Wednesday, December 31, 2014

What's New for 2015???


Well...in a nutshell...LOTS! 

1. First, we're adding two new rides to the mix for 2015: 


We here at the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) are always dreaming of new rides, especially EPIC ones! We sit at home, late at night, staring at Colorado state maps, conjuring up new (and sometimes sadistic) ways to "connect the dots" and challenge our club members. We're constantly searching for the next BIG ride!

Well, the search for the next BIG adventure continues for 2015. And we've conjured up several new, EPIC routes for this upcoming season that will hopefully pique your interest.  For 2015, the RMCC presents: 

Please look for the postings on this blog about these new events.



2. Second, we're "relaxing" some of the rules regarding pre-qualification for the Colorado Triple Crown events. 

Since the inception of the Colorado Triple Crown in 2009, we've required riders to "prequalify" for these extremely challenging rides. The reason behind pre-qualification is simple. Since the RMCC runs these events with minimal volunteer support, we need to be sure that participants have both the physical and mental fortitude to complete these rides. Pre-qualification is the best way to do so!  For many prospective participants, however, pre-qualification is a major barrier to participation. So, to continue to encourage participation, ensure event integrity, and ensure rider safety, we are making the following changes to our pre-qualification requirements for the 2015 season...

To pre-qualify, registrants 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

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
Participants who have not met the pre-qualification requirements listed above can still register, but they will need to ride with a personal support vehicle (which is allowed and encouraged) until they can demonstrate that they can complete at least one of the Triple Crown events within its designated time limit. After registering, these riders will need to e-mail me with the name of their support person.

As in previous seasons, RMCC membership is still be required to participate! 



3. Registration
  1. Fees. Participants can expect a small increase in registration fees for the Colorado Triple Crown events in 2015 ($50/event). So where does this money go? Believe it or not, the RMCC really don't make any money for running these events. Our goal is to encourage participation, NOT turn a profit. But the fees that we charge to participate in these events barely cover our expenses of actually running these events (e.g., reimbursement for mileage, food, and sometimes motels for volunteers, etc.).  If we do have extra revenue at the end of the 2015 season, we will use these extra funds to subsidize the production costs of Colorado Triple Crown cycling kits for those riders who successfully complete the series and purchase a Colorado Triple Crown cycling kit at then end of the season! 
  2. Dates. Registration for the 2015 Colorado Triple Crown events will open on March 1, 2015. Please pay attention to this blog and the RMCC website for more details in the weeks ahead. 
  3. Withdrawal. For those members who have registered and need to withdraw from an event, they can do so up to 3 weeks prior to the date of the event. After 3 weeks, refunds will not be granted. 
  4. Transfers. For 2015, registration fees will not be transferrable between events. So please plan ahead!

4. Volunteers

We are 100% dependent on volunteer support! Since 2009, RMCC president, Charlie Henderson, has been essential for supporting these rides. Without Charlie's help, we simply could not run this series in its current format. Over the past few seasons, other individuals--usually family members of other Triple Crown participants--have volunteered time to provide event support. Thank you to all of you!!!

For 2015, we are looking for more 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 2015, we will 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. If a rider volunteers a family member to provide event support, that rider gets to ride for free. Those riders will receive a refund for their registration fee. 
  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 food/snack purchases accrued during the event. 
Notes:
  1. Please note that personal support vehicles do not count as volunteer SAG for these events. 
  2. If Charlie is unavailable to volunteer and we are able to secure another volunteer for an event, then that event will be ridden in brevet format (i.e., without support). Please be aware of this!



5. Triple Crown Kits

For 2015, we will re-designing our very distinguished Colorado Triple Crown kit to perhaps include some lighter colors. We will start working on the new design in the months ahead. Please stay posted!

Well...the road to 2015 begins now. Bring it on!! (If only it was that flat!) 




