I had the good fortune to spend my summer in Colorado and explore some incredible areas across the state. From the rocky desert riding of Grand Junction to the towering, snow covered peaks of the Rockies, Colorado has a lot of offer.
My journey began on the far west side of the state in Grand Junction, with the Grand Junction Off-Road mountain bike race in May.
The town of Grand Junction is situated along the Colorado River in a valley surrounded by Moab type rocks and plateaus. The riding is similar to Sedona, very big chunky rocks that for the most part stay put under your wheels.
The Lunch Loops, named for their proximity to town, can be easily accessed over your lunch break and are super challenging with many black and double black trails.
Due to the surrounding plateaus, jumping on the road bike you can quickly ascend up towards the Monument and overlook the valley. Powderhorn ski area is just outside of town and tops out at around 10,000’. From a town that sits at 4500’ that’s a pretty good climb!
Home base for my wife Evie and I became Colorado Springs this summer, along the Front Range, just south of Denver. A lot more populated than the western slope, riding on the Front Range is a totally different animal.
Sitting at 7000’ Colorado Springs is home to the infamous Pike’s Peak, which tops out at 14,114’. Due to another race conflict I wasn’t able to participate in the hill climb up Pike’s which would have been cool, however I did get to climb to a neighboring peak Almagre.
Almagre Mountain sits just to the south of Pike’s Peak and unlike Pike’s which is paved, Almagre is all dirt. I prefer gravel grinding in solitude to the zoom zoom of road riding anyways, so Almagre was a nice treat.
Beginning from the Broadmore hotel I climbed for about 2.5 hours before reaching the summit of Almagre at 12,300’. Looking across to Pike’s from a spot that not many have travelled to is pretty cool, and for me, a big part of what riding is all about, exploring.
There are some great country roads on the east side of town and some techy mountain bike trails in the local parks, plus lots and lots of loose gravel in the canyons.
While the Front Range may be crowded and lack real dirt, you are only a couple hours away from small town getaways like Salida, Leadville, and Winter Park.
With Evie getting more into downhill riding and racing this year we spent a good amount of time in Winter Park, a ski town just north of I-70 past Idaho Springs.
As a mountain biker, Winter Park has just about everything you could want in the summer. Incredible dirt, a fun town, and a world class Downhill Park. It’s no wonder they are named “Mountain Bike Capital USA!”
The drive into town is pretty spectacular as well, crossing Berthoud Pass at 11,300. Evie droopped me off a few times on the back side and I got to ride the road bike up and over, then drop into Winter Park. A great warm-up for the afternoon lift assisted rides!
Even though I wasn’t racing downhill specific events, practicing jumps and berms, no pedaling and using as little brakes as possible were fantastic skills to work on that completely transfer over to cross country mountain biking.
Along with mountain biking, Colorado has endless hiking opportunities, many with waterfalls, wildlife, and spectacular views.
Exploring little known places with great opportunities to meet fun people is what the sport of mountain biking gives me, and many of us. Every day is a new challenge and I’m always looking for ways to improve.
Here’s to your next adventure!