Welcome to Aspen! Today you can either catch our 12pm shuttle from Aspen Airport or reach the hotel on your own to meet the group at 12:00pm for a light lunch. After intros we will conduct a thorough bike fitting.
Our warm up ride is among the favorite rides of many local cyclists, and brings you an up close view of the dramatic Maroon Bells, the most photographed peaks in the Rockies. This ride allows us to acclimatize to the altitude, (for tomorrow’s much tougher ride). After this exhilarating warm up ride we will have time to explore Aspen’s vibrant mountain lifestyle and we’ll kick off the tour with a celebratory gourmet dinner.
Today’s ride is one of the tougher days as we will climb past the ghost town of Independence, to the 12,095 ft summit of Independence Pass, one of classic Colorado climbs. We’ll enjoy spectacular views over the Collegiate Peaks, as well as the Mount Massive Wilderness Area and Mount Elbert, before descending 17 miles down to the town of Twin Lakes. A long stretch of flat and “false flat” in the valley will provide excellent views of Mount Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak at 14,440 ft (second highest in the Contiguous United States), and its snow-capped neighbor, Mount Massive, which is only 12 feet lower. Arriving in Leadville is like going back in time 150 years to the true wild west, as much of the architecture is still preserved from the silver boom days of Doc Holliday and Baby Doe Tabor. We’ll celebrate our first Continental Divide crossing over an ice-cold beer at a real local saloon. Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States at an altitude of 10,152 ft. Leadville also is host to the highest running race in the world, known as the Race Across the Sky, and famous for The Leadville 100, a 100-mile, high-altitude mountain bike race, considered one of the world’s toughest endurance races. Our hematocrit will take on a nice boost, (legally and naturally) tonight while sleeping above 10,000 feet!
Staying at the Hotel Delaware is like lodging in a museum, stepping back in time to the 1886 Victorian Inn, located in the center of Leadville’s National Historic District and nestled in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
Because Leadville is located so high, we will only have to climb 531 ft to reach the top of today’s mountain pass (and our trip’s second Continental Divide crossing), Tennessee Pass (10,424 ft). The pass has a gentle approach on both sides with few steep gradients and the summit is nearly level. Most of the area is above the tree line, providing a panoramic view of the peaks of the Sawatch Mountain Range. This area was formerly a WWII training ground for US Army ski troopers of the 10th Mountain Division. Much of today’s route follows the narrow gauge, Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, constructed in 1881 to connect the then-wealthy mining towns of Aspen and Leadville with Denver.
Since the mid 1960’s, Austria Haus Hotel has welcomed skiers from around the world to experience Western luxury and sophistication wrapped in European charm. Inspired by authentic, family-run ski chalets of the Austrian Alps, this exquisite 25-room boutique hotel emanates warmth and hospitality from the moment you arrive.
Today’s entire ride is in the heart of the White River National Forest. It starts off with a 14 mile, vigorous climb over Vail pass (10,662 ft). At the summit you will be rewarded with great views of the beautiful Gore Mountain Range. From the summit we will be mostly descending for 15 miles on bike paths past Copper Mountain Ski Area, through Ten Mile Creek to Frisco, and around Lake Dillon, Colorado’s largest lake. Breckenridge, at 9,600 ft, was also an important mining town in the 1850s but now is better known for its world-class ski area, and the “Breck Epic”, a 6-day epic mountain bike stage race. It also boasts having the world’s highest distillery, which we will visit for a sampling.
The DoubleTree by Hilton features spacious guest rooms and suites with everything you want for vacation or family travel. Enjoy flat-screen TVs, a work desk, WiFi, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, hot tubs and a fully-equipped fitness center and sauna.
Optional Rest Day
Today is an optional rest day for an opportunity to recover from the previous days’ rides (or to rest up for the following days). You’ll have a chance to relax and enjoy the quaint and well-preserved historic former mining town for great shopping or a stroll along the crystal clear waters of the Blue River. Breck is scenically located at the base of the Tenmile Range which includes several peaks reaching over 14,000 ft. Within a near proximity there are many beautiful hikes, which could be a good option for a change of muscle groups.