Mark
e-mail: mvlowe5@comcast.net 

Colorado High Country Double Century

Early morning views of Rabbit Ears Mountain from near Muddy Pass
Inspired by the RMCC Colorado High Country 1200km, the Colorado High Country Double Century is our first Colorado Triple Crown event for 2015. This challenging, new route travels from Boulder to Steamboat Springs along some of northern Colorado’s less traveled roads. Like the other Triple Crown events, the Colorado High Country Double Century is definitely not a flat course, climbing over 12,000 feet in 207 miles. It will be an excellent kick-off event for the 2015 Triple Crown season! Here are the event highlights:

Date: Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sign-in/Start: 3:00 am/4:00 am*

Start location: Boulder, CO: Eben G. Fine Park, 101 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder CO 80302*

End location: Steamboat Springs, TBD. Host motel: Rabbit Ears Motel, 201 Lincoln St. Steamboat Springs, CO 80477, phone: 970-879-1150. The Rabbit Ears Motel will be holding a block of rooms for RMCC members at a discounted rate of $149.99/night + taxes for rooms with 1 king or 2 queen sized beds through May 4, 2015. (Code: Rocky Mountain Cycling Club)

Map: Colorado High Country Double Century* (Preliminary Route)

Registration: Registration opens 3/1/2015. Please pay attention to this blog and the RMCC website for more details. This event has a $50 registration fee. Registration is limited to the first 50 pre-registered riders. Registration closes June 11, 2015. Participants may withdraw by May 23, 2015 for a full refund. After May 23, no refunds will be granted. RMCC membership is also required to participate in this event. For more information about membership: RMCC membership. 


The climb up Poudre Canyon is gradual but long,
gaining over 5,000 feet in 58 miles! 
Brief description: An EPIC single day journey from Boulder to Steamboat Springs on some of Northern Colorado's less-traveled roads. This new point-to-point route passes through the picturesque Poudre Canyon, Colorado's longest Front Range canyon, to its summit at the beautiful Cameron Pass, before plummeting into the North Park Valley. The route finishes with a short climb over Rabbit Ears Pass and a blazing descent to the mountain resort town of Steamboat Springs. 

Course Highlights:
  • Distance: 207 miles, a point-to-point route from Boulder, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO
  • Climbing: 12,000+ feet
  • Course map: Colorado High Country Double Century* (Preliminary Route)
  • 2 crossings of the Continental Divide: Muddy Pass and Rabbit Ears Pass
  • 3 categorized climbs:
The spectacular approach to Cameron Pass after 58 miles of nearly continuous climbing1

Cameron Pass via Poudre Canyon, Hors Categorie (HC). (The HC classification is a bit misleading for this climb. Historically, the HC designation was used for mountain roads where cars were unable to pass. HC climbs are typically very long (> 10 miles), very steep (grades > 8-10%), or very high (>11,000 ft). The climb up Poudre Canyon from Ted’s Place is long (58 miles of nearly continuous climbing!), but never steep (average grades of 1-2% for most of the climb, but a bit steeper, 3-6%, in the last 10 miles). The climb up Poudre Canyon over Cameron Pass gains over 5,000 feet. The summit of the pass is 10,276 feet, placing it at high altitude. Given the distance and high altitude, the climb up Poudre Canyon reaches HC status. 


Muddy Pass (elev. 8,772 ft), Category 5. Muddy Pass is one of the lower crossings of the Continental Divide. Muddy Pass marks the western terminus of CO-14 at its junction with US-40 after a lengthy grind through the North Park Valley.

Riders will encounter nearly 7 miles of rollers near the top of Rabbit Ears Pass
before making the steep plunge into Steamboat Springs.
Rabbit Ears Pass (elev. 9,426 ft), Category 4. A moderately steep 3-mile climb, gaining 650 feet from Muddy Pass to the southeast.

Time limit: 16 hours (to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit)*

Event organizer: Mark Lowe (e-mail: mvlowe5@comcast.net)

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 2015??
  3. Given the exposure to high altitude, severe weather is a major concern with this event. As such, riders need to be prepared, bringing their best winter- and wet-riding gear with them!
  4. The RMCC is not responsible for transportation back to Boulder from Steamboat Springs. Please start working on arrangements ASAP to get you and your bike back to Boulder after this event! 
  5. Lights and reflective gear are required!

