The 2013 Bicycle Tour Of Colorado almost went up in smoke last year and given the green light from fire marshals only days before it's kick off, in smokey Canon City. Mother nature diverted the forest fires from Colorado Springs just long enough to lets its 1000 mountain climbers suffer the Rocky Mountain Tour. A savage of 438 miles, 30, 000 feet of climbing over 6 days, crossing the continental divide at 12, 000 feet not once, but twice, including the epic Independence and Cottonwood pass.
Who in their right mind would even attempt this ride in summer, and how much would they train or acclimate? There is no answer, you just want to and know you can do it. All we know is the brochure did say "try to ride hills or headwinds whenever possible".
We were surprised on arrival, to find the BTC much of a family reunion vacay ride of sorts, from all walks of life giving it a bash. Pros, ams, recumbents, hand cyclists, veterans, parent-children tendems, senior citizens on ventilators, and even our crew of BMX'ers turned rookie roadies.
The Rockies are no joke though and a humbling challenge, climbing some of Colorado's steepest alpine tundra and descending some gnarly switchbacks. The tour rolls through the scenic retreats of Crested Butte and Aspen, holiday home of Lance, and posts up in it's weird villages of Buena Vista and Salida, straight out of a Stephen Store book.
When your only obligation is to ride all day and take in the views, there's no better way to see the mountains, even if your granny gear is welded on for the most part. There are no medals to be won on this ride, except maybe a micro brewed Coloradical beer in your tent at the end of the day. It's a reward enough to just do it.
30k in climbs.