The Grand Loop...at 200 miles and 16,000 feet of vertical gain, they don't call it "grand" for nothing! The Grand Loop is indeed one of Colorado's most spectacular cycling loops. The route, which traverses Rocky Mountain National Park via Trail Ridge Road (from Estes Park, CO in the east to Grand Lake, CO in the west), covers 48 miles of the most majestic scenery in the entire state of Colorado. Bring your altitude lungs as well as your climbing legs! Trail Ridge Road is the highest continuous highway in the United States, with more than eight miles lying above 11,000 feet and a maximum elevation of 12,183 feet. Not to be outdone, the route also climbs Berthoud Pass (11,307 feet) during the return from Winter Park. Here's "the skinny" on this weekend's event...
1) Ride Date: Saturday, July 30, 2011
2) Start and Finish Location: Coors parking lot at 10th and Jackson Street, just to the north of Parfet Park in downtown Golden, Colorado.
3) Ride start/check-in: Rider check-in at 2:30 am. Ride start at 3:00 am. Lights and reflective gear are required!
4) Official support vehicles: We will have one support vehicle to SAG this ride, which will be driven by Charlie Henderson (Charlie's cell phone: 720-480-9714). Participants riding without private SAG support should plan to use this support vehicle to transport gear bags. These gear bags will be accessible at checkpoints along the course. Participants riding with private SAG support should notify Charlie prior to the start of the ride that they will have support from family or friends. Riders with private SAG support may be asked to support other riders. Please remember: no follow-vehicles.
5) Time limits: Please keep in mind that this is a timed bike ride! Participants have 18 hours to complete this ride to earn an official finishing time and to receive Colorado Triple Crown credit. Riders can only begin riding at the official start time and must reach all checkpoints before the following time cut-offs to receive an official finishing time: 1) Golden, Coors-Tek Parking Lot, 2) Lyons, 5:40 am, 3) Estes Park, 8:00 am, 4) Fall River Pass/Alpine Visitor Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, 12:00 noon, 5) Granby, 2:00 pm. 6) Berthoud Pass, 5:30 pm, 7) Idaho Springs (optional), 7:00 pm, 8) Golden, Coors-Tek Parking Lot, 9:00 pm. If riders are going to summit Berthoud Pass after 5:00 pm, please let Charlie know!
6) Checkpoints: All riders should plan to have their event passports validated at the following official checkpoints: 1) Lyons, Diamond Shamrock, south side of US 36, 2) Estes Park, Safeway on right side of road at intersection of Hwy 34 and Wonderview Avenue 3) RMNP Fall River Pass/Alpine Visitor Center, 4) Granby, store on northeast corner of Hwy 34 and Hwy 40, 5) Berthoud Pass summit, 6) Golden, Coors Tek parking lot (finish). Finishers should have their event passports validated by RMCC personel. If Charlie is not present at the finish, you can mail your event card to: Charlie Henderson, 2 Blue Grouse Ridge Road, Littleton, CO 80127.
7) Additonal Support Points: Riders with private SAG support may also receive additional support at these locations: Idaho Springs, Safeway.
8) Special notes about the ride: 1) Please bring your National Parks Pass/Photo I.D. or $10 ride into Rocky Mountain National Park. Tip: If you can arrive at the RMNP Fall River Road (east) park entrance before 7:00 a.m., you might be able to ride into the park without having to stop. 2) If the weather turns nasty, support can be anywhere! 2) Faster riders may out-run the support vehicle after the Alpine Visitors Center in Rocky Mountain National Park and will not be to access their gear bags after leaving this check point. These riders need to plan ahead and bring the supplies and gear that they will need to complete this ride!
9) Abandonment: If you need to abandon the ride for any reason, please call Charlie Henderson at 720-480-9714 as soon as possible to let him know! Additionally, if you are going to summit Berthoud Pass after 5:00 pm, please call Charlie to let him know! We don't want to spend all night worrying about where you are! Please note that we do not sweep the course!
10) Emergencies: If you have an accident or injury that requires emergent attention, please call 911. Please call Charlie ASAP to let him know!
11) Event Rules: Please review the event rules before the ride on Saturday: http://coloradotriplecrown.blogspot.com/2011/05/rules-regulations-and-safety.html