Colorado will be challenging in three ways. One the altitude. Often we are riding in the 7-10k range with some of the passes between 10-11k. Boreas pass is 11.4k, Cochetopa Pass 10k, Marshall Pass 10.8k, and the highest pass Indiana is 11.9k.
Two the climbs are longer. Not necessarily steeper than we’ve ridden but definitely longer. For example, Marshall pass is 25 miles long with a 3% grade. Love the train grades! Boreas pass is 20 miles long and Indiana pass 25 miles.
Third is the weather. If we sleep high at 10k feet the weather in the morning can dip into the 30s making an 8:00 am start cold! We try to sleep low (below 10k ft) if it’s possible. The afternoon usually brings thunder/rain storms and the weather app usually shows a 20% chance of showers in the afternoon. We can see the clouds and rain form and hear the thunder and see the lightening. As long as the clouds are not moving in our direction we can skirt the storm.
So the strategy of riding in CO is to start and finish as early as possible weather permitting. If it’s cold in the morning and we delay our start to 9:00 am we risk getting caught in a storm.
So was the strategy of riding to Kremmling. We slept high at 10k ft which was unavoidable but got an early start since there were two climbs and the morning temperature was not too cold. By noon we reached the top of the high point of the ride and the afternoon rain and thunder clouds moved in. We could see them above our head and luckily the rain clouds were moving east and we were going south. We missed getting drenched at noon but we did get rained on at the end of the day.
About the ride…it was all on gravel and though it was only 38 miles this was a difficult route. There was a lot of short rolling steep climbs on unmaintained fracked roads. After a fast descent to the Colorado river there was a long climb on a busy gravel road out of the canyon and through a saddle to the top of the other side. The wind kicked up and we had a head wind all the way to Kremmling.