It is no secret that Colorado is an incredible place for outdoor activities, including bicycle riding of all forms, all year round.
Even in winter, regular tire mountain biking is a common occurrence. Not only is the Denver daily temperature in Janurary around 45f as a high, but you can consistently hit dry dirt all winter long in not far off places like Pueblo. Other places in the Denver metro area are ridden all winter long by tires of all sizes, or so I am told.
There is endless singletrack, and endless smooth ribbons of pavement, enough for multiple lifetimes.
Because of the absurd abundance of great riding, the middle discipline, dirt roads(There is no gravel in Colorado) seems to be overlooked more than in other locales.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not ignored by everyone out here, there are definitely Front Range crews that hunt down the secret roads and rip them on 700c tires, The Rodeo Labs guys come to mind for instance, but there are still hidden gems that seem to be relatively unknown to most of the cycling world.
I can’t wait to start digging into and writing down notes on what I find. I’ve been doing my usual “map/beer time” every night, and found a few other resources that have been amazing. I’ve stumbled into the world of 4×4 Jeep forums, and these dudes are the ticket for finding crazy roads. I can’t wait to turn pedals on these roads and see where they take me, and create some big crazy loops, and tell my friends to come see them with me.
Check THESE roads out.
This place is nuts. There are thousands of miles of roads like this.
I still have a ton of questions to answer. For instance, would a midwest style “gravel race” even work in a setting like this? What would a 200 mile ride on some of these roads feel like? Some of the climbs are 4,000ft tall, with steep pitches, and rock slides, and then you repeat that a few times all over again.
Are traditional 40c gravel tires big enough? Some of these downhills and climbs are veritable rock slides you traverse, while select others are smooth enough locals just use road bikes. Would a bike with 50c(2.0) tires be the overall ticket? Some of the roads really blur the lines of dirt road, and single track, and can still be classified by the forest service as a road.
Navigation is so different out here. The midwest is easy to follow cues with homogenized 1 mile by 1 mile squares, but this is truly wilderness, and roads are either rarely marked, or called 7 different names depending on who you ask. Maybe GPS is the only way?
The answers to all of these questions, time will tell, and the space between right now and getting the answers will be a whole lot of fun.
Love from Colorado,