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Colorado Death Ride Tour -- A Spectacular Bike Ride!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Over the last couple of years, I've looked at the Colorado Death Ride Tour as a bike tour that might be interesting.  It's a charity ride to benefit Children's Hospital and the ALS society that follows the route of the Colorado Death Ride but over 3 days rather than 1.  It's amazing to me that anyone can ride the Death Ride in a single day -- it's 232 miles with 16,500 feet of climbing.  Three days to accomplish the task seemed much better to me.

 

 

As to the course, it is amazing; through some of the most beautiful country in Colorado if not in the US.  It starts in Silverton, Colorado, an old mining town at about 9.300 feet.  Day one goes from Silverton to Telluride over Red Mountain Pass and the Dallas Divide. Day two goes from Telluride to Durango over Lizard Head Pass and Hesperus Pass.  Day three is short in mileage but has the most climbing:  from Durango back to Silverton over Coal Bank Pass and Molas Pass.

 

Here we are at the start of the ride -- we had a few more than 300 riders on the tour.

 

 

 

 

After leaving Silverton, we started the climb of Red Mountain Pass.  Initially, it's pretty flat, but you soon come to the bend before the start of the ramp to the summit -- boy, is the view back into the box canyon spectacular!

 

 

 

 

On the ramp on the south side of the pass looking back toward Silverton:

 

 

From the turnout on the north side of the pass, everything was a wonderful shade of green.

 

 

Looking down at the shelf that the road runs on:

 

 

The descent was quite good until we hit this spot in the road.  CDOT decided to chip seal the road, and while they had swept it, the gravel was fresh enough to cause an abundance of caution.  Plus fresh chip seal is pretty rough.

 

Outside of Ridgeway is one of Colorado's most picturesque ranges of mountains:  The Sneifels' Range.  At this point, you are riding rollers with an uphill bent toward the second climb of the day, the Dallas Divid.  But this is an amazing spot. 

 

 

My time was suffering a bit as I stopped numerous times to take photos.  Of course, they are only crappy iPhone photos, but you get the idea:

 

 

The rest of Day One was relatively unremarkable except for the hot climb into Telluride.  But the view, once you cleared the hill, was well worth it.  The box canyon that houses Telluride -- is it any surprise that folk love to come her for more than the skiing?

 

 

I've been debating whether to get a ski house.  In T-ride, I was introduced to the concept of a ski shack -- note the address:

 

 

Day one was 73 miles and 5,300 feet of climbing.  A really rewarding ride.

 

Day two was from Telluride to Durango.  As the forecast for temps in the lower elevations of a long day (110 miles) were in the upper 90's, my buddy and I got an early start.  Leaving Telluride you get an immediate steep (8+%) ramp which got the blood flowing.  A 10 minute climb brought me to a view of Mount Wilson:

 

 

Continuing on, you start to see the mountain massive next to Lizard Head Pass:

 

 

Our ride this day was combined (for the first 64 miles) with day one of Ride the Rockies, so there were plenty of cyclists observing the view in the turnout

 

 

Approaching the summit, the view gets even better.

 

 

And looking into the valley beside the summit was promising -- too bad the scene was backlight...

 

 

After the summit, there was 50 miles of downhill to Dolores, where we departed from Ride the Rockies and headed to Mancos.  A nice view helped diminish the effects of the temperatures near 90 with 20 mph side winds.

 

 

Day two wound up being 113 miles for me after I rode past the hotel and had to backtrack with 4,700 feet of climbing.  One of the longer rides I've done, I finished in 6 hours of ride time.

 

Day three was short (only 53 miles) but had 5,700 feet of climbing.  Leaving Durango, there are lovely bluffs that fail to portend the vertical rise in front of us.  The first 15 miles was pretty flat and fast, although the road surface was relatively rough -- I find it hard to push the pace on rough road.

 

 

We soon met up with the main road to Silverton and were rewarded with a view of Engineer Mountain.

 

 

Approaching the top of Coal Bank Pass, the view is a bit different:

 

 

To be honest, I'm not quite sure where this shot is from -- perhaps the bottom between Coal Bank and Molas passes?

 

 

This one is looking back at the toward Coal Bank Pass from the valley between.

 

 

And on the descent of Molas Pass, I was rewarded with a wonderful view of my destination:  Silverton.

 

 

 

So, the ride is definitely worth the effort of training and riding it.  It does require a fair bit of training to get in a position to ride three relatively big  days of cycling -- the issue is the effort of any one day, but the ability to recover to ride the next day.  But the payoff was immense.

 

As I mentioned, this was a charity bike ride.  I don't know the final tally raised, but it was well over $100,000.  A pretty good result.

 

Mike

post #2 of 24

Thanks! That right there is the prettiest part of the prettiest state (imo of course).

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

Oh, and by the way, I ride a funny bike:

 

 

 

It's a carbon fiber recumbent.  I scream downhill!  Uphill, not so much....

 

Mike

post #4 of 24

Pardon me, but I got caught up in the gorgeous photos and forgot to read what you wrote.  I'll go back and read in a minute. 

