Spoke Talk Five Routt road rides
As a spring road ride special, we’re highlighting five road/gravel rides to get you started.
• The Rabbit Ears climb is basically an out-and-back. This is the area’s classic hill climb, and for this year, it is the start of Stage 2 of the USA Pro Challenge. Take Highway 40 south of town and climb. Take it easy, and spin up to the summit. Go hardcore, get Strava-geeky. Flip around Dumont Lake or get ambitious and ride all the way to Kremmling. Regardless of the route, be courteous and share the road. Act like a vehicle.
• Stagecoach as an out-and-back or loop is a nice ride with some fantastic rollers. From downtown, take River Road (CR 14) south, but be careful crossing Highway 131. Once you get on the road to Stagecoach, use caution on narrow shoulder segments. Turn around or stay on 14 and head to 131. Turn right (north) and through Oak Creek. Remember to stay as far to the right as you can, and obey the traffic laws.
• Cow Creek Loop is a local gravel grinder special. Once again, River Road (CR 14) south gets you in the area. When it splits at the railroad tracks, stay right on CR 35. This turns to gravel, so stay on the pavement, CR 41. This road turns right at the schoolhouse and begins the gravel climb. Once you’re down the backside, ride right (north) on CR 45. Remember, ride only two abreast when it won’t impede traffic. Fall back to single file as traffic approaches from the rear.
• Tour de Steamboat is a summer special and for many, a signature big ride. Be prepared as this really is a big format ride. Be sure to take two or 10 water bottles. Ride 40 to nearly Kremmling, then CR 134 to just outside Toponas, then 131 to Oak Creek and back to Steamboat. Remember, motorists can cross the center line to give bicycles the required three feet for passing. Check out the ride route at tourdesteamboat.com.
• In honor of Steamboat hosting Stage 1 of the USA Pro Challenge on Aug. 17, we’ve saved the best for last: the Oak Creek loop. The counter clockwise route heads west on Twentymile Road, which eventually becomes CR 33. Ride some hills. See the cows? Keep riding. See the Saddleback Ranch sheep? Uh, keep riding. See the coal mine? OK, go left (south) on CR 27, and keep riding. This road drops you into the town of Oak Creek, and from there, it’s a left (north) on 131 back into Steamboat. Remember, if you’re maneuvering in traffic, signal your turns for 100 feet in advance. The easiest way is to simply point where you’re going. Read about the Pro Challenge routes at: steamboattoday.com/news/2015/apr/28/pro-challenge-routes-announced/
Ride options abound. If you need more suggestions, Routt County Riders can help. Email us at email@example.com or pick up an Adventure Maps trail and route map at area bike shops. Several road rides are described, and a portion of every map purchase benefits Routt County Riders
Be safe, be courteous, have fun.
Alan Perkins is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.
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