Sunday, December 8, 2013

New for 2014!

Guanella Pass Road will make its debut in the Colorado Triple Crown during the inaugural Cycle to Saturn Epic Century and Double Century

What's new for 2014?? Well…quite a bit!  We're busy making preparations for 2014 and there are a few exciting changes in the works…
  1. First, to mix things up a bit for 2014, we're adding a fifth Colorado Triple Crown event: the Cycle to Saturn Double Century, which will be contested on Saturday, August 16, 2014. We're very excited about the new event, which is a reincarnation of the course used during the Saturn Cycling Classic pro bike race (plus a little extra!) from 2000 to 2002. It's an extremely challenging route, including 200+ miles, 20,000 feet of climbing, nine categorized climbs (including three climbs over 11,000 feet), and 10 miles of gnarly gravel roads (mostly in the downhill direction)! We will also be simultaneously contesting a shorter version of the event, from Golden to Breckenridge (140 miles, 14,000 feet), giving riders who aren't interested in completing a double century the opportunity to complete the major climbs of the original Saturn Cycling Classic. However, only riders who complete the double century will be eligible for Colorado Triple Crown credit. 
  2. For 2014, participants must complete three of the five Triple Crown events to officially complete the Colorado Triple Crown series.
  3. Because we are offering a fifth Triple Crown event in 2014, there will not be a make-up date on the calendar for 2014. If one of the events gets cancelled because of terrible weather, forest fires, or other factors that are out of our control, then riders who are planning to complete the Colorado Triple Crown will need to complete one of the other events. Please be forewarned and plan ahead!
  4. The Colorado Death Ride will once again start (and end) in Durango. The Death Ride will move back to the Independence Day weekend (Saturday, July 5, 2014), which will allow participants to travel back and forth from the Denver area without having to use vacation time. Please include Sunday, July 6, 2014 on your calendar as a possible make-up date for this ride if we would be unable to ride on July 5 due to factors that are out of our control. If we could not contest the event of July 5 or 6, then the Death Ride would be cancelled for 2014. 
  5. The original three events of the Colorado Triple Crown (Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen Classic, Colorado Death Ride, and Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop) will remain part of the Colorado Triple Crown Stage Race. As in previous years, the fastest cumulative time of these events will be crowned Colorado Triple Crown Champion for 2014. Update, 06/14. Because of the cancellation of the Grand Loop (due to road construction along US-36 from Lyons to Estes Park), the Cripple Creek Crippler will replace the Grand Loop in the stage race. 
  6. In an attempt to encourage great volunteer support, we will give riders who are planning to volunteer for a Triple Crown event the opportunity to pre-ride that event up to 2 weeks in advance and receive Colorado Triple Crown credit. Only riders who volunteer are eligible to pre-ride an event and receive credit for completing the event.  These riders are not eligible for the stage race. 
  7. Again, to recognize participants for completing the Triple Crown series, riders will be eligible for our Colorado Triple Crown cycling kits created by Alchemist Threadworks in Boulder. For 2014, we are planning a revision of the kit which might include some slightly "cooler" (i.e., more reflective) colors. More on this to come in 2014.

Eben G. Fine Park, the starting location of the Boulder Fearsome Five, under water during September's epic flooding.

Regarding the Short Course events of the RMCC Challenge Series,
  1. We regretfully must postpone the Boulder Fearsome Five until 2015. Unfortunately, this past September's epic flooding in the Boulder area left many of the canyon roads that we use for the BF5 course, including Fourmile Canyon and James Canyon, with major damage that will not be repaired by May 2014…..But no need to fret! We are in the process of creating a new and extremely challenging century ride out of the Golden area to take the place of the BF5 for 2014. We've dubbed this new event the "Golden Anti-Gravity Epic Century." This new route, which will cover many of the lesser traveled roads in the foothills to the west of Golden, will certainly rival the Fearsome Five in terms of sheer vertical gain. It will also have more that its share (lots more!!) of dirt and gravel roads to satisfy the needs of any cyclist who wants to get their road bike a little dirty! More to come on this in 2014!
  2. The Copper Triangle has been taken off the Challenge Series Calendar for 2014. We've decided that by the end of the season, more riders are interested in riding this classic Colorado route for fun than as a timed club event. The Copper Triangle will remain on the RMCC ride schedule as a club ride for 2014. This club ride is great way to spend a day with your RMCC friends, checking out some of the early autumn foliage and kicking off the fall riding season. 
Volunteers…I'm always looking (and begging) for volunteer help to help make our Challenge Series and Triple Crown events run smoothly! Obviously, some of the events, especially those of the Triple Crown, are BIG time commitments. But we do our best to generously compensate our volunteers for their mileage. If anyone is interested in helping out, please let me know! We can't run these events in their current form without your help!!

