Image courtesy of Kim Heintz
Mountain and road bikers from around the world spend much of the year eagerly awaiting Colorado’s bike-racing season. From the sweeping mountain views to the thin air and high altitudes, Colorado bike races offer no shortage of bragging rights for cyclists from all corners of the globe.
At Roofnest, we’d go through our entire summer on top of our bikes if we could. But we’ve found this makes grocery shopping and going to the bathroom pretty tricky.
Lucky for us, summer in Colorado means there are endless biking events across the state to satisfy our appetite.
Many of Colorado’s road and mountain bike races appeal to serious competitors looking to go head-to-head with heart-pumping, high-altitude mountain terrain — and the following list is no exception. But whether you place or not, you’ll reap the rewards of breath-taking scenery, sweet mountain air, and the cheer of the crowd at the finish line. Not to mention all the local Colorado brews that await you at the finish.
Here are 5 Colorado bike races to get geared up and ready for this summer.
What: Mountain Bike Race
When: July 26-28, 2019
Start and Finish: Leadville, Colorado
Image courtesy of leadvilleraceseries.com
Gravel, dirt, altitude, and grit: The Stages Cycling Leadville Trail 100 MTB is infamous for its long, tough climbs and high altitudes. Set amongst the dramatic Rocky Mountains, this 100-mile out-and-back course follows the historic Leadville Trail and is spread over three adrenaline-filled days:
Stage 1 is 40 miles and begins at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds and finishes at Twin Lakes Dam (set at 9,200 feet).
Stage 2 is 20 miles and begins at Twin Lakes Dam, with a climb up to Columbine Mine (12,424 feet) and descent back down the mountain.
Stage 3 is 40 miles and begins at Twin Lakes Dam and finishes at the Lake County Rodeo Grounds, where a well-deserved celebration awaits.
Regardless of how you place, all riders get the chance to win daily prizes and receive some high-quality swag for giving it a shot.
Image courtesy of bicyclerace.com
What: Road Bike Race
When: July 27, 2019
Start and Finish: Idaho Springs to the Mount Evans summit
Remember earlier when we mentioned bragging rights? When you compete in the Mount Evans Hill Climb, you’ll be able to tell your friends you rode on the highest paved road in North America.
Cyclists in this notoriously challenging course will race up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, climbing more than 7,000 feet in elevation in just under 30 miles. Once at the top of Mount Evans, you can catch your breath while taking in the views of the Continental Divide from Colorado’s 14th tallest peak at 14,26 feet.
As if that’s not enough, you’ll also be riding in the tire-marks of the acclaimed Bob Cook, member of the 1980 U.S. Olympic cycling team and six-time winner of the race before he passed away at only 23 years old. Proceeds of the race go to local non-profits and support the race’s mission to get more people on bikes around the world.
What: Road Bike Race
When: August 3, 2019
Start and Finish: Copper Mountain Resort
Although you won’t find a precious metal at the end of this classic Colorado road bike race, the gorgeous views you’ll take in during this 79-mile loop will be worth more than gold.
Get geared up and ready to take on three mountain passes with a total elevation gain of 6,500 feet, each with their own timed section. Did we mention you’ll already be starting at 10,000 feet?
Riders will crest Fremont Pass at 11,318 feet, Tennessee Pass at 10,424 feet, and Vail Pass at 10,662 feet. And once you descend back into Copper Mountain resort and cross the finish line, you’ll be treated to live music, food, drinks, and even a few carnival rides for those party animals who still have some energy to spend.
What: Road Bike Race
When: August 10, 2019
Start and Finish: La Veta, Colorado
La Veta is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Tucked away in Southern Colorado, this charming mountain town is nestled amongst green pastures and flanked by the dramatic Spanish Peaks nearby.
But during the Stonewall Century, you won’t be coddled by a leisurely pastoral course. The route follows Highway 12, a Colorado Scenic Byway known as the “Highway of Legends”.
From the starting line in La Veta at 7,013 ft, you’ll climb to the top of Cucharas Pass (9,945 ft), descend to 8,400 ft, then climb again up to North Lake (8,600 ft). From here you’ll drop down into the quaint town of Stonewall and rest for lunch nearby in Segundo.
On the way back, you’ll take on the back side of Cucharas Pass, which some have called the “Soul Crusher”, looming ahead of riders at 83 miles into the 102-mile ride. For the last mile competitors will need to dig deep to keep speed at a 10% grade.
At last, you’ll enjoy the 17-mile descent back into La Veta, where BBQ, beer, and massage tables await you.
What: Road Bike Race
When: August 22-25, 2019
Start and Finish: Steamboat Springs to Denver
As if the Colorado Classic wasn’t iconic enough, this year the event breaks ground as the only women’s stand-alone stage race in the Western Hemisphere. With more challenging routes, longer race distances, and better start times for women than ever before, the goal of this year’s event is to inspire women, challenge and redefine female professional cycling, and empower women of all ages to break the mold.
Broken into four stages, this four-day course spans the rugged peaks of the Rocky Mountains and streets of Denver, offering riders and spectators a dynamic snapshot of the state’s many attractions.
Stage 1 kicks off on August 22 in Steamboat Springs (6,695 ft). Riders will jump straight into the thick of it on a challenging route that winds through the Rocky Mountains.
Stage 2 is on August 23 in Avon (7,431 ft), a small mountain town just 8 miles west of Vail.
Stage 3 will be on August 24 in Golden (5,675 ft), where riders will get a taste of Old West charm and go head-to-head with winding foothill passes.
Stage 4 will start and end in Denver, the infamous Mile-High City (that’s 5,280 feet, as all locals know!) Riders will fly past the city’s iconic spots like 17th Street, City Park and Coors Field, ending the four-day affair with food, music, and exhibitors.
Hit the Trail Quicker
Whether you love screaming down a rugged trail on your mountain bike or racking up the miles on your road bike, every cyclist lives for tearing out of work on Friday afternoon and kicking off the weekend at their favorite biking spot.
Roofnest founder Tim Nickles is no exception. He’s spent nearly his entire life on a mountain bike, so it’s no wonder he’s always looking for ways to make getting outside faster and easier.
That’s where our newest Roofnest Falcon comes in. This cutting-edge model in hardshell roof top tents is specifically designed with bikers and other gear-heads in mind.
The Falcon features a set of optional crossbars that can be added to carry bikes, kayaks, skis, and any of your other favorite outdoor gear. That means when 5 o’clock rolls around, you can hit the road with all your gear in tow and a comfortable, durable place to sleep neatly packed on top of your car.