biking in the colorado rockys

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides archive' started by Norm, Feb 22, 2004.

  1. Norm

    Norm Guest

    I'd like to do touring and backpacking in order to see the rocky mountians. Any one have any ideas?
    I was looking at a map an saw the peak to peak highway it looked like an interasting route. Any one
    have any info on this road?
     
    Tags:


  2. Per Löwdin

    Per Löwdin Guest

    > I'd like to do touring and backpacking in order to see the rocky
    mountians.

    We did just that last summer, had great fun http://www.lowdin.nu/MTB/Colorado/Singletrack.htm

    Endless possibilities for hiking, of course, think Leadvile might be most interstering if you want
    to get up on one of the higher peaks. We did not do
    it.

    > I was looking at a map an saw the peak to peak highway it looked like an interasting route. Any
    > one have any info on this road?

    If I understood correctly it traverses the east slopes of the Front Range, just west of Denver, lots
    of up and downs. We chose to follow a lower route north from Golden to Estes, as we were not
    acclimatised the peak to peak highway would have been pretty strenuous. Colorado is high, even
    Denver is, takes at least a week before you are acclimatised, longer for places like Leadville.

    Per http://lowdin.nu
     
  3. >I'd like to do touring and backpacking in order to see the rocky

    The Rockies encompass a large area, with hundreds of opportunities for biking and nack packing.

    Can you tell us more about your goals, your fitness condition, time frame, etc.?

    Have you been at high altitude before?

    I have biked the Peak-to-Peak for a short ways (from Ward to Estes Park), ci=oming up Left Hand
    Canyon just north of Boulder. Left Hand Canyon is about 17 miles of significant upgrade, although
    not real steep, except through the town of Ward, itself.

    I have driven the Peak-to-Peak many times.

    It certainly is a beautiful area, just above where the front range/plains meets the Rockies, and
    does allow access to some portions of Rocky Mountain National Park where you can backpack, although
    for overnight stays, you need a back country permit.

    Not knowing your skills or fitness, I might suggest Summit County with about 60 miles of paved bike
    paths in altitudes from 9,000 feet to 10,600 feet, with journeys over Vail Pass and into Vail, and
    lots of opportunities for back packing, if desired. This is gorgeous country, flowing streams,
    rugged peaks.

    Are you going to be touring, camping out? Or do you want to stay in motels/condos.

    You can also ride on the road over many high mountain passes - up to Leadville, for example, or
    Loveland Pass or Hoosier Pass, or Red Mountain. All of these require a high degree of conditioning,
    and some acclimitazation to high altitude.

    Altitude sickness can be anything from feeling sick to a deadly condition.

    Let us know some more about you and what you want to do.

    http://members.aol.com/foxcondorsrvtns (Colorado rental condo)

    http://members.aol.com/dnvrfox (Family Web Page)
     
  4. Norm wrote:

    >I'd like to do touring and backpacking in order to see the rocky mountians. Any one have any ideas?
    >I was looking at a map an saw the peak to peak highway it looked like an interasting route. Any one
    >have any info on this road?
    >
    Well, ..... for one thing ... it's not enough road to warrant a "tour." You could ride the peak to
    peak highway in less than a day. It *is* extremely scenic, though (I believe it's designated a
    National Scenic route). Where else did you think you might go?

    As Denver Fox, says. We need to know more. How long are you staying?

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Integrity is obvious. The lack of it
    is common.
    *****************************
     
  5. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On Sun, 22 Feb 2004 07:55:03 GMT, "Per Löwdin" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >If I understood correctly it traverses the east slopes of the Front Range, just west of Denver,
    >lots of up and downs. We chose to follow a lower route north from Golden to Estes, as we were not
    >acclimatised the peak to peak highway would have been pretty strenuous. Colorado is high, even
    >Denver is, takes at least a week before you are acclimatised, longer for places like Leadville.

    Too true. One of my worst days ever on the bike was in Leadville. On our first cycling day in the
    Rockies last summer (Note that I'm from Aurora, Illinois, elevation 700 ft.) we tried a ride around
    Turquoise Lake starting from downtown Leadville. Ugh!