Thanks,

Mark
mvlowe5@comcast.net


Mark, Seth, and Galen at the conclusion of the 2013 Copper Triangle (80 miles, 7,000 feet of climbing).  After a "bomber" descent down the eastern slopes of Vail Pass, Galen posted a finishing time of 3:59, with Seth and Mark less than 30 seconds behind. It was the first sub-four-hour finishing time for the Copper Triangle in RMCC history! Unfortunately, official results were washed away in this fall's flooding before we got a chance to post them…





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Cycle to Saturn Double Century

Geez! That's a really long ways!!

The Saturn Cycling Classic, contested from 2000 to 2002, was one of the most epic (and brutal) road races ever ridden by the professional peloton in the U.S. The traditional Boulder-to-Breckenridge route boasted an average altitude of over 9,000 feet, climbing over 14,000 vertical feet in 140 miles! Covering a mixture of paved and (nasty) gravel roads, it was perhaps the most difficult single-day road race ever contested in the United States. Of the 190+ professional riders who started the race each year, perhaps only 20 riders would even finish. In spite of this fact, the race attracted some of the U.S.'s biggest cycling stars, including Scott Moninger, Jonathan Vaughters, Chris Wherry, and 2013 Vuelta winner, Chris Horner. It was Colorado's defining road race! In 2014, the Rocky Mountain Cycling Club resurrected major portions of this legendary cycling course, a route that only a few dozen professional riders have ever completed! In 2016, RMCC members will once again get to the opportunity to tackle this legendary route. Get ready to Cycle to Saturn!


Spectacular views of the Continental Divide along Loveland Pass.

Cycle to Saturn Double Century

Date: Back in the near future! 

Start location: Golden, Coors Tek Parking lot, 10th and Jackson Street.

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

Finish location: Golden, Coors Tek Parking lot, 10th and Jackson St.

Map/cue sheetCycle to Saturn Double Century. Official cue sheet with map and checkpoints will be distributed to pre-registered riders.

Distance/climbing: 201 miles/20,000+ feet

Rider limit: 50

Cost-recovery fee: $51. Includes limited SAG support. RMCC membership ($25/year) also required. For more information regarding RMCC membership, select here: RMCC Membership.

Registration: Registration is open! To register, click: Cycle to Saturn Double Century Registration. Registration closes on June 23, 2016. Participants may withdraw by June 11, 2016 for a refund. After June 11th, no refunds will be granted. RMCC membership is required to participate! If you're not a member, please sign up!

Pre-Qualification is encouraged to participate in the Cycle Double Century. Please refer to the link, What's new for 2016? to learn more about pre-qualification.

Results: Please note that this is a timed tour, but not a race. Results will be posted in order of finishing time.

Time limits. 19.5 hours (10.3 mph). Participants must finish within the time limit to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit.

Event Organizer: For specific questions about the event, contact Mark Lowe: mvlowe5@comcast.net

Additional Notes:
  1. Support. RMCC will provide limited SAG support. Personal support vehicles are allowed and encouraged (See Rules, Regulations, and Safety).
  2. Lights. Lights and reflective gear are required.
  3. Rules and Regulations. Please refer to the Colorado Triple Crown Overview for more information. 
  4. UMCA. The Cycle to Saturn Double Century is an Ultramarathon Cycling Association (UMCA) Ultracycling Cup event for 2016. For more information about the UMCA, select: UMCA


The course elevation profile of the Cycle to Saturn Double Century course is a bit
daunting because of its monstrous alpine climbs! 