*Subject to change


The ski resort town of Steamboat Springs is the finishing location
for this spectacular new Colorado Triple Crown event.





Colorado Classic Double Century

Colorado's Classic Double Century starts and ends in Buena Vista, CO with spectacular views
of the 14,000 foot Collegiate Peaks to the west.

The Colorado Classic Double Century.....Is this Colorado's most perfect loop?

We've dubbed this new Colorado Triple Crown event the “Colorado Classic Double Century.”  This ride truly captures the essence of road cycling in Colorado: spectacular high-altitude climbs, panoramic vistas, blazing mountain descents, and long sections of dirt and gravel roads. This is a route that is not entirely unknown, as other riders have attempted this EPIC loop. Please check out Zack Vestal’s video account of his attempt to complete this amazing loop. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words. If that's the case, then a short movie is worth 100,000 words!

Here are the event highlights of the upcoming Colorado Classic Double Century:

Date: Saturday, July 11, 2015

Sign-in/Start: 2:00 am/3:00 am*

Start/ending location: Beuna Vista, CO. Host hotel: Best Western Vista Inn, 733 US Hwy 24 N, Buena Vista, CO 81221. Phone: 719-395-8009. The Best Western will be holding a block of rooms for the RMCC for the nights of July 10-11 for a discounted group rate of $149.99/night for a room with 2 queen beds and $159.99/night for a room with 1 king bed. This discounted rate will expire on June 10, 2015.

Course map: Colorado Classic Double Century.  Cue sheet coming soon!

Registration: Registration opens 3/1/2015. Please pay attention to this blog and the RMCC website for more details. This event has a $50 registration fee. Registration is limited to the first 50 pre-registered riders. Registration closes July 9, 2015. Participants may withdraw by June 20, 2015 for a full refund. After June 20, no refunds will be granted. RMCC membership is also required to participate in this event. For more information about membership: RMCC membership. 


A canopy of aspen drape the packed dirt and gravel road
near the summit of Kebler Pass.

Brief description: Perhaps Colorado's most perfect loop, Colorado's Classic Double Century is an EPIC loop--one of the nation's finest--starting and ending in Buena Vista, CO. The route includes 243 miles, 16,000 feet of climbing, four high alpine passes (Independence Pass, McClure Pass, Kebler Pass, and Cottonwood Pass), two crossings of the Continental Divide, 42 miles of dirt and gravel roads, and miles and miles of panoramic mountain vistas. Is this Colorado's most perfect loop? Come find out for yourself! 

Crested Butte: the jaw-dropping mountain scenery just keeps coming at you!
Course Highlights:
  • Distance: 243 miles, an EPIC loop—one of the nation's finest! Yup! This is a looong one, supplanting the Colorado Death Ride as the nations' s longest double century event.
  • Climbing: 16,000+ feet
  • Course map: Colorado's Classic Double Century*
  • 2 crossings of the Continental Divide: Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass
  • 42 miles of dirt and gravel roads
  • 4 categorized climbs:
Snaking its way up to 12,095 feet, Independence Pass is all-to-familiar
to Denver-to-Aspen veterans!

Independence Pass (elev. 12,095 ft), Category 1. Lying half way between Twin Lakes and the ritzy ski resort town of Aspen, the climb up CO-82 over Independence Pass is familiar to Denver-to-Aspen veterans. Climbing nearly 3,000 feet from Twin Lakes, Independence Pass is the fourth highest road in Colorado and the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide in the U.S. 

