86MI, 10,827FT | 138KM, 3,500M+ · Sunday 25th June
After riding stages one and two of the Mavic Haute Route Rockies, you will probably have a good idea why Boulder, Colorado is home to a large number of professional cyclists, triathletes, and runners. For the start of Stage 2, you will ascend about 2,600 feet (790m) up Boulder’s steepest paved road, Magnolia Drive. Ranked as a ‘cat 1’ climb, the paved 4.47 miles (7km) averages a 9.8% grade, with the bottom quarter-mile averaging 14.75%. This 4.5-mile kicker ends and turns into a slow, 7-mile (11km) dirt jaunt before the route turns south on Peak-to-Peak Highway. Along Peak-to-Peak Highway, you will encounter a series of short climbs that incrementally bring you up to about 9,300 feet (2,800m) above sea level. A short, but welcome descent is followed by another quiet dirt road climb behind Central City, and finally a relaxing drop down to Idaho Springs.
You will be climbing from the moment you reach the bike path alongside Interstate 70 until you reach the summit of Berthoud Pass. While there are a few short reprieves along the way, you will climb approximately 4,000 feet (1,200m) over the next 27 miles (43km) to reach the 11,307-foot (3,446m) summit of Berthoud Pass. For the first 11 or so miles (18km) you will be on a bike path that twists and turns as it follows the fast-moving creek and faster-moving highway. The route splits from the highway as you approach the tiny town of Empire. This is the gateway to Berthoud Pass, a climb that starts with a gradual ascent along the valley and then kicks up sharply at the first switchback. When you hit this first switchback, you have about 5.5 miles (9km) left to climb. As with most passes in Colorado, the grades are not very steep, but you will ascend from about 9,500 feet (2,895m) to nearly 11,000 feet (3,350m) from the first switchback to the summit.
The descent off Berthoud Pass is well worth the effort to get to the summit. There are a few fun twists and turns as well as steep straightaways with good visibility so you can release the brakes and go. Have fun, but don’t be reckless. You still have several days and many more climbs and descents to enjoy.
Be very cognizant of recovery and hydration after Stage 2. You will be sleeping at nearly 9,000 feet (2,750m) above sea level, and the elevation and dry air make it more difficult to stay hydrated. Some people have trouble sleeping at this altitude, a problem that will only be exacerbated by having a headache from being dehydrated. For the sake of the days to come, prioritize rest and hydration during the afternoon and evening.
Stage description by Alpine Cols
Just because you’re all grown up, doesn’t mean you have to stop playing. Welcome to Winter Park, Colorado’s favorite® playground! With over 600 miles of cross-country trails and two downhill bike parks, Mountain Bike Capital USA™ has got it all: mellow rides, heart-thumping epic singletrack adventures and gravity-fed adrenaline. No matter what level of “adventure seeker” you happen to be, beginner to expert, low-key to high-adrenaline we’ve got you covered!
Tucked against the Continental Divide Winter Park offers the best of the Rockies: magnificent views of towering mountain peaks, exciting camping, hiking, biking, and boating experiences and we’re an incredible basecamp to enjoy all that Rocky Mountain National Park has to offer since we’re just 37 miles from the entrance.
Winter Park is buzzing all summer long with music, beer, wine, tequila and food festivals as well as art, bike and running events. Top all of that off with great places to stay and a unique downtown where you can dine and shop, Winter Park truly is a fun and affordable mountain town for you to enjoy.
If you can’t join us for summer, we do put the winter in Winter Park, with over 360” of snow each year for skiing, snowboarding, tubing, sleigh rides and snow angel making, surely your inner child can find plenty to do. Good thing we’re only 67 miles from Denver.
Maybe it will be your first visit, but we’re betting it won’t be your last. We invite you to come and explore Winter Park, Colorado’s favorite® playground.
Visit playwinterpark.com to learn more.