Course:

The original Boulder-to-Breckenridge route featured six major climbs, including two passes over 11,000 feet! The start of our event, however, deviates slightly from the original route. Our event will start in Golden, not Boulder. Starting in Golden allows double century riders to more easily start and finish in the same location.  However, the crux of the original Saturn Cycling Classic route--Coal Creek Canyon (now Golden Gate Canyon...for safety reasons), Virginia Canyon, Guanella Pass, Kenosha Pass, and Hoosier Pass--are preserved. Double century riders will have the added bonus of climbing three additional categorized climbs--Swan Mountain Road, Loveland Pass, and (the dreaded) Floyd Hill--before making the final descent down Lookout Mountain into Golden.

Here's a brief synopsis of the major climbs of the Cycle to Saturn Epic Century and Double Century:

Views of Tremont Mountain from Golden Gate State Park
Golden Gate Canyon (HC Category)
Starting in Golden, CO, participants will turn west into Golden Gate Canyon, the first major climb of an extremely challenging day! Golden Gate Canyon is actually a series of three shorter climbs that connects Golden to the Peak-to-Peak Highway, collectively gaining over 4,000 feet in 18 miles.  Upon reaching the Peak-to-Peak Highway (US-119), riders will turn south, making the short plunge into the gambling (and mining) communities of Black Hawk and Central City.

With epic views of the Mt. Evans Wilderness to the north, Oh, My God Road originally served as a stagecoach road for shuttling supplies between Idaho Springs, Russel Gulch (one of Colorado's best-preserved ghost towns), and
Central City. It is certain to challenge to the downhill cycling skills of each Cycle to Saturn participant!

Virginia Canyon Road (a.k.a. Oh, My God Road, elev 9,383 feet)
Nestled between Central City (elev. 8,510 feet) and Idaho Springs (elev. 7,581 feet) is Oh My God Road, an 8.5 mile stretch of mixed dirt, gravel, and pavement with steep drop-offs, plentiful switchbacks, and no guardrails! Once participants complete the steep 800+ foot Category 3 climb, riders must then navigate the tricky, technical descent (approximately six miles of dirt, gravel, and some pavement), descending 1,800 feet into Idaho Springs (elev. 7,526 feet).

Connecting Interstate 70 in the north to US-285 in the south, Guanella Pass Road provides convenient access to
Mt. Bierstadt, one of Colorado's most popular 14ers! 

Guanella Pass (elev. 11,669 feet, HC category)
Providing spectacular views of Mt. Bierstadt, Guanella Pass links Georgetown (elev. 8,530 feet) along I-70 to Grant (elev. 8,606 feet) along US-285 to the south. Guanella Pass is a daunting "hors cat├ęgorie" (i.e., HC) climb with several sections of sustained grades of 8%, ascending 3,200 feet in 11 miles from Georgetown. From 2000-2002, Guanella Pass was the "make or break" climb (and descent) of the Saturn Cycling Classic, as the outcome of the race was always determined by this technical road! At the top of the pass, which was a very rough dirt and gravel road, many racers would switch to mountain bikes to minimize the risk of flat tires or other mechanical problems before making the 3,000 foot plunge toward Grant. (However, only those riders who were in the main breakaway were allowed this luxury.)  From 2009 - 2011, a massive paving project spearheaded by the Federal Highway Administration, led to the paving of the northern side of the pass. And in October 2015, construction crews finished paving the southern half of the pass from Guanella Pass summit to Grant, making the southern aspects of Guanella Pass a road cyclist's dream with smooth, pristine blacktop! Yup...Guanella Pass is now entirely paved!

The descent down the western face of Kenosha Pass into the South Park Valley
is all too familiar to Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen veterans! Nasty headwinds can make the 20-mile venture from Kenosha Pass to Fairplay a less than ideal experience!

