2010 / 7 days / 470 miles

2010 / 7 days / 470 miles

16th Annual 470+ mile loop beginning and ending in Gunnison with a day off in the picturesque town of Pagosa Springs with the natural hot springs pools and river!

We have mapped out the route for the 2010 Bicycle Tour of Colorado to provide a fun, challenging, and safe trip through some of Colorado��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s most beautiful Rocky Mountains, climbing three new passes to the BTC, LaManga Pass, Cumbres Pass and North Cochetopa Pass, as well as Slumgullion, Spring Creek and Wolf Creek Pass, visiting quaint, artsy mountain towns, Colorado��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s farmland of the San Luis Valley and taking a dip into the Northern part of New Mexico!!

DAY 1 June 20, Gunnison to Creede - 106 miles

A good start!! at over a mile high in Gunnison at 7,703' Welcome to Colorado! We pedal from Gunnison to Creede on the Silver Thread section of the Colorado Scenic route (see coloradobyways.org). Today��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s 106 mile ride, the longest of the 2010 tour, includes climbs over two of Colorado��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s best-kept road-cycling secrets, cycling over Slumgullion Pass at 11,361��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ with an ascent of 9_% grade and descending at 8%!! and a 7_% energizing ascent and descent over the Continental Divide at 10,901' Spring Creek Pass. What goes up must go down!! and today is no different. From the top of the Spring Creek Pass begins a gradual descent with mellow, downhill rollers. The descent eventually gets steeper but mellow again. There is a short climb to view a magnificent cliff face, Bristol Head, where the creeks from these mountains form the headwaters of the Rio Grande River. We enter into the colorful old mining camps of the Silver Thread which offer rich history, with stories of the infamous Alfred Packer cannibalizing his companions, scenic beauty and rugged backcountry roads around Creede. We end up at 8,852��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ in the midst of Colorado��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s mining history, the Underground Mining Museum and vast mountainous areas for sport fishing and hunting. A spectacular first day ride and a great warm-up.

Day 1 note.The friendly town of Lake City is just before you begin climbing Slumgullion Pass. It is also the last town before Creede, 50 miles away. For information on Lake City visit www.lakecity.com or call the Visitor Center at 800-569-1874.

DAY 2 June 21 Creede to Alamosa - 69 miles

Getting into it! This 69 mile ride is a first for the BTC. The route includes a 22 mile descent from Creede to South Fork through the Rio Grande Palisades, a section of rock cliffs along the road, as we follow the Rio Grande River. As we cycle through Del Norte and Monte Vista on our way to Alamosa we pass through the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge as we enter the great San Luis Valley, a broad high mountain desert valley with high desert terrain and farmland and an average elevation of 7700��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____. We see a great vista before us of the Sangre de Cristo Range and Blanca Peak, the 4th tallest of the 54 14,000��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ peaks in Colorado with a height of 14,345��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, rising up in the distance. Ten of those 54 peaks are in the Sangre de Cristo Range. We roll into Alamosa to rest at 7,544��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ in this beautiful Valley. If your arrival in Alamosa is in a timely manner, you might consider renting a car and heading north 15 miles to see the Colorado Gator farm (gatorfarm.com) or travel on an additional 15 miles to Hooper to enjoy the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool for $10. The pool is a naturally hot artesian spring. You may also choose to experience the Great Sand Dunes National Park. But don��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____t be gone too long!! we have two new passes to climb tomorrow -- sleep well!!

DAY 3 June 22 Alamosa to Chama, New Mexico - 76 miles

Just about everything! From the breathtaking beauty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains to the mountains of New Mexico and the home of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, you will experience the serene beauty of the alpine meadows, aspens groves and pine forests as the BTC cyclist will cover 76 miles from Alamos to Chama, New Mexico. Leaving Alamosa, we will cycle through the Los Caminos Antiquos section of the Colorado Scenic Route through the Conejos River Valley, up a 7% grade to the top of LaManga Pass, 10,320��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, 11 miles before the Colorado/New Mexico border. A section of mellow, downhill rollers takes you to Los Pinos and then a steep climb to the top of Cumbres Pass, 10,022��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, 4 miles from the boarder. As you descend Cumbers Pass, watch for several railroad crossings on the road and if you see what appears to be a forest fire, don��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____t panic. It is most likely smoke from the historic narrow guage steam powered train on its way up the valley. When we arrive in Chama we will see there are no ��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____big box��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ stores, nor restaurant chains here. The unique authenticity of Chama means we will eat local, sleep local and get to meet those who call this paradise home. What sheer beauty!

DAY 4 June 23 Chama to Pagosa Springs - 50 miles

Loads of fun! Heading from Chama at 7,871��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ to Pagosa Springs at 7,079��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, this will be a cycling day to reflect on the mountain beauty surrounding you as you cycle for the second time over the Continental Divide on New Mexico��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s Sargent Pass at 7,718��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ and through the San Juan National Forest into Pagosa Springs at 7,079��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____. 50 miles of awesome scenery and a gentle descent. See if you realize where you cross the Continental Divide.

DAY 5 June 24 Day off in Pagosa Springs - ?? miles

Take a break! relax, cycle or explore the picturesque town of Pagosa Springs. Don��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____t forget to visit the natural hot springs or take a soak in the river! This is one of Coloradan��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s most desired vacation get aways. Hey, you deserve it!!

DAY 6 June 25 Pagosa Springs to Center - 74 miles

Ride on! At 74 miles, crossing over the Continental Divide for a third time at Wolf Creek Pass, 10,850��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, this climb offers a 6_% grade with a climb of 8 miles to the summit. On the descent, you will start heading down right away. You will cycle through a snow shed and the descent becomes a bit steeper. You will pass by the Fun Valley RV campground. Recognize the place? It is from the Chevy Chase movie, National Lampoon��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____s Vacation. It is just like in the movie!! You now enter a gorgeous valley as you cycle on into the San Luis Valley farm land to the small farming community of Center at 7,645��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____ with views of the Sangre de Cristo Range. We overnight in Center with a panoramic view of 10 of the 54 peaks in Colorado with an elevation over 14,000��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____. What awesome surroundings to relax in while enjoying the last Colorado Rocky Mountain evening of the tour!!

DAY 7 June 26 Center to Gunnison - 95 miles

Heading home! The second longest ride of the 2010 BTC at 95 miles and the first time ever climbing North Cochetopa Pass, 10,149��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��____��_��__��_��___��_��__��_��_____, and the fourth time over the Continental Divide this tour. The 2,000 feet+ ascent up the 6% grade reaches the summit at approximately mile 55, and then a 40 mile descent off North Pass, down the wide open road which is sometimes steep, down through Cochetopa Canyon and into the peaceful Tomichi Creek Valley and on to the place the BTC began just the week before, Gunnison. 470+ miles. CONGRATULATIONS! You did it!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!

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