6/2 Denver - Ride Orientation

6/3 Castle Rock

6/4 Colorado Springs

6/5 Buena Vista

6/6 Gunnison

6/7 Ridgway

6/8 Durango


TOTAL 425 miles








What should you expect regarding the terrain and environment on this trip?


This ride takes place in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. That said, you should expect to do some climbing. There will be a handful of 10+ mile stretches of increasing elevation with varying grades of steepness. The highest elevation we'll climb to is 11, 312 ft (Monarch Pass). It's so worth it! There will also be downhill stretches with significant grades of steepness. Depending on your comfort level with descending, you may find this the most exhilarating part of the ride or it may make you a bit more nervous. Be honest with yourself and take the time you need. All of the routes we will take have been traveled and/or evaluated by the trip organizers and are well-toured cycling routes.


The ride is in early June, so the weather will range from chilly to perfect. Temperature can change rather dramatically with elevation change, so you'll want to be prepared to don and shed layers.

How should you train?


How and to what extent you should train is honestly relative to you, your exposure to climbing, sharing the road with automobile traffic, etc. That said, here are some STRONG recommendations:


- Get in at least 500 miles of riding prior to the trip.

- Get in at least one ride of 65 miles or more.

- At least one ride of 100 miles would be even better.

- Practice climbing and/or training with resistance (this can be done with a stationary trainer*, in a spin class,

  or out in the wild!).

- Try to get yourself on hills, not only to get used to shifting gears, but also to get comfortable with the downhills.

- Practice riding with a hydration pack (no more than 2 Liters).

- Ride in the rain.

- Ride when it's cold.

- Ride on car-traveled roads with more narrow (but not unsafe) shoulders. You'll want to be used to passing traffic.

- Practice riding with other riders to get an idea of how to signal and communicate on the road.



If you are a less experienced cyclist or you're less certain of your training needs, check out the

TRAINING SCHEDULE below. It can serve as helpful guide to prepare a cyclist of any level for a week long tour.

The TRAINING SCHEDULE above is based on recommendations made by the Denver Post's Ride the Rockies.


- This schedule is meant to serve as a rough guideline only.


- Recommended mileages are approximate. Do not stress over attempting to match this schedule precisely.

  What matters is that you build up a total mileage following a training program similar to the one provided

  to ensure you're prepared for 400+ mile mountainous ride.


- Climbing is a major part of this ride. Try to ensure your training schedule incorporates an adequate

  amount of climbing and/or resistance work that will reflect the climbing challenges of this ride. This will

  become more crucial as the ride approaches.


- Challenge yourself to ride at greater intensity as you proceed with training, but remember to relax and ride

  easy if your body needs the break. This is about having fun!


- Again, enjoy the process of preparing for your ride and remember this is about having fun!

"Some cycling novices who don’t partake in any regular exercise may find the first week’s schedule of 3 rides totaling 40 miles too challenging. If this is you, consult a physician before starting any program of physical exercise. Once you’ve been given the green light, we recommend you extend this schedule by four to six weeks. Begin by walking a couple days per week and riding just one or two days per week. After a few weeks, ease your bike time up toward the point where you can begin with this schedule."





One of most important things to get right about your bicycle is that it FITS you well.


A good indicator for whether your bike fits well is that you are able to comfortably ride for long periods of time. After long rides (25+ miles), no matter how perfectly your bike fits you, tired legs and a tender rear are to be expected. However, if you're experiencing discomfort in you neck, back, hands, knees, etc., it's a very likely that your bike doesn't fit you well or needs some adjustments to the seat or handle bars.


If you find that you're experiencing numbness in areas of your anatomy in contact with the saddle, it's also likely that your bike fit is not ideal, or that you need a different seat or adjustments to your seat position. (Again, even if your bike fit is right on, it's always important to remember that you stand up off the seat, stretch and let your blood flow during long rides.)