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  6. Ray Swartz

    Ray Swartz Guest

    I am planning to ride from Denver to San Francisco starting around July 4th. I plan to the the Trans-
    Am route, which goes west of Denver (Golden), goes north to Yellowstone and the west to Oregon. I'll
    continue down the coast to SF.

    I realize that riding in and over the Rockies is serious bike riding but I am mostly concerned about
    the altitude. I am in relatively good biking condition (I recently rode 60 miles climbing over a
    2000 foot pass from sea level) but live at sea level.

    Flying to Denver and hopping on a bike seems a bit foolish. Yet, hanging out in Denver a week just
    to acclimate seems more than I'm willing to do.

    How should I plan the beginning of this trip?

    Should I hang out in Denver and take rides around the area for a few days before starting out?

    Are there any issues with starting this ride in July?

    Thanks,

    Ray
     
  7. Per Löwdin

    Per Löwdin Guest

    > One of my worst days ever on the bike was in Leadville. On our first cycling day in the Rockies
    > last summer (Note that I'm from Aurora, Illinois, elevation 700 ft.) we tried a ride around
    > Turquoise Lake starting from downtown Leadville. Ugh!

    Yes, the elevation of Leadville is almost Tibetan. Amazingly high!

    Per
     
  8. Per Löwdin

    Per Löwdin Guest

    > Should I hang out in Denver and take rides around the area for a few days before starting out?

    Not necessarily, it is high but not that high, we flew into Denver, spent the night in Golden and
    then went to Estes the next day. Then, we felt that we needed a day in Estes, which is at 2100 m,
    before we crossed the ridge road. We rode it after a day of rest in Estes. It was strenuous yes, but
    not unmanagable. For us it was a bit extra hard as we were pretty jet lagged. After that we had no
    problems with the altitude.

    Colorado altitudes are not such that you risk AMS. After only a few days you are reasonably
    acclimatised, though you may feel some fatigue at times. To get completely acclimatised takes
    approximately a month.

    Per http://lowdin.nu
     
  9. -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----

    In article <[email protected]>, Ray Swartz <[email protected]> wrote:
    >I am planning to ride from Denver to San Francisco starting around July 4th. I plan to the the Trans-
    >Am route, which goes west of Denver (Golden), goes north to Yellowstone and the west to Oregon.
    >I'll continue down the coast to SF.
    >
    >I realize that riding in and over the Rockies is serious bike riding but I am mostly concerned
    >about the altitude. I am in relatively good biking condition (I recently rode 60 miles climbing
    >over a 2000 foot pass from sea level) but live at sea level.

    _ You should expect to do a ride like that every day. That's a relatively flat and short ride by
    Colorado standards.

    >
    >Flying to Denver and hopping on a bike seems a bit foolish. Yet, hanging out in Denver a week just
    >to acclimate seems more than I'm willing to do.
    >
    >How should I plan the beginning of this trip?

    _ Altitude is tricky, your reaction is independant of how in shape you are and can change every time
    you go up to altitude. If at all possible, you should spend some time at altitude before this trip.
    Even a day hike to 5k feet for a couple weekends in a row will help, even better if you can stay
    overnight.

    >
    >Should I hang out in Denver and take rides around the area for a few days before starting out?
    >

    _ In my experience, after 3 days you're more or less as acclimated as you're going to get in less
    than a month. It really helps if you can sleep low during these 3 days, and start out slow. Starting
    out easy is always a good idea on any long bike trip. Getting up any of the canyons to the Peak to
    Peak is going to be a lot of work, especially with a touring load. It's at least 4k of climbing.

    >
    >Are there any issues with starting this ride in July?
    >

    _IMHO, the peak to peak highway in July on a sunny day is about as good as bike riding gets. I would
    not miss it if I were you. The only other issue about biking in CO in July is the afternoon
    thunderstorms. They are brief, intense and happen nearly every day. You should avoid being at the
    top of any passes at 3pm or so...

