but I thought I'd post a bit differently here about the tour itself. This was my first mult-day bike tour, and it was a dousy! There were about 1800 cyclists on the tour, which was amazing to me as this was a pretty intense tour: 515 miles, and over 30,000 feet of climbing.
The BTC has been run for more than a decade, so they seem to do a pretty good job with the logistics. There were a few glitches, such as repeatedly running out of toilet paper the first couple of days, and caterers (rotating by city) couldn't figure out how to serve breakfast in a timely manner. It's an early rising group, with folk generally attempting to be on the road around 6 or so AM in order to minimize the likelihood of being caught in a thunderstorm on top of a pass, so the line was half an hour long (or longer) at 5AM when they started serving breakfast. By the end of the tour, they figured out that multiple buffet lines would cut the line to the point it was virtually non-existant, and folk were much happier.
The terrain and rides were phenomenal. I've driven through some of the territory, but seeing it from a bike was fantastic. This year, the tour started and ended in Glenwood Springs, and started two days after Ride the Rockies finished. There were some sick folk who actually rode both RTR (380 miles this year) and the BTC (515 miles, with the option of an additional 40 miles). The first day's ride was over McClure Pass, which was the steepest climb of the tour -- 3 miles of roughly 8% grade. The second day was the highlight of the trip for me -- a climb over Grand Mesa from the south. The views coming over the north rim of the mesa were unbelievable -- huge aspen forests with tons of lakes immediately below you, and in the distance the transition to the desert mesas of the Colorado Plateau. Truly amazing scenery. Day three you could do an optional (unsupported) 40 loop through the Colorado National Monument in addition to the 65 miles from Grand Junction to Montrose. I didn't do the option, as I was uncertain how I'd react to the additional miles and climbing (this would have made for 3 near century days in a row, in addition to the 85 miles on the first day). I'd guess 15-20% of the cyclists did do the option, and it was the highlight of their day.
We next had a long day to Crested Butte -- this section of the ride had everything from desert, to meadows lining the climb, to a long mesa ride along Blue Mesa Reservoir, to a gentle climb into the hole of Crested Butte which surrounded by confluence of three mountain ranges: the Elks, Mosquitos, and Collegiate Peaks. Next up was a ride over Cottonwood Pass, with the climb being on a very well maintained and compacted dirt road -- about 14 miles worth. I had a miserable descent as I got caught in deluge of a thunderstorm, but those who didn't claimed this was an amazing descent -- very fast and open. The final day was 104 miles over Independence pass back to Glenwood Springs.
All in all, this was a great tour, and I highly recommend it. However, it is purportedly a tough tour, and while I'm inexperienced in such things, many folk believe it is one of the toughest multi-day tours out there, much tougher than Ride the Rockies. I think it is pretty well put together.
I did the "Camping Domestique" option from The Shuttleguy. They set up/take down a tent for you, transport your luggage, provide a clean dry towel, and beverages. I thought it was a necessary option so I wasn't relegated to setting up my tent on the last site available, which was likely to be rocky, in a swamp, next to the porta-potties, or all three.
In any case, this is a tour I highly recommend to those of you interested in a very strenous bike tour.