Kenosha Pass (elev. 10,000 feet, Category 2) 
Kenosha Pass, the eastern gateway into the South Park Valley, is a pass that is all too familiar to Denver-to-Aspen participants! The climb to the Kenosha Pass summit is a gradual seven mile climb from Grant, gaining 1,400 feet along the way. Although US-285 has quite a bit of traffic, this section of the highway from Grant to Fairplay, has a safe shoulder to ride on and is now rumble strip free. After cresting Kenosha Pass, riders will descend into the South Park Valley as they continue west toward Fairplay, CO.

Red Hill Pass is a short climb from the east, but can take its toll on weary legs.

Red Hill Pass (elev. 10,051 feet, Category 4)
Flanked by red hills on both sides of the summit, Red Hill Pass lies four miles to the northeast of Fairplay (elev. 9,953 feet). It is a short climb...less than two miles in length. It is really just a small "bump" on the course elevation profile. But this climb can feel extremely difficult to weary legs, especially after 110+ miles and five climbs…and even more so if the prevailing winds are out of the west!

Views into Summit County from near the summit of Hoosier Pass

Hoosier Pass (elev. 11,542 feet, Category 2)
Along CO-9 between Fairplay and Breckenridge, Hoosier Pass is the southern gateway into Summit County. It is the second major high alpine climb that Cycle to Saturn participants will encounter. And for epic century riders, the ascent over Hoosier pass will be their last major climb of the day. Hoosier pass is an 11-mile climb from Fairplay, gaining approximately 1,600 feet and reaching maximum grades of 8%.  After cresting the summit of the pass, riders will encounter a steep, twisty descent down the north face of the pass toward the ski community of Breckenridge. Breckenridge was the final stop for the Saturn Cycling Classic. For double century participants, however, their journey continues...

Swan Mtn Road, which skirts the southeast aspects of Dillon Reservoir, is a short (but steep) link between Breckenridge and Loveland Pass Road 

Swan Mountain Road (Category 4)
From Breckenridge, double century riders will begin their difficult journey home. Traveling north along CO-9, riders will turn east onto Swan Mountain Road, which connects CO-9 to Loveland Pass Road, skirting the southeast corner of Dillon Reservoir. The climb over Swan Mountain Road is only 4 miles long, but its steep pitches will surely wreck havoc on the exhausted legs of riders, who will have climbed 15,000 feet by the time they reach the top of this short climb!

With its majestic high alpine vistas, Loveland Pass is one of Colorado's finest cycling passes.

Loveland Pass. (elev. 11,990 feet, Category 1)
Loveland Pass is a complete gem! Adorned by spectacular views of the Continental Divide, it is truly one of Colorado's most majestic mountain passes! Loveland Pass Road gains 2,630 feet in 8.7 miles from the Keystone ski resort. Weary riders will definitely want to have their digital cameras handy for this climb! At an altitude just shy of 12,000 feet, the views will certainly leave double century riders breathless! After cresting this spectacular pass, riders will make the exhilarating 4-mile plunge down the eastern face of the pass to the Loveland Ski Resort. From the resort, riders will jump on the recently constructed Continental Divide Trail as they continue the long descent toward Silver Plume and Georgetown.

Running parallel to I-70, the short (but steep) climb up the western face of Floyd Hill
can be a daunting task to exhausted riders!

Floyd Hill (Category 3)
Floyd Hill is a climb that is well-known to riders who have completed the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop. The climb up the Floyd Hill frontage road (US-40) is a short, but challenging climb, gaining 710 feet in 1.8 miles with an average grade of 8%. After cresting Floyd Hill, riders will continue in the eastbound direction, tackling a final series of rollers through Bergen Park before making the final descent to Golden.


As double century riders return from Saturn, they will have completed over 20,000 of climbing for the day.  Riders will  most certainly embrace the final 5-mile descent down Lookout Mountain into Golden. 
The descent down Lookout Mountain Road into downtown Golden marks the conclusion of a difficult day of riding! Congratulations on cycling to Saturn!!

More to come on this EPIC adventure in 2016. Stay tuned!!