Imagine taking batting practice at Fenway Park, playing a little one-on-one at Madison Square Garden, or teeing off at Augusta National Golf Club. You’d need some pretty impressive connections (not to mention hefty greens fees at Augusta) to pull off any of those experiences. But if cycling is your passion, the sport’s legendary rides are wide open to you.
For me, one of cycling’s biggest appeals is the idea that I can ride on the very same roads where Eddy Merckx, Gino Bartali, and Greg LeMond pedaled into history. Even right here in Colorado, I can freely ride where some of the world’s greatest cyclists have trained and raced. (It also means that I get to see, in no uncertain terms, just what amazing athletes pro cyclists really are.)
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The remarkable success of the USA Pro Challenge, which will kick off its third weeklong race in August, reminds us not only of cycling’s ever-increasing popularity in our state, but also just how spectacular the riding can be in Colorado.
With that in mind, we pulled together a team of seasoned riders—some longtime cycling journalists, others weekend warriors like me—to assemble our list of Colorado’s very best routes (“Spin Cities,” page 68) so you can plan your summer rides now. We’ve chosen a wide range of routes, from an easy spin around Denver to a quad-burner that affords breathtaking views of the Maroon Bells to a fun variation on Summit County’s lung-busting Copper Triangle.
If you’re a technically inclined rider, be sure to check out our website, where we’ve posted interactive maps and downloadable GPS files for each route. There’s really no good reason not to try a few of them this summer. I hope to see you out on the road.