    _ Here's what I'd suggest as an itinery for a reasonably fit person.

    Day 1. Arrive at Denver, deal with bike travel hassles. If time allows a short bike ride, sleep in a
    motel at 5-6k feet. Sleep as much as you can. Drink lot's of water.

    Day 2. A relatively short ride ( 2-4 hrs ) to the base of whatever canyon you want to climb. ( My
    favorite is Coal Creek, but Boulder or even further north might work better for you. ) Sleep at 5-6K
    feet. Drink lot's of a sport drink, have soup for dinner.

    Day 3. Ride the Peak to Peak to Estes Park.
    Drink lot's of a sport drink.

    _ It's a bit of a slow start, but IMHO would be well worth it.

    _ Booker C. Bense

    P.S. did I mention that you should drink a lot? IMHO staying hydrated is one of the keys to adapting
    to altitude as quickly as possible. Especially in the Rockies which are very dry to begin with.

    -----BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE----- Version: 2.6.2

    iQCVAwUBQDpjvmTWTAjn5N/lAQGzfAP/abYd56u5zE8XhlpI78xAHouAiIwi4tmM
    eH2sVF6LF95mbAI4+K5SDD3xoEYJoUWKpU5WBr/X4gL9WgP+IggAxhOW3iEk5M6S
    EES8D38lPuFozI1LHgsG+wOz13RrA08CfeaFwygeCHlcqq+xqnb7SHpIOEHeRHyB NI9JvGw1MkI= =J05J -----END PGP SIGNATURE-----
     
  10. Eric

    Eric Guest

    "Norm" <nomd @ netcarrier.com> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > I'd like to do touring and backpacking in order to see the rocky mountians. Any one have any
    > ideas? I was looking at a map an saw the peak to peak highway it looked like an interasting route.
    > Any one have any info on this road?

    There are numerous possibilities. The Peak-to-Peak is no more than a day ride really as it only
    runs from Estes Park to Blawk Hawk (70 miles total, maybe). Dillon is a good area as there are 3 or
    4 rides you could do out of there, yet the backpacking might not be the best. I'd recommend hitting
    SW Colorado and the San Juans. Start in Durango and head north on Hwy 550. 3 little minor bumps in
    the road until you hit flat land again at Ouray. From there you can loop around and pass through
    Telluride and continue on south ending up in Mancos? I believe it's Hwy 160 that you intersect
    there and head east back to Durango. Total ride distance is just over 200 miles with endless
    backpacking possibilities along the way and scenary that is second to none in the state. Be
    forwarned though as the ride is not for the meek nor lungs not acclimated to altitude as you peak
    out at around 12,000 feet.
     
  11. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Per Löwdin wrote:

    > Colorado altitudes are not such that you risk AMS.

    Yes, Colorado altitudes are more than high enough for AMS. The deadly, pulmonary or cerebral edema
    AMS is very rare there, but the headache/nausea/insomnia AMS is quite common.

    If you experience AMS symptoms, or fear your susceptible:

    1. Rest, or at least go easy.
    2. Drink lots and eat adequately.
    3. Stay away from diuretics, alcohol, and sedatives.
    4. Descend and sleep at a lower elevation, if you can.

    AMS is not very pleasant. The mild form feels like a hangover.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  12. Per Löwdin

    Per Löwdin Guest

    > Yes, Colorado altitudes are more than high enough for AMS. The deadly, pulmonary or cerebral edema
    > AMS is very rare there,

    Unless one is predisposed for it some way it is very unlikely. But it could happen

    > but the headache/nausea/insomnia AMS is quite common.

    We did not have any of those symptoms but they can surely occur and are quite common if one ascends
    to above 3000 metres in one day, especially if one sleeps at that altitude, e.g., if one flew into
    Leadville it is quite probable one would get a head ache and difficulty to sleep.

