We have mapped out the 2008 Bicycle Tour of Colorado to provide a challenging, fun, and safe trip for all. These carefully chosen miles take us through our beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains and into quaint mountain towns. Here we go!
DAY 1 June 22, 67 miles (profile) Durango to Ouray. A good way to start! We ride along the infamous route of “The Iron Horse Bicycle Classic - Race the Train” and the famous Million Dollar Highway. Our bikes will cross over three exhilarating passes: Coal Bank Pass at 10,600’, Molas Divide at 10,910’ and the awesome Red Mountain Pass, topping out at over 11,000’. The day winds down with a spectacular decent into Ouray. In town enjoy the hot springs, gaze up the canyon walls, or just rest after a tough day in the saddle.
DAY 2 June 23, 60+ miles (profile)
Ouray to Montrose. Getting into it! A fairly easy ride descending away from Ouray. Then to spice things up we loop to the entrance of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, climbing Jones Summit, 8,266'. From the entrance of the Canyon BTC cyclists may choose from two different options or choose to do both, or
choose to cycle back to camp in Montrose. One option is coursing along
South Rim Road, a seven mile ride in and seven mile out with turnouts that offer some amazing views of the Canyon. The other option is taking the East
Portal Road, a seven mile descent, at 16% gradient, to the Canyon floor and seven mile climb, at 16%, back up to the rim - most likely the hardest climb in Colorado (what goes down must go up). Each option adds an additional 14 miles of Colorado cycling miles for a total of 28 extra miles to make it a 91 mile day.
DAY 3 June 24, 65 miles (profile) Montrose to Telluride. Just about everything today. We leave Montrose with the breathtaking beauty of the “American Alps” in the distance. Getting back into the mountains we climb up 8,970' Dallas Divide. At the summit wildflowers cover the roadside. After the descent down the divide we climb up into the mining town turned ski town, Telluride.
DAY 4 June 25, ?? miles Take a break! in the picturesque ski village of Telluride: Coloradans' most desired mountain get away. Hey, you deserve it! However, if you want more cycling in the Rockies, get on your bike and climb to the top of Lizard Head pass and on into Rico and then cycle back to Telluride. BTC cyclists can cycle an additional 80 miles.
DAY 5 June 26, 56 miles (profile) Telluride to Naturita. Loads of fun. Today we start at 8,750' but finish at 5,431' with a good four mile climb up Norwood Hill, part of the 120 mile bicycle race route from Telluride to Moab. We roll along Highway 145, one of Colorado's scenic and historic byways, to the small Southwestern town of Naturita.
DAY 6 June 27, 95 miles (profile) Naturita to Cortez - uncharted territory for the BTC. Ride on (and on and on)! Today's near century ride is the longest day of the 2008 BTC, but you might want more miles when the day is done. We cross Gypsum Pass at 6,100', a 4-5 mile climb, ride through dramatic slick rock canyons, and pedal past the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. When you get to Southwestern Colorado's westerly town of Cortez, your riding day is done.
DAY 7 June 28, 45 miles (profile) Cortez to Durango. Heading home! After yesterday's long ride, today is shortest day for 2008. We will be passing by Mesa Verde National Park. The BTC, as a "bicycle tour", is unable to enter the Park because of the Park's stipulation: "No bicycle tours allowed in the Park", so, if you decide to go into the Park, you are on your own. Then, onto the place where the BTC began just the week before, Durango, to enjoy the tour-end celebration. You did it!