creek, CO.  And the final 42 miles the course, climbing 4,400 feet up the inferno-esque Deckers Rd and plush Foxton Canyon, is as beautiful (and cruel) of an ending to a double century as you will find anywhere!

13 RMCCers threw their hat into the ring to test their physical and mental fortitude against the mighty Cripple Creek Crippler. Mother Nature was once again cooperative for another 2016 Colorado Triple Crown event, providing mostly blue skies with a few light rain showers between Cripple Creek and Divide. And although temperatures were on the toasty side (mid 80s) along the climbs up to Cripple Creek and along CO-67/Deckers Road, they were not as brutal as they could have been!  This year's event had a 100% finishing rate, remarkable for such a difficult ride! Congratulations to all of this years participants and many thanks to our volunteers!

Cripple Creek Crippler participants capture views of Pikes Peak throughout day as they make the epic pilgrimage to Cripple Creek! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
2016 Cripple Creek Crippler Event Summary: 

  • 207 miles, 19,000+ feet of climbing
  • MANY categorized climbs:
    • Deer Creek Canyon: Cat 2
    • High Drive: Cat 3
    • Brook Forest: Cat 2
    • Buffalo Creek Climb (a.k.a, Little Scraggy Peak Climb): Cat 2
    • Deckers to West Creek: Cat 2
    • Teller County Rd 1 to Cripple Creek: Cat 2
    • Cripple Creek to Tenderfoot Pass: Cat 3
    • Colorado Climb 67 (south of Divide): Cat 4
    • CO 67 to Westcreek: Cat 4
    • Deckers Rd (from Deckers toward Buffalo Creek): Cat 2
    • Platte River to High Grade (including Foxton Canyon): Cat 2
  • 19 hour time limit
  • 15 pre-registered riders
  • 13 ride starters, 1 early withdrawals, 1 late withdrawal. Of the riders who started, 12 men, 1 women
  • 13 official finishers (100% finishing rate....0 DNFs!), successfully completing this epic course in under 19 hours (avg. speed > 10.9 m.p.h.).
  • Mark Lowe, unable to catch the ghosts Walter Zitz and Stephen Philips from 2014 (Course record: 12:43), posted the speediest time of the day with a total elapsed time of 13 hours, 19 minutes. Corinne Warren, our lone female participant, recorded an excellent time of 16 hours, 37 minutes to complete her first Cripple Creek Crippler. 

The climb out of Cripple Creek along CO-67 peaks at Tenderfoot Pass (10,200 feet). Riders have 14,000 feet of climbing in their weary legs by the time they reach the high point of the Crippler course. (Photo: Mark Lowe)

Special thanks to this year's volunteers. We simply cannot run these events in this current timed format without their assistance! Thanks again to each of you for your time and efforts!
  • Craig Howell. Craig once again drove our lone support vehicle, providing amazing support for this year's riders at Conifer, Deckers, and Cripple Creek.
  • Aiden and Elora Warren. Aiden and Elora gave up a day of their summer vacation to provide event support for participants in Divide. Thanks, guys! 
  • Wayne Lawton. Long-time club member, Wayne Lawton, ran an aid station in Deckers, servicing parched riders who had just made the long descent from Woodland Park.

RESULTS: 2016 Cripple Creek Crippler

Mark is still smiling but seriously thinking about selling the bikes and taking up speed crocheting after this ride! What an ass-kicker! 
Coming off of a commanding ride at this year's Colorado High Country 1200km, Josh Horwood continues to get faster and faster at these double centuries! Great ride, Josh!
Cagey Colorado Triple Crown veteran, Steve Rudolph, and Triple Crown rookie, Caleb Carl, hold each other up after being debilitated by the "Crippler!" Great ride, guys!
Andy Stockman is cool, calm, and collected after completing his first Cripple Creek Crippler on his new steed, a Foundry multi-terrain hydraulic disk brake road bike. Great ride, Andy!
Instagram this! Tom Miller is BY FAR the most fashionable participant in this year's "Crippler," showing off his neon pink socks and Swatch, along with the neon yellow accents of his Camelback! (Yes...I'm sure the Strava Kudos Army will take notice!!)
Chris Miner survived the dreaded bonk to finish strong! Great ride, Chris! And congratulations on completing your first Triple Crown series!
Jon Sendor is smiling but exhausted at the end of the "Crippler!" It is easy to underestimate the difficulty of this ride! Great ride, Jon! Enjoy your down season!
Ray Rupel battled through a case of bronchitis to complete the mighty Cripple Creek Crippler. Great ride, Ray! (Just food for thought, Ray: Dick Wiss was 63 years old when he completed his last Colorado Triple Crown!) 

David Nelson, also recovering from the Colorado High Country 1200 km brevet, is a bit disappointed to give his "Lantern Rouge" status for this year's Crippler. Great ride, David!
Corinne Warren and Graham Barnes at the conclusion of this year's "Crippler." Corinne had a close call with a crash descending Little Bear Cub Rd before sunrise, but escaped injury! Graham is one ride away from completing his second Colorado Triple Crown. Great ride, guys! 
Jason Turner, also recovering from the Colorado High Country 1200 km brevet,  successfully completes his second Cripple Creek Crippler! Nice ride, Jason! Glad to have you back!

The inferno! The 4-mile, 8% climb out of Deckers doesn't sound that bad, but couple that with mid-afternoon 90-degree temperatures and 16,000 cumulative feet of climbing by the top of the climb and Deckers Road becomes a beast! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Riding through the inferno! Entire mountainsides were stripped bare along Deckers Rd and CO-67 by the Hayman Fire
(2002), which at the time was the largest wildfire in Colorado history. All that remains for miles and miles are the charred skeletons of once majestic pine trees. Barren hillsides and toasty temperatures take their toll on the psyche of parched riders!  (Photo: Mark Lowe)

The beautiful South Valley Park from near Ken Caryl Ranch in Littleton, CO (Photo: Mark Lowe)

Beautiful skies at the conclusion of a really challenging ride!  (Photo: Mark Lowe)

By completing the Cripple Creek Crippler, the following riders have successfully completed the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown. Congratulations to each of you! 

  • Tom Miller (6)
  • Chris Miner (1)
  • Ray Rupel (3)
  • Corinne Warren (2)