Wednesday, December 31, 2014

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 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! And veterans of the Colorado Classic Double Century will tell you that this course falls somewhere between EPIC...and BRUTAL! See for yourself!

Here are the event highlights of this year's Colorado Classic Double Century:

Date: June 27, 2020

Sign-in/Start: Tortoise start time: 2:00 AM. Hare start time: 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. Please make your reservations ASAP!

Course map: Colorado Classic Double Century

Registration: Registration opens 3/1/2020. This event has a $40 registration fee. Registration is limited to the first 50 pre-registered riders. Registration closes June 25, 2020. 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 236 miles, 17,000 feet of climbing, four high alpine passes (Independence Pass, McClure Pass, Kebler Pass, and Cottonwood Pass), two crossings of the Continental Divide, 35 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: 236 miles, an EPIC loop—one of the nation's finest! Yup, this is a long one!
  • Climbing: 17,000+ feet
  • Course map: Colorado's Classic Double Century
  • 2 crossings of the Continental Divide: Independence Pass and Cottonwood Pass
  • 35 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), HC. 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: 21 hours (to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit)

Event Organizer: Mark Lowe (e-mail:

Additional Notes:
  1. Ultra-distance experience is strongly encouraged to participate in this event.
  2. 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! Tire selection is also an important consideration for this course which has 35 miles of dirt and gravel roads.
  3. Lights and reflective gear are required!
Never-ending miles of Colorado mountain vistas!