Monday, January 2, 2017

Colorado Mesa Double Century

Cloaked in golden aspen, the Grand Mesa is one of Colorado's shining climbs (and descents)!  (Photo: Mark Lowe)

The RMCC returns to Colorado's Western Slope to ride the Colorado Mesa Double Century. This challenging double century explores some of the Grand Valley's most difficult and spectacular climbs, including the monstrous Grand Mesa and the Colorado National Monument, the showpiece climb of Western Colorado. Here are the highlights for this great new ride: 

Date: Memorial Day Weekend, Saturday, May 23, 2020

Start times: Early: 4:00 am. Late: 5:00 am

Start/End location: Fruita, CO: Comfort Inn, 400 Jurassic Ave., Fruita, CO 82521. Phone: 970-858-1333. Please make your reservations early! Grand Junction will host the Junior College World Series during Memorial Weekend, and hotel rooms are guaranteed to be hard to come by! 

Course Map: Colorado Mesa Double Century

Registration: Opens March 1, 2020!  This event has a $40 registration fee (i.e., cost-recovery fee). Please register early. Please note that your registration fee will cover your entry into the Colorado National Monument, which will be purchased prior to the start of the event. Registration is limited to the first 50 pre-registered riders. Registration closes 5/21/20. RMCC membership is also required to participate in this event. For more information about membership: RMCC membership. 

The Colorado National Monument, which was including in the Coors Classic and the cycling movie, "American Flyers" during the 1980s, is arguably the "crown jewel" of Colorado's Western Slope! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Course Highlights:
  • Distance: 200 miles
  • Climbing: 13,500 feet
  • 3 categorized climbs:
Riders will enjoy the sweeping descent down the southern slopes of the Grand Mesa into Cedaredge, CO (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Grand Mesa (elev. 10,839 feet): Hors Categorie (HC). The Grand Mesa is a monster climb, gaining over 6,000 feet in 21 miles! Although the average grade of the entire climb up the Grand Mesa is only 5%, the early sections of this climb are exposed and much steeper, guaranteed to test the best climbers! Many cyclists will argue that the Grand Mesa is an even more difficult climb than Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park. The Grand Mesa is a true grind that will test your mental and physical fortitude!

Reeder Mesa offers a local escape to Western Slope riders who are interested in relatively quick loop from Grand Junction. (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Reeder Mesa Loop/Purdy Mesa/Kannah Creek Loop (elev. 6,170 feet), Category 4. The Reeder Mesa Loop is approximately 30 miles in length and is well-known to cyclists in the Grand Junction area. This scenic loop climbs gently through ranch lands along the Kannah Creek, reaching a high point of 6,170 feet and gaining over 1,700 feet. The steep, twisty descent down Reeder Mesa Road Hill, with grades approaching 10%, will certainly have riders "white knuckling" their brakes as they creep down this short, tricky descent! 

With its moonscape topography, the Colorado National Monument is one of Colorado's premier cycling routes! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Colorado National Monument (elev. 6,640 feet), Category 2. The iconic Colorado National Monument is the crown jewel of the Colorado Western Slope! It can definitely be argued that if you're going to do one ride in Western Colorado, this is it! The scenery, featuring ubiquitous red rock mesas and stone spires, is simply stunning...unlike anything else in Colorado! The National Monument features a double-peaked climb, climbing over 2,700 feet and reaching its high point along the windy Rimrock Drive at 6,640 feet. Riders will want to keep the digital camera handy while riding the monument. A few picture stops along the way will be worth the memories! 

Time limit: 17.5 hours (to receive an official finishing time and Colorado Triple Crown credit). We don't have data on this course yet, so its possible that the finishing time will be extended based on finishing times of the first riders.

Event organizer: Mark Lowe (e-mail:

Additional Notes:
  1. Some ultra-distance experience is encouraged (but not required) to participate in this event.
  2. Given the exposure to high altitude, nasty weather can be a major concern with this event. Participants need to be prepared and bring their best winter- and wet-riding gear with them!
  3. Lights and reflective gear are required!
The Colorado National Monument...simply stunning! (Photo: Mark Lowe)