Views of the Crystal River Valley from the near the summit of McClure Pass
McClure Pass (elev. 8,775 ft), Category 3 (from Redstone). At just under 9,000 feet, McClure Pass is not one of Colorado’s highest mountain passes. But stunning vistas at the summit make this pass one of Colorado’s finest passes to observe spectacular autumn foliage. The gradual climb from Carbondale (elev. 6,181 ft) up CO-133 along the beautiful, red rock-laden Crystal River Valley is dominated by views of Mt. Sopris (elev. 12,965 ft) to the south and east. The final approach to the summit of the pass from the town of Redstone, CO (elev. 7,200 ft) is steep, averaging 8% for 3 miles. 

The climb toward Kebler Pass from Paonia State Park to Crested Butte
is never short on mountain scenery!
Kebler Pass (elev. 10,007 ft). Hors Categorie (HC). Kebler Pass is one of Colorado’s lesser known cycling gems! Starting from Paonia State Park (elev. 6,300 ft), the road climbing to the summit of the pass is a combination of packed dirt, gravel, and some pavement. The climb, which is extremely slow-moving at times due to the dirt and gravel road surface, is a behemoth, gaining nearly 4,000 feet in 24 miles. The climb is truly stunning, passing through panoramic vistas and the largest aspen grove in the U.S.

The climb over Cottonwood Pass, one of the highest points of any event in the Colorado Triple Crown,
is one of the most spectacular climbs in Colorado!

Cottonwood Pass (elev. 12,126 ft), Category 1. The climb up Cottonwood Pass Road is only 14 miles. But it is a daunting, slow-moving climb that gains 2,800 feet on dirt, gravel, and washboard…a challenging ride for front-wheeled drive passenger vehicles, even more so for road bicycles! However, the panoramic, breath-taking (literally!) views from the summit of the pass are some of the most stunning in the state! The blazing, technical descent down the eastern slopes of the pass toward Buena Vista are equally as exhilarating!

The descent down the eastern slopes of Cottonwood Pass toward Buena Vista
is one of the best in the state!


Time limit: 20 hours (to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit)*

Event Organizer: Mark Lowe (e-mail: mvlowe5@comcast.net)

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 2015???
  3. Given the exposure to high altitude, severe weather is a major concern with this event. As such, riders need to be prepared, bringing their best winter- and wet-riding gear with them!
  4. Lights and reflective gear are required!
Never-ending miles of Colorado mountain vistas!

*Subject to change


Sunday, December 14, 2014

2015 Colorado Triple Crown Events and Dates


Wow! 2015 is rapidly approaching! We have some new tricks up our sleeves for 2015. Here's the  Colorado Triple Crown line-up for 2015:

  1. Saturday, June 13, 2015: Colorado High Country Double Century (Boulder, CO to Steamboat Springs, CO)*
  2. Saturday, June 27, 2015: Colorado Death Ride
  3. Saturday, July 11, 2015: Colorado Classic Double Century (i.e., the Colorado Dirty Double Century)*
  4. Saturday, July 27, 2015: Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop
  5. Saturday, August 28, 2015: Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen Classic (brevet format/self-supported)
  6. TBD, September 2014: Mountains to Desert/Telluride 200**
    • *New event! Pay attention to the Colorado Triple Crown Blog and RMCC website over the next few weeks for more information regarding these spectacular new events! 
    • **The Telluride 200 is a wonderful event organized by the Just For Kids Foundation in Telluride, CO. This year, we will be giving Colorado Triple Crown credit for riders who successfully complete this double century within their challenging time limit! For more information about this spectacular ride: Mountains to Desert/Telluride 200.
There will be six opportunities for riders to complete the series in 2015. But as you can see, it's going to be a "fast and furious" season: 4 events in a mere 6 weeks from June 2015 through July 2015 plus one unsupported event in August and another non-RMCC event in September. 

2015 is a Paris-Brest-Paris (PBP) year. PBP, the world's oldest 1200 km brevet, only takes place every 4 years. In 2015, PBP will take place during the middle of August. We want to make sure that all riders who would like to complete the 2015 Colorado Triple Crown are adequately recovered for PBP.