    However, it is not higher than that such symptoms only last for a night or two. Best thing to do is
    to rest and take it easy, in a day or two one will be ok. Talking from personal experience, have had
    various symptoms of AMS in India, Tibet and Nepal http://www.lowdin.nu/Treks/Treks.htm, never
    anything severe but sufficient to have to spend an extra day to recupperate. Typically, we have been
    in too much of a rush, wanting to do a lot in a short holiday. Acclimatisation does not remain. Even
    if one has spent plenty of time in the past on altitude one still gets it if one has been living at
    sea level for a while.

    Of course if it is severe one has to ascend. Some use Diamox as a profilactic. But we rather don´t.
    There are some unexplored side effects, apart from the fact that chemical acclimatisation feels
    totally wrong.

    Per http://lowdin.nu
     
  13. >Flying to Denver and hopping on a bike seems a bit foolish. Yet, hanging out in Denver a week just
    >to acclimate seems more than I'm willing to do.
    >
    >How should I plan the beginning of this trip?
    >
    >Should I hang out in Denver and take rides around the area for a few days before starting out?

    Budget for a few easy days at the start of the trip. Don't push yourself too hard and if you happen
    to go over ~3000m then overnight close to that altitude the night before. If for some reason you
    wish to climb one of our 14ers (approximately 4000m) then spend a few days at altitude. Altitude may
    affect everyone a bit differently (and some none at all) so be patient if there are several of you
    in a group.

    Some anecdotes about altitude and how it affects some:
    * When I moved back to CO, I noticed at first that I had less cycling power above 9000ft. Gradually,
    that has increased, so my hiking power decrease threshold seems to be above 13,500 ft.
    * My grandmother visited in well into her 90s. We took her up to 9000ft in Summit County the weekend
    after she arrived to a place my parents own. She quickly ran up two flights of stairs like she
    would have at sea level. She later confided in my parents "I thought I was dying..." as she
    noticed her heart racing.
    * A friend visited from LA and we went to climb Longs Peak (14,255 ft) within 12 hours of his
    arrival. He was initially stronging hiking than I was, but started slowing dramatically around
    12,000+ ft.

    >Are there any issues with starting this ride in July?

    No. There isn't such a thing as "typical weather", but if there was it might include "afternoon and
    evening thundershowers", so sometimes useful to get riding early. Watch for lightning and don't do
    stupid stuff with the weather.

    --mev, Mike Vermeulen
     
  14. Ray Swartz wrote:

    >I am planning to ride from Denver to San Francisco starting around July 4th. I plan to the the Trans-
    >Am route, which goes west of Denver (Golden), goes north to Yellowstone and the west to Oregon.
    >I'll continue down the coast to SF.
    >
    >
    I rode in the opposite direction from Seattle to Boulder:
    http://cycletourist.com/Seattle_to_Boulder/

    From Wyoming to Denver, I took a more direct route that you might want to consider (instead of
    heading southwest out of Denver). It'll take you UP and over Trail Ridge Road in RMNP.

    Per has good advice about getting started. Athletes can perform well at altitude (football and
    baseball in Denver). If you are in good aerobic shape, you'll do ok. Just pace yourself up that
    first big climb. (Denver to Estes and then Estes Park and over Trail Ridge - if you choose this more
    direct option.)

    The ride from Denver to Fairplay on 285 has plenty of climbing (6000' - 7000 ft), but only crosses a
    10,000 foot pass (Trail Ridge Road - is over 12,000 feet). There is plenty of great scenery from
    Kenosha Pass down to Fairplay and then from there to Walden, but Trail Ridge Road is *mighty*
    spectacular - and makes for a great "notch in your top tube."

    >I realize that riding in and over the Rockies is serious bike riding but I am mostly concerned
    >about the altitude. I am in relatively good biking condition (I recently rode 60 miles climbing
    >over a 2000 foot pass from sea level) but live at sea level.
    >
    >
    My first day of a tour, from Boulder to the base of Kenosha Pass (highway 285), I rode 60 miles and
    climbed 6000 feet.