 

Isn't this the ride that UGASkiDawg is doing too? 

post #5 of 24

FYI:  I believe the record for the Death Ride is about 12.5 hours by Brian Miller of Telluride and Bicycle Bob Gregorio of Durango, but that was 20-some years ago. It starts in Durango to get the serious climbing out of the way early.  It used to be an annual totally unofficial tradition, but has pretty much faded from existence except for an occasional flurry of a few hard core riders.

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club still runs the Death Ride as a one day Ultra Marathon Association Challenge Cup sanctioned event. This year it will be run on June 29th. They start in Ridgeway and go clockwise as opposed to the counter clockwise route we took. The record time from the past 4 years is 12:25 which is over 18 mph for a 225 mile 17k climbing ride!

TC, UGASKIDAWG is doing Ride the Rockies. I looked for him in Telluride, but it was impossible to find him in 2500 cyclists. Plus we left quite early and when we rode on the BTC he generally got a later start.

Mike
post #7 of 24

Excellent report and beautiful scenery.  Those are some of my favorite motorcycle roads in the world, and I marvel at those pedlars that I pass while sweeping through the turns.  Thanks for slowing the trip for the photos.  Not bad for a phone!

post #8 of 24
Thanks for sharing. I bike commute to work during the summer months and think a couple hundred vertical feet of climbing is a big deal. Given your backstory and pursuit of mid-life fitness you are a real inspiration!
post #9 of 24

GREAT JOB!!!!  thanks for the pictures and the details

 

BTW- Ski-Ra is also doing the Ride the Rockies.

post #10 of 24

Beautiful TR!

 

 

Thanks for posting.

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club still runs the Death Ride as a one day Ultra Marathon Association Challenge Cup sanctioned event. This year it will be run on June 29th. They start in Ridgeway and go clockwise as opposed to the counter clockwise route we took. The record time from the past 4 years is 12:25 which is over 18 mph for a 225 mile 17k climbing ride!
 

 

It is certainly not advertised in Durango very well.  As I said, it was an underground unsanctioned just show up and ride deal for decades.  Now that it's a "real event" they took the name but changed the starting point and the direction of the ride.  Not really the same thing, but still one hell of a big day on the bike.  Even in three days it is a major accomplishment.  Congrats! icon14.gif

post #12 of 24

Thanks for posting this TR and providing such amazing pictures.

 

I still get homesick every time I see my old neighborhood, but I cant stop looking at the scenery.  

post #13 of 24
What a great ride, and great report, Mike. Thank you!

Ride safe, and I hope to see you somewhere over the summer.

Best regards,
Bob
post #14 of 24

I'm starting to wonder if every state (or at least those with substantial mountain passes) has a Death Ride.

 

Ours in Cali: http://www.deathride.com/

post #15 of 24

UGASkiDawg posted this on his facebook wall 

 

Canon city wildfire has us rerouted so instead of a 62 mile day all downhill we get a 95 mile day with lots of climbing......

post #16 of 24

Yep, I got an update from Ski-Ra, everyone was looking forward to the "day -off" today but instead its going to be grueling. 

post #17 of 24

Wow, nice report & strong work!  Thanks.

post #18 of 24

Great views and report!

 

Thanks!

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 

Yea, that RTR reroute has a fair bit more climbing in it...

 

http://ridetherockies.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/RTR-Reroute-Flier.13.pdf

 

Everyone give support to the folk affected by the Colorado wildfires -- while the Cannon City blaze hasn't had as much affect on folk (although it did destroy much of the village at Royal Gorge and hence the reroute of RTR), the Black Forest fire a bit northwest has destroyed over 370 homes and has more than 38,000 people evacuated.

 

Mike

post #20 of 24

93 miles and a bit over 4500' 

post #21 of 24

Actually the Colorado Death Ride put on by RMCC this June 29th is going to start and end in Durango. One of our two time DEATH RIDE Tour participants - Terry Gorsuch is going to race in it.

post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club still runs the Death Ride as a one day Ultra Marathon Association Challenge Cup sanctioned event. This year it will be run on June 29th. They start in Ridgeway and go clockwise as opposed to the counter clockwise route we took. The record time from the past 4 years is 12:25 which is over 18 mph for a 225 mile 17k climbing ride!

TC, UGASKIDAWG is doing Ride the Rockies. I looked for him in Telluride, but it was impossible to find him in 2500 cyclists. Plus we left quite early and when we rode on the BTC he generally got a later start.

Mike

 

 

Yes we didn't even wake up in Telluride till 7:15 and left town around 8:45....that was our latest start of the week but our earliest was only 7:25.  I had a great tour except for coing down with a nasty chest infection on day 3 that rode through and which wiped me out a couple of days after getting home...still haven't completely recovered

post #23 of 24

I've been trying to get Bicycle Bon back on the event. I put on the Three Day Charity Event called the DEATH RIDE Tour and next year I plan on adding a One Day Relay Race. Keep a look out on www.deathridetour.com for more details.
 

post #24 of 24

Sorry - I meant Bicycle Bob

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