Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gravel racers with a mountainbike problem - Tips from a 4-day Colorado Trip

Our goal was to get an affordable mountain bike trip on gravel- and fire roads in the mountains of Colorado. We found it in Leadville.

The Leadville hostel not only beats every other lodging in its price for 25$ a night and all-you-can-eat breakfast for $7 it also gave us a great opportunity to meet interesting people, especially hikers and cyclists, from all over the world. The location of the hostel allowed us just to jump on our bikes and ride up the mountains.

Leadville is located on a mountain side so we had a choice of climbing up the mountain gaining 800ft within 3 miles or heading down to the Turquoise lake and go in any direction for another climb. We rode parts of the Leadville 100 course every day climbing St Kevins,  Sugarloaf and Columbine. We gained 3,400 feet within 9 miles on the Columbine climb.

Special considerations for the mountains
We took a camelbak with plenty of water and sunblock for all the rides since the altitude causes quicker dehydration and easier sunburn. Since the weather is so unpredictable, we also carried rain jackets which we definitely put to use. Also, the altitude made easy efforts at sea level a lot harder. Especially, the Columbine climb which goes up to 12,500 feet was quite a humbling experience.

The High Mountain Pies restaurant in town offered a great variety of sandwiches, pizza and salads. At rush hour the place can become very busy. Another delicious place was Tennessee Pass cafe on the main street that has options even for the most picky eater including vegan and gluten-free dishes.

We had outstanding weather, always in the 60-70s. In the afternoon, the occasional rain shower passed through the mountains. Knowing that rain most likely would come in the afternoon got us out the door in the morning.

View to the mountains

Turquoise Lake

In the distance the Columbine climb

The Leadville course offers a great variety in terrain

Mostly smooth gravel roads

The beginning of the Columbine climb

The hostel

Rain in the afternoon is not unusual
Thanks to Corey Godfrey for the great pictures.

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