    >Flying to Denver and hopping on a bike seems a bit foolish. Yet, hanging out in Denver a week just
    >to acclimate seems more than I'm willing to do.
    >
    >
    Spend one or maybe two nights "down" here. If you are in good shape, you'll be fine if you
    pace yourself.

    (Come to Boulder and get wasted on the mall crawl Ø¿ô¬ Not.)

    >How should I plan the beginning of this trip?
    >
    You put your left foot in, You put your right foot in, ........

    >Are there any issues with starting this ride in July?
    >
    >
    That's prime thunderstorm season in the Rockies. I think someone already said it; time it so you
    will down from high passes (above timberline) well before 2 or 3 in the afternoon. Other than that,
    they are fast moving storms. You can often take shelter and wait for the sun to come back out. Have
    some layers so you're ready for hail and snow if it hits.

    http://cycletourist.com/Seattle_to_Boulder/Virginia_City.html (Montana - on the Trans Am route)

    Oh, and when in Wyoming - be prepared to start your days early. Like clockwork, by noon, the wind
    will be blowing hard. Although, it can be out of the south, too

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Integrity is obvious. The lack of it
    is common.
    *****************************
     
  15. Per Löwdin wrote:

    >"Denver C. Fox" <[email protected]> skrev i meddelandet news:20040223205118.15073.00000[email protected]
    >m18.aol.com...
    >> >Colorado altitudes are not such that you risk AMS.
    >>
    >> WRONG!!
    >>
    >> Depends upon the person, the time and the place. Highly variable, and
    >there
    >> are altitude deaths each year in Colorado.
    >>
    >> Symptoms can start as low as 8,000 feet.
    >
    >Surely, ascending fast to altitudes above 10.000 feet on has to be aware. Above 13 - 14 000 mild
    >symptoms, head ache and insomnia, are likely to occur if one has ascended rapidly, does something
    >strenuous such as climbing, hiking or biking, especially if one remains on that altitude over
    >night. At that altitude there is a real risk that one developes AMS if one ignores the symptoms,
    >does not descend, and rest. However, most visitors to Colorado are not really in the danger zone.
    >But many I believe will feel a lot of general fatigue. Colorado is high.
    >
    >
    >
    Yes we are. ...... ..... "Rocky Mountain Hi -igh, ...." Ø¿ø¬

    I agree. Let's tone it down a bit here. Yes there is a concern, but it is very rare at altitudes
    that do not surpass 12,000 - 14,000 feet, ... *and* for some length of time (most commonly it is
    headache - nausea - and dizziness .... .... .... Rocky Mountain Hi-igh Ø¿ø¬

    When I finally climbed (hiked) Long's Peak (one of many) at 14,000+ft, it was a let down to see all
    the fat, midwestern tourists with their, "I Ate at Bob's Steakhouse t-shirts" wandering all over the
    top (It's huge. You could play the football up there.) I couldn't believe the type of people that
    had made it up there. It *is* a very looooong haul - one of the longer ascents in the state.

    Before I moved here, there were many summers when I would drive straight from Chicago to go camping
    at 11,000 feet. It's a little rough on you, but most people can handle it.

    --
    *****************************
    Chuck Anderson • Boulder, CO http://www.CycleTourist.com Integrity is obvious. The lack of it
    is common.
    *****************************
     
  16. NobodyMan

    NobodyMan Guest

    On Tue, 24 Feb 2004 18:15:34 GMT, "Per Löwdin" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >
    >"Denver C. Fox" <[email protected]> skrev i meddelandet news:[email protected]
    >m18.aol.com...
    >> >Colorado altitudes are not such that you risk AMS.
    >>
    >> WRONG!!
    >>
    >> Depends upon the person, the time and the place. Highly variable, and
    >there
    >> are altitude deaths each year in Colorado.
    >>
    >> Symptoms can start as low as 8,000 feet.
    >
    >Surely, ascending fast to altitudes above 10.000 feet on has to be aware. Above 13 - 14 000 mild
    >symptoms, head ache and insomnia, are likely to occur if one has ascended rapidly, does something
    >strenuous such as climbing, hiking or biking, especially if one remains on that altitude over
    >night. At that altitude there is a real risk that one developes AMS if one ignores the symptoms,
    >does not descend, and rest. However, most visitors to Colorado are not really in the danger zone.
    >But many I believe will feel a lot of general fatigue. Colorado is high.
    >
    >Per http://lowdin.nu
    >
    Parts of Colorado are high. Eastern CO is not - unless you want to concede that Western KS
    is "high."
     