And what about the Cripple Creek Crippler and Cycle to Saturn Double Century??? Don't worry, these events will be back in 2016. We continue to add to our repertoire of events to keep the series "fresh" and challenging for everyone!

More to come soon!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

2014 Colorado Triple Crown Finishers


Congratulations to the following riders for completing the 2014 Colorado Triple Crown, Colorado's most difficult endurance road cycling series!

  1. Diane Benoit, Morrison, CO, 3rd Triple Crown
  2. Tim Cannon, Telluride, CO, 1st Triple Crown 
  3. Ryan Franz, Boulder, CO, 2nd Triple Crown
  4. Craig Howell, Littleton, CO, 3rd Triple Crown
  5. Mark Lowe, Arvada, CO, 5th Triple Crown 
  6. Tom Miller, Denver, CO, 4th Triple Crown
  7. Eric Nelsen, Evergreen, CO, 3rd Triple Crown
  8. David Nelson, Greenwood Village, CO, 1st Triple Crown
  9. Steven Philips, Boulder, CO, 1st Triple Crown
  10. Steve Rudolph, Westminster, CO, 3rd Triple Crown
  11. Ray Rupel, Centennial, CO, 2nd Triple Crown
  12. Steve Schroer, Littleton, CO, 2nd Triple Crown
  13. Michael Turek, Longmont, CO, 1st Triple Crown 
  14. Corinne Warren, Monument, CO, 1st Triple Crown
  15. Walter Zitz, Lakewood, CO, 1st Triple Crown 

Congratulations to the following riders who completed all four Triple Crown events offered by the RMCC in 2014:

  1. Mark Lowe
  2. Tom Miller
  3. Eric Nelsen
  4. Steve Rudolph

More to come soon on the 2015 Colorado Triple Crown!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Houston...We Have Lift-Off!! The Inaugural Cycle to Saturn Recap

RMCCers tackle a new challenge: the Cycle to Saturn Double Century,
a reincarnation (of sorts) of the Saturn Cycling Classic (2000 - 2002),
one of the most brutal road races ever contested in the U.S. 

“It’s the nature of the human being to face challenges. It’s by the nature of his deep inner soul…we’re required to do these things just as salmon swim upstream.”
– Neil Armstrong


August 10, 2002
Many of America’s most decorated bicycle racers--names including the likes of Jonathan Vaughters, Scott Moninger, and Chris Horner--started the third (and final) Saturn Cycling Classic (2001 – 2002). The Saturn Cycling Classic was one of the most brutal road races every contested on U.S. soil…140 miles from Boulder, CO to the mountain resort town of Breckenridge, CO. The route included seven mountain passes, climbing over 14,000 feet, and boasting an average altitude of over 9.000 feet! The route included some of the nastiest roads every ridden by a professional peloton in the U.S.!  Virginia Canyon Road (i.e., Oh My God Road) was an intimidating combination of rough pavement, gravel, dirt…and no guardrails! The climb over the Hors Categorie, Guanella Pass, was an even more daunting task. The road over Guanella Pass consisted of extremely rough pavement, which deteriorated rapidly near the summit of climb (11,671 feet) into a nasty mixture of dirt, gravel, rocks, and washboard. Lead riders would often switch to mountain bikes at the summit of the pass to conserve energy and minimize the risk of a mechanical mishap. At the end of the race, only 20 of the 150 racers who started would even finish! For many reasons, this was the last time this race was ever contested. And the race vanished into American cycling folklore…R.I.P…

Guanella Pass, flanked by Mt. Bierstadt to the east, is the first high alpine climb
of the "Inner Ring of Saturn."

