A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Ride the Rockies 2009 Route Posted!

The Ride the Rockies 2009 route has been unveiled! It's a 380-mile loop from Glenwood Springs to Hotchkiss to Gunnison to Salida to Leadville to Aspen and back to Glenwood. Six days (June 14-19). Short...but SWEET!

Registration for RTR 2009 opened today and the route was announced in this morning's Denver Post. According to the article, the 2009 route loops over McClure Pass (elev. 8755) to Hotchkiss, along the north rim of the Black Canyon to Gunnison, over Monarch Pass (elev. 11,312) to Salida, up the Arkansas River valley to Leadville, over Independence Pass (elev. 12,095) to Aspen, and back to Glenwood Springs. This is the first time RTR has gone over McClure Pass. I've ridden Monarch (RTR 2005) and Independence (RTR 2007) but not McClure.

Sounds like a great ride. I love loop routes (start and end in same town) because it means NO BUSES! It's just a lot easier when you can drive yourself and your bike to the start and have your car waiting when you return, rather than having to either bus to the start or bus home after the ride.

RTR 2007 was a loop starting and ending in Frisco. This year we'll start and end in Glenwood Springs, which is an awesome location at the confluence of the Roaring Fork River and the Colorado River with hot springs, river rafting and a tram ride with awesome views that goes up to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park.

I'm also looking forward to returning to Salida, but not the ride from Salida to Leaville. It's 60+ miles (all uphill) along the Sawatch Range, which boasts 15 of Colorado's 14ers. The views are awesome but the problem is that Salida is just too much fun. Four years ago on my first ride we closed down The Vic and I struggled the next day with dehydration. I ended up in the ER at the hospital (conveniently located across the street from Leadville High School, the overnight campground) with a swollen uvula (yes, men do have uvulas). I thought I had strep throat, but the official diagnosis was hypoxemia, or low blood oxygen saturation. My pulse ox reading was 87% when I got to the hospital (normal is around 95%). But the doctor hooked me up to oxygen and "topped off my tank" so I could finish the ride into Breckenridge the next day.

More on Ride the Rockies 2009 later. It's a beautiful sunny day in Denver and thinking about Ride the Rockies has me itching to get out on the open road.

Ride on!



  1. Great post. I am hoping to win the lottery and get accepted to do the ride this year. After reading your post and the story of the trip to the hospital I became a little nervous. How many miles were you riding per week leading up to the ride in years past?

  2. Dave -- Don't worry based on that story. My trip to the hospital had more to do with the night before the ride from Salida to Leadville than the altitude. Proper hydration is the key to avoiding altitude sickness. I typically ride 150-200 miles/week leading up to RTR. Good luck!

  3. Daren--I have registered for the RTR lottery. I put in plenty of flat miles on Denver's trails, but where is a safe place to work on climbing? As you have noted, Colorado drivers are dangerous to biker health.

  4. Steve -- I like to climb Deer Creek Canyon, Lookout Mountain and Morrison to Evergreen, but all three roads have little or no shoulder and plenty of car traffic. Our only hope is that the high volume of bike traffic on these climbs makes it hard for drivers to ignore us!


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