Sunday, June 12, 2016

2016 Colorado High Country Double Century Recap

Views of the Medicine Bow Mountains from the North Park basin.
What's not visible in this picture was a little gift from Mother Nature: the wind! (Photo: Tim Schaefer) 
Saturday, June 11, 2016 marked the commencement of the 2016 Colorado Triple Crown as RMCCers embraced the Colorado High Country Double Century. The High Country Double Century, one of the newest Triple Crown events, is named after the longer and more formidable RMCC Colorado High Country 1200 km brevet (to be contested later this summer), but is definitely not a slouch of a ride! The 2016 Boulder-to-Steamboat course featured 209 miles and 12,000 feet of climbing, including the continuous 60-mile, 5,000 foot climb up the lush Poudre Canyon to the top of Cameron Pass. From Cameron Pass, the course plunges into the North Park basin. The North Park basin, with it's rolling plains and lots of wind (!), is a little piece of Kansas nestled in the north central Colorado Rockies.  The course concludes with the punchy climb over Rabbit Ears Pass, rolling along the Continental Divide before making the blazing descent into Steamboat Springs.  Mother Nature did not disappoint this year's participants as she blessed them with the full gamut of Colorado weather, including balmy temperatures and blue skies for the first 120 miles from Boulder to Cameron Pass, then miles of demoralizing headwinds through the North Park basin, concluding with bone-chilling thunderstorms as riders crested Rabbit Ears Pass. This year's event had 25 ride starters, including 7 riders who participated in their first Colorado Triple Crown excellent turn-out for a point-to-point ride! Congratulations to all of this year's participants and many thanks to this year's volunteers for making the event an enjoyable day for everyone!

Poudre Canyon was clad in a deep, verdant green from west of Fort Collins to the top of Cameron Pass
during the 2016 Colorado High Country Double Century (Photo: Tim Schaefer)

2016 Colorado High Country Double Century Summary:

  • 209 miles, approximately 12,000 feet of climbing
  • 3 categorized climbs:
    • Poudre Canyon to Cameron Pass (10,276 feet): HC
    • Muddy Creek Pass (8,772 feet): Category 5
    • Rabbit Ears Pass (9,426 feet): Category 3 
  • 27 pre-registered riders
  • 25 ride starters, 2 early withdrawals. Of the riders who started, 22 were men, 3 were women.
  • 21 riders successfully completed the course within the 16.5 hour time limit (12.55 mph avg speed), 4 DNFs
  • Walter Zitz and Mark Lowe, both feeling a bit demoralized by the head winds in North Park, were the fastest finishers of the day, completing the Boulder-to-Steamboat course in 11 hours, 25 min. (18.6 mph).
  • Triple Crown veteran, Diane Benoit, was our only official female finisher with a time of 14 hours, 34 min. (14.3 mph). Congratulations, Diane! 

Special thanks to this year's volunteers! We cannot proceed with these events in their current timed format without your help!
  • Craig Howell: support vehicle driver
  • Corinne Warren: support vehicle driver and maker of fantastic muffins and cookies
  • Joanne Vitanza: official time recorder at the conclusion of the ride
Also thanks to the impressive support crew of rider, Avery Collins, who provided support for riders along the course!

Mark Lowe and Walter Zitz arrive at the iconic Rabbit Ears Motel, the final destination
of this year's Colorado High Country Double Century
Ultra runner, Avery Collins, made his foray into ultra cycling with the Colorado High Country Double Century and had a great ride! Geez...and he's only owned his bike 3 weeks!!
Stephen Strayer at the Rabbit Ears Motel after successfully completing his 2nd Colorado High Country Double Century!  Excellent ride and welcome to Colorado full-time! 
Chris Baker and Ryan Franz arrive safely at the Rabbit Ears Motel, barely escaping the rain. Great ride, guys!
Raise the roof! Kale Olson is in da Rabbit Ears house! Great ride, Kale!
Shaken, but not stirred, Triple Crown veteran survives the thunderstorm on Rabbit Ears Pass to successfully complete this year's event! Great ride, Steve! 
RMCC Colorado High Country 1200 km record holder, Jeffrey Hullet, uses this year's High Country Double Century as a tune-up for next month's big brevet. Great ride, Jeffrey!
Caleb Carl completes his first Colorado Triple Crown event to warm up for...Ride the Rockies!?!
Huh?? What?? Great ride, Caleb! 
Chris Miner contemplates how he could complete the Colorado High Country Double Century AND ride Pikes Peak in the same day! Excellent ride, Chris!!
Nederland, CO native, David Fullagar, who is perhaps the best-traveled cyclist in the world, completes his first Colorado Triple Crown event! Thanks for coming out, David! 
RMCC newbie, Josh Peter, is all smiles after surviving his first double century! Great ride, Josh!
Andy Stockman and Chris Ellefson, riding perhaps the most suave bikes of the day, arrive safely at the Rabbit Ears Motel. (Hey everyone...check this out! Full rain gear! Perhaps a less to be learned for all of us!) Thanks for coming out, guys! 
Jon Sendor is making these long rides look simple! Another great ride, Jon!
Flexing some muscle, Kieran Johnson successfully completes his first CO High Country Double Century in preparation for next month's big brevet. Great ride, Kieran! 
Andy Lapkass impresses again on his single speed road bike! Great ride, Andy! 

Triple Crown veteran, Diane Benoit, is happy to have successfully completed another Triple Crown event! Great ride, Diane!
Mike Turek is ecstatic that he is not this year's Lantern Rouge! Excellent ride, Mike! 
Chilled at the end of the ride, Ray Rupel arrives safely at the Rabbit Ears Motel in Steamboat Springs. 
After an early morning flat left her isolated from the main group, Oksana Kovalenko persevered and continued her ride to Steamboat Springs. Finishing a bit after the time limit, she is still able to muster a smile after a long, challenging day on the bike! Fantastic effort for your first Triple Crown ride! 
David Nelson decided that 209 miles wasn't hard enough. He decided to add 4 flat tires and some navigational errors in the first 50 miles of his ride to increase the degree of difficulty of the High Country Double Century. Sometimes being the "Lantern Rouge" is about persevering and David did just that! Glad you are safe!

Next up: Cycle to Saturn Double Century on June 25, 2016! Don't be afraid! It's just climbing...lots of climbing. And a little fun on dirt too!