Of course we also have an optional ride to offer. We will follow the Blue River to its headwaters at the top of Hoosier Pass. Here we’ll be at the border of the real South Park. We won’t descend into South Park though, as you never know what kind of mischief their notorious fourth-graders may be up to! This is a beautiful but tough route, considered a classic training ride by local cyclists.
At 9,600 ft, we start off with a nice rolling, 10-mile warm up through the pine forests between Breckenridge, Keystone, and Loveland Basin — three ski areas that give great importance to Colorado’s Summit County. From Arapahoe Basin we begin a 9-mile climb to Loveland Pass (12,020 ft). From the Summit of Loveland Pass, it’s a super descent for 15 miles all the way to Georgetown. Georgetown, nicknamed the “Silver Queen” was founded during the Pike’s Peak gold rush of 1859, though it became more important as a silver mining town in the early 20th Century. Much of the 19th Century mining town architecture is still well preserved, and gives the feeling of days gone by.
Hotel Chateau Chamonix is located in the center of Georgetown on Clear Creek, this small, comfortable hotel offers incredible hospitality with European design and modern amenities.
Today’s ride starts with 14 miles of slight descending in the Clear Creek Valley to Idaho Springs, where we will turn up the Chicago Creek road and climb to Echo Lake State Park (10,629 ft). From here there is an option, to “Bag a Fourteener” on your bike, simply continue climbing for another 15 miles to the top of America’s highest paved road and the summit of Mount Evans (14,128 ft). They say the Summit of Mount Evans is “where only eagles fly” and you will know why on the way up. Around Summit Lake at 12,800 ft, we’ll begin to experience some very unique high altitude tundra, a very hearty yet delicate ecosystem. Among the few living creatures seen at this altitude is the Bristlecone Pine, a bonsai-looking dwarf tree, a species that is considered among some of the world’s oldest living things. While pedaling at this altitude, you might actually hear these trees whispering to you. It is also common to see big horn sheep roaming the area (they may also speak to you...). The Mount Evans Hill Climb is considered an iconic climb among pro cyclists, since the road was first used for a bicycle race in 1962. Mount Evans is the highest mountain of the Front Range, and on a clear day it provides views over Denver and the eastern plains for over 100 miles.
The vast majority of people at Highland Haven Creekside Cottages are repeat guests, who desire the extra effort and expense paid to stay fresh, new, and in every way comfortable. “I want our guests to have more luxury than they have at home and the extra value of an extraordinary breakfast that is so memorable they crave it!”
Today’s ride is a considered a classic route for many local front range cyclists as it includes great climbs and descents, with long stretches of beautiful, low traffic roads. We start with a gradual climb skirting Bear Mountain to Lone Peak, followed by a 4-mile descent to our first regroup at Tiny Town. A historical oddity, Tiny Town was begun in 1915 by George Turner, a Denver merchant who realized accurately the scale model creation of a typical mining town. The town is complete with a narrow gauge steam locomotive rail road. Continuing along South Turkey Creek and Indian Hills, we’ll climb 4 miles up Parmalee Gulch to Dix Saddle. A short descent to the town of Kittredge, followed by a 6-mile climb up Kerr Gulch brings us to lunch at historical El Rancho. After lunch we must savor our last few miles as our tour is too quickly coming to its end. A new bike path takes us up close to the Buffalo Herd Overlook near Mount Vernon, where we are often able to view the giant creatures rather closely. At Genesee Park we’ll join the Lariat Loop Historical Byway and wind our way to the grave of “Wild Bill” Cody, a.k.a. “Buffalo Bill” on top of Lookout Mountain. Here we’ll be directly above the historic town of Golden, and from here we’ll enjoy views of all of Denver and the eastern plains all the way to the boarders of Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. That leaves us with our final 8-mile, exhilarating descent into Golden...”Where The West Lives”
The Golden Hotel Overlooking scenic Clear Creek and the Rocky Mountain Foothills, is conveniently located in the hear of historic downtown Golden Colorado. The mountain lodge ambiance will instantly put you at ease and the full service amenities are designed to meet the needs of both business and leisure travellers in Golden and Denver. The hotel staff’s personalized service will take you to a different place and time.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will provide a 9am group shuttle to Denver International Airport with an optional Guided visit to the YETI Bicycle Factory Headquarters!