-All adventures, especially into new territory, are scary.”
– Sally Ride

Fast-forward to 2014…
On August, 9, 2014, members of the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) "toed the line" for the Cycle to Saturn Double Century, resurrecting the major portions of the Saturn Cycling Classic from over a decade ago. Granted, much has changed since 2002. First, for logistical reasons, the start location was moved from Boulder to Golden. Second, participants ascended Golden Gate Canyon—not the highly populated Coal Creek Canyon—as the first major climb of the day. However, the crux of the Saturn Cycling Classic course, including the bumpy dirt and gravel descents down Virginia Canyon (Oh My God Road) and Guanella Pass—remained intact. Event organizer, Mark Lowe, explained, “We really wanted to use Coal Creek Canyon as the first major climb. But we decided that Golden Gate Canyon was a much safer canyon to use because it has much less residential traffic and it sustained only minimal damage during last September’s Front Range floods.” Mark continued, “the Golden start location also made much more sense logistically for creating a double century event. Starting and ending in Boulder would have meant a much longer and more challenging day…not a realistic expectation considering the current course already has over 20,000 feet of climbing!” In spite of the intimidating dirt and gravel sections, the roads are in much better shape than when the professionals last attempted this route in 2002. The northern half of Guanella Pass, in particular, is much improved after the Federal Highway Administration completed a massive paving project from Georgetown to the summit of the pass in 2012.


Views from the spectacular Loveland Pass (on a sunnier day)!


“Failure is not an option!”   Gene Kranz

For many Cycle to Saturn participants, this was their final opportunity to complete the 2014 Colorado Triple Crown. Riders who had aspirations of completing the Triple Crown, Colorado’s most difficult endurance road series, had to complete three of the four RMCC-sponsored double century events to successfully complete this year's series. Unfortunately, gusty winds and an unusually late winter storm thwarted many riders attempts at completing the Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen Classic in June. And to make matters even more challenging, the RMCC Board of Directors cancelled the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop after the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) closed US-36 from Lyons to Estes Park--an essential corridor of the Grand Loop--to bicycle traffic for the remainder of 2014 for flood-related road repairs. So for many riders, failure was not an option. Many participants had to complete the intimidating Cycle to Saturn course—a route that only professional racers had ever attempted—to successfully complete this season’s Colorado Triple Crown.  

Views for Virginia Canyon back toward Central City

18 glutton-for-punishment RMCCers "prepared for lift-off" for this year’s Cycle to Saturn Double Century. This year’s event also welcomed a small contingency of riders from Missouri, who attempted to tackle the debilitating high alpine climbs of the Cycle to Saturn course and their first Colorado Triple Crown event. The mission at hand was daunting:
  • 201.7 miles, 20,000+ feet of climbing!
  • An average altitude of over 9,000 feet. The average altitude of “Inner Ring of Saturn” (i.e., Georgetown-to-Georgetown), including Guanella Pass, Kenosha Pass, Red Hill Pass, Hoosier Pass, and Loveland Pass is just below 10,000 feet!
  • 9 categorized climbs:
    • Golden Gate Canyon. Consisting of three shorter climbs, Golden Gate Canyon is a Hors Category climb that ascends steeply into the foothills to the west of Golden, climbing 4,100 feet in 18 miles. 
    • Black Hawk to Virginia Canyon Summit. The five-mile grind out of the gambling communities of Black Hawk and Central city is a Category 2 climb, climbing nearly 1,420 feet in five miles, punishing participants with sustained grades of 10-12%, some of the steepest climbing of the day.
    • Guanella Pass. Climbing steeply out of the Victorian mining town of Georgetown, Guanella Pass Road is a daunting Hors Category Climb, gaining 3,200 feet in 11 miles.  Flanked to the east by Mt. Bierstadt and Mt. Evans, two of Colorado's most accessible 14,000 foot peaks, Guanella Pass crests well above timberline. 
    • Kenosha Pass: Kenosha Pass is a Category 2 climb that ascends gradually along US-285 from Grant, gaining 1,300 feet in seven miles. Many riders find this climb to be one of the most challenging of the day, especially since the traffic along US-285 can be a bit unnerving! 
    • Red Hill Pass: A Category 4 climb, Red Hill Pass doesn't appear to be more than a "bump" on the elevation profile, but this little "bump" can feel debilitating to riders who already have 12,000 feet of climbing in their fatigued legs for the day. 
    • Hoosier Pass: Climbing gently out of Alma, Hoosier Pass is a Category 2 climb that gains 1,200 feet in six miles before making the twisty plunge into Breckenridge, the finishing point of the original Saturn Cycling Classic.
    • Swan Mountain Road: This short climb skirts the eastern edge of Lake Dillon, connecting Breckenridge to Loveland Pass Road and gaining less than 500 feet along the way.
    • Loveland Pass. One of Colorado's most spectacular mountain passes, Loveland Pass Road is a Category 1 climb that gains 2,500 feet in 8.6 miles from the Keystone Resort, offering stunning views of high alpine peaks along the Continental Divide. 
    • Floyd Hill: A Category 3 climb, Floyd Hill parallels I-70 to the east of Idaho Springs, punishing riders with 8% grades and 900 feet of additional climbing in 1.9 miles. 
  • 2 long, bumpy descents on packed dirt and gravel roads:
    • Virginia Canyon Road (Oh My God Road) to Idaho Springs, 7 miles
    • Geneva Road: Guanella Pass Summit to Grant, 10 miles (nearly 6 miles longer than expected as, unbeknownst to RMCCers, CDOT had started the final stages of paving Guanella Pass from Grant to the summit of the pass). Fortunately, none of this year's participants experienced any major delays. Guanella Pass will likely be completely paved from Georgetown to Grant by sometime early in 2015.
  • Stunning high alpine mountain scenery, easily rivaling the Colorado Death Ride and Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop as the state's most spectacular double century course. 