  17. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Per Löwdin wrote:

    > > "Colorado altitudes are not such that you risk AMS."
    > >
    > > is blatantly incorrect.
    >
    > Depends on where you put the emphasis: Acute Mountain Sickness would be rare. Extremely few
    > visitors will get it in Colorado. So few that it is not really a factor for most visitors.

    According to a medical study, 25% of visitors to Colorado ski areas will experience AMS, and about
    half of them will have to reduce their activities as a result.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  18. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Terry Morse wrote:

    > According to a medical study, 25% of visitors to Colorado ski areas will experience AMS, and about
    > half of them will have to reduce their activities as a result.

    Oops, forgot the URL:

    http://tinyurl.com/27k5q

    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  19. Per Löwdin

    Per Löwdin Guest

    > Per Löwdin wrote:
    > > Depends on where you put the emphasis: Acute Mountain Sickness would be rare. Extremely few
    > > visitors will get it in Colorado. So few that it is
    not
    > > really a factor for most visitors.
    >
    > According to a medical study, 25% of visitors to Colorado ski areas will experience AMS, and about
    > half of them will have to reduce their activities as a result.

    Sure, and what does that mean? I really depends on how you define AMS. According to the study
    http://www.annals.org/cgi/content/full/118/8/587 25 percent of the visistors have some form of
    symptoms. Now if you look at those you find that "44% of persons with acute mountain sickness had no
    reduction in activity, 51% had moderate activity reduction, and a small proportion (5%) stayed in
    bed." That means i) that 44% were not more sick (!) than that they continued skiing or biking or
    whatever. Were they sick? 51percent had "moderate activity reduction:" i.e., the altitude affected
    their skiing or whatever so they reduced their activity moderately. 5 percent were in bed.

    If we throw out the notion of sickness, except for people who are in bed we find, that of the whole
    sample, or to make it simple of hundred tourists, 75 had no trouble with the altitude at all, 11
    felt the altitude but it did not trouble them more than that they continues as if they did not: i.e,
    of a hundred tourists 86 did what they came for.

    Of the remaining 13 felt it necessary to reduce their activity moderately. The implication is that
    99 percent were skiing or biking or golfing, or whatever, though of those some 13 percent reduced
    their activity moderately as they were affected by the altitude.

    One (!) person was so badly affected that he or she stayed in bed. Now, this adds up to that one
    person of one hundred got AMS: i.e., was sick in bed! 13 were affected by the altitude to the extent
    that they reduced their activity moderately.

    Now this means that there is a 1 percent risk to wind up in bed with Acute Mountain Sickness. The
    probability that one is not affected at all is 0.75, and so on.

    Per http://lowdin.nu
     
  20. On Wed, 25 Feb 2004 18:29:04 GMT, Per Löwdin wrote:

    >> Per Löwdin wrote:
    >>> Depends on where you put the emphasis: Acute Mountain Sickness would be rare. Extremely few
    >>> visitors will get it in Colorado. So few that it is
    > not
    >>> really a factor for most visitors.
    >>
    >> According to a medical study, 25% of visitors to Colorado ski areas will experience AMS, and
    >> about half of them will have to reduce their activities as a result.
    >
    > Sure, and what does that mean? I really depends on how you define AMS.

    And your definition of AMS seems to be at odds with that used by the medical profession. It seems to
    me that whenever you mention AMS we should mentally precede it with the word 'severe'.
    --
    Michael MacClancy Random putdown - "I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I
    approved of it." - Mark Twain www.macclancy.demon.co.uk www.macclancy.co.uk
     
Loading...
Loading...