If you have the slightest concern that your bike fit isn't quite right, we strongly encourage you to get your bike fit at a reputable bike shop. It's absolutely worth it. Keep your eyes open for posts on this website and/or Facebook about bike shop deals and resources.






The wm4WSEF Ride will be on paved roads. The best option regarding bike type is a road bike (as opposed to a mountain bike). Since the ride is supported and you wont be packing a bunch of weight onto your bike, it's not crucial that you have a road bike designed for touring, but a touring bike is certainly just fine for the ride.


What is key is that your bike is on the lighter side, has less rolling resistance, offers you multiple positions for hand placement and puts you in the most efficient body position for riding on paved roads. A good road bike will take care of all these variables.


That said, the founder of this ride first fell in love with cycling on a mountain bike, so by no means should you dismiss the ride just yet. If you're adamant about riding your mountain bike, just consider a few things:


- You're going to want to trade out your knobby tires for some slicks that fit your 26″ rims. You'll be much

  better off with the skinnier tires and higher pressure.


 - Look into getting some bar ends to bolt on to the ends of your mountain bike handle bars. They will offer

   you additional options for hand placement and reduce the likelihood of the ride leaving you with numb

   fingertips (nerve damage is no fun).






The steepest sustained uphill grade on this ride is typically 6 to 9 percent. There will be climbs for up to or more than ten uninterrupted miles. There will also be shorter (i.e. 1/4 mile) stretches of climbing at grades of around 10 percent.




- You DO NOT need a gear that allows you to sit while climbing a 10 percent grade. There's nothing wrong with standing up off the saddle to pedal up these shorter stretches.


- You DO need a gear that allows you to climb a 6 to 7 percent grade for 10+ consecutive miles sitting down.


Here's an easy way to determine this:


Find the longest grade near you that is 6 – 7 percent and give it a shot. You'll know your bike has a low enough gear for this type of climbing if you can climb it comfortably staying seated.


If you don't live near hills or mountains, find a reputable bike shop and make friends. Tell them what your signing up for and get some assistance determining whether your bike's gear range will help you up the mountain.



"A few points to remember about this experiment:

• Don’t kid yourself. If the hill you’re riding is only 2 miles long, make an honest assessment if you can do

   that 5 consecutive times. If you can make it up your 2-mile hill sitting, but arrive at the top ready to be

   carted off on a gurney, your gearing isn’t low enough.


• When we say you have to be able to sit this climb, we don’t mean your butt should be permanently glued to

   your saddle. Stand up and get some blood flowing to your backside once in awhile.


• There’s no rule that says you can’t take a break if you feel like it. Get off the bike and kick back for a few.

   Hey, if you’re embarrassed, pretend you’ve got something in your eye.


Need to know how to figure the grade of a hill? The formula is: vertical feet gained ÷ horizontal feet traveled (length of the climb in miles x 5280 feet). Example: Monarch Pass ascends approximately 3000 vertical feet in about 10 miles, so 3000 ÷ 52,800 = 0.0568 or 5.7% grade."








Let's remember, this ride is about having fun, it's for a great cause, and by no means do we want to turn people off from the ride by suggesting our riders must be outfitted with the most expensive bike and equipment out there. When it comes to shoes and pedals, our recommendations are intended to help you have the most efficient comfortable ride through the rockies. Clip-in pedals and shoes are not an absolute requirement of this ride, but we'll be honest in saying they're strongly recommended.


Our best recommendation: an SPD-style shoe & pedal combination


Why? They'll offer a secure, safe and efficient connection between you and the bike. They'll also let you waslk around easily and comfortably and sustain less wear and tear on the shoe.


If you're happy with the shoes and pedals you already have, please don’t think you need to go out and buy new equipment. Racing style Time or Look pedals combined with stiff-soled shoes are just fine for this ride.


If you choose not to use a clip-in pedal/shoe combo, be sure that your pedals have adequate teeth to engage your sole, consider putting toe cages on your pedals to make you more efficient and practice climbing with the shoes you intend to cycle in.