Looking up Oh My God Road, the first of two difficult rough dirt and gravel sections
on the Cycle to Saturn course.

"Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."  
–Neil Armstrong

At the conclusion of this year's event, 11 of 19 participants successfully completed this year's Cycle to Saturn Double Century within the 19.5 hours time limit. All participants, including the speediest of riders, approached this new course with a great deal of trepidation. The long downhill packed dirt sections descents of Virginia Canyon and Guanella Pass, the intimidating high-alpine "Inner ring of Saturn," and the potential for nasty monsoon thunderstorms wore on the psyche of all Cycle to Saturn participants! Many participants, including the brave-hearted riders from Missouri, found the persistent exposure to high altitude debilitating and had to abandon en route to Breckenridge. And as with the previous three Triple Crown events of 2014, Mother Nature had her way with this year’s participants, sprinkling riders with thundershowers, some of them quite heavy at times, for nearly 75 miles from Fairplay back to Idaho Springs. Frigid temperatures on top of the stormy Loveland Pass nearly derailed other riders attempts at completing the event.  Many participants were hypothermic after making the long, chilly, and wet plunge from the summit of Loveland Pass back to Georgetown. Many riders had to take refuge in support vehicles to warm up before completing final 40 miles of the event. In the end, 11 of 19 riders proved that it is possible to Cycle to Saturn (and back) in a single day and resurrect one of Colorado's greatest race courses from cycling folklore! Mission accomplished!

Event Summary:
  • 22 preregistered riders
  • 18 ride starters, 3 withdrawals, 1 no show. Of the riders who started on "race day," 16 were men, 2 were women.
  • 11 official finishers (61% finishing rate), completing the course within the 19.5 hour time limit, 7 DNFs.
  • Congratulations to Eric Nelsen and Mark Lowe, who posted the fastest time for the day of 13:55 (14.49 mph). 
  • Congratulations to Diane Benoit, our speediest female competitor, who completed the course in 17:32 (11.50 mph).

Special thanks to this year's event volunteers:
  1. RMCC club president, Charlie Henderson, who sacrificed another long day to provide event support. 
  2. Craig Howell, who sacrificed over 21 consecutive hours to provide support for this year's event!
  3. Mike Turek, who helped support riders in Breckenridge.

Brief Results (Complete results with splits will be posted on the new RMCC website later this year:


Name Age Total Time Avg. Speed (mph)
Nelsen, Eric 42 13:55 14.49
Lowe, Mark 40 13:55 14.49
Rudolph, Steve 54 14:30 13.91
Franz, Ryan 36 14:32 13.88
Philips, Steven 47 15:24 13.1
Miller, Tom 45 15:45 12.81
Benoit, Diane 56 17:32 11.5
Rupel, Ray 59 18:25 10.95
Schroer, Steve 46 18:42 10.79
Barnes, Graham 43 18:50 10.71
Warren, Corinne 46 19:25 10.39
Turner, Jason 39 DNF
Dougan, Dan 38 DNF
Jackson, Jim 43 DNF
Perdue, Dave 48 DNF
Schrock, Josh 31 DNF
Shannon, Kelly 53 DNF
Miller, Tim  44 DNF
Eckenroth, Jason 37 DNS

Congratulations to all of this year's finishers! 

Long-live the Saturn Cycling Classic! 

Mark Lowe and Eric Nelsen at the conclusion of the ride. Mark, who was glad to have survived unscathed after a front tire blowout while climbing Kenosha Pass, was eventually able to catch up with Eric on Loveland Pass while Eric took shelter at the Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort during a thunderstorm. 

Happy to have survived the mission to Cycle to Saturn,
Steve Rudolph is all smiles at the conclusion of the ride.
Ryan Franz at the conclusion of the event. Ryan unfortunately rode through the dirt sections of Guanella Pass Road shortly after a water truck had passed by, turning the road (as well as Ryan and his bike) into muddy mess! 
Steven Philips, refueling at the control point in Breckenridge, had another excellent day on the bike. Steven was able to complete the ride and still muster enough energy to meet his wife for an anniversary dinner! Impressive!
A natural climber, Triple Crown veteran, Tom Miller,
was wondering why the Cycle to Saturn course
didn't have even more high alpine climbs!
(Remember: I've got the keys to this car!" :) 
Diane Benoit completes her third Triple Crown by completing Cycle to Saturn. Congratulations, Diane!
Ray Rupel's morning got off to an ominous start after he crashed during the first descent of Golden Gate Canyon. Ray amazingly was able to get back on his bike and complete this challenging ride with bruised ribs. Congratulations, Ray, on completing your second Triple Crown!
Not fully recovered from the High Country 1200 km in July, Corinne Warren persevered to complete the Cycle to Saturn Double Century and her first Colorado Triple Crown. Congratulations, Corinne, on a stellar season!
(FYI: Corinne bakes a mean chocolate chip cookie...just sayin'!)

Jason Turner and Steve Shroer in Breckenridge, a bit chilled
after the cool, wet descent down Hoosier Pass...
and preparing for the even chillier ride over Loveland Pass!
RMCC president, Charlie Henderson, and Graham Barnes at the Breckenridge checkpoint.



With the conclusion of the Cycle to Saturn Double Century, the following riders have successfully completed the 2014 Colorado Triple Crown. Congratulations to all of you!

  • Diane Benoit, 3rd Triple Crown
  • Ryan Franz, 2nd Triple Crown
  • Steven Philips, 1st Triple Crown
  • Ray Rupel, 2nd Triple Crown
  • Steve Schroer, 2nd Triple Crown
  • Corinne Warren, 1st Triple Crown


The conclusion of the inaugural Cycle to Saturn Double Century marks the conclusion of the 2014 Colorado Triple Crown. This season—our sixth Triple Crown—has indeed been one of the most challenging weather-wise! With wind and nasty winter weather thwarting many riders attempt to complete Denver-to-Aspen and with the unfortunate cancellation of the Grand Loop, this year’s repertoire of events left riders who had aspirations of completing this year’s Triple Crown with few options, except to complete some of the most difficult double centuries in the nation, including the Colorado Death Ride, the Cripple Creek Crippler, and Cycle to Saturn Double Century. So “hats off” to all of this year’s Colorado Triple Crown finishers for persevering through a difficult season!

We’ll see you in 2015!