(coinciding with bagdrops):
The recommended stages are oriented towards riding the course unsupported, finishing in the 80+ hour time range, and taking into account the sparse services and accomodations along much of the route, especially at night (between 9pm and 6am).
Day 1: 251 miles to Atwood KS (trending downhill)
Day 2: 219 miles back to Atwood (turning around at Kensington)
Day 3: 180 miles to Byers (roughest stretch of the ride - uphill and exposed)
Day 4: 103 miles to the finish
As you can infer from the Services section, most restaurants, stores, and service stations tend to open early ... and close early, as you'd expect of a ranching and farming region. (On top of this, remember that you enter the Central Time Zone not far into Kansas, and so lose an hour on the clock, in terms of opening/closing times.)
If you reach a place to eat or buy supplies towards late afternoon or early evening, consider stopping there and stocking up. For example, the first recommended stage passes through St. Francis, KS, 215 miles into the day - there are plenty of stores, cafes, and restaurants to choose from. By contrast, you may be reaching the first bagdrop point, Atwood KS, at or after closing time of such establishments. Riders in the past have also started early each day, with 3-5 predawn hours of riding, stopping for a hearty breakfast between 5am-7am when rancher cafes open. We would like to EMPHASIZE that riders should think ahead and plan ahead for food and water, and overnight accomodations.
Boulder to Atwood (251 miles) - The first recommended stage is the longest, as you're fresh, the course trends downhill, and you will typically not encounter onerous headwinds - this puts you in a good position for the rest of the ride, when you are tireder, going uphill and possibly upwind, or some combination of these.
Atwood - Kensington - Atwood (219 miles) - The second section is at lower elevation (more oxygen! more humidity!), may be warmer, with more trees, and to some extent more services. If things go well, you could consider going beyond Atwood to St. Francis (45 miles further, but uphill).
Atwood - Byers (180 miles)) - This section could feel like the toughest, with elevation gain over rollers, sparser trees and services (especially between Idalia and Byers), and likely a good breeze from some direction - at this stage you may start to pick up westerly winds, whereas to the east, the winds are more northerly or southerly. If things go well and you reach Byers early, you could consider going on, but there are few motel accomodations along the route.
Byers - Finish (103 miles) - With the Rocky Mountains in sight (during the day), this is a more populated area with a few more trees. It should be relatively easy to find services.
Transport from DIA
If you are flying in, you will probably arrive at Denver International Airport. Available transportation:
Denver Regional Bus Service - RTD-Denver offers dependable, comfortable service, $10 fare (no charge for bikes), and stops at the Park-and-Ride from which the Last Chance departs (it will stop on the north = motels side of US-36) as well as Boulder, etc. This is the "AB" bus.
RTD info - click on "skyRide".
There are also airport van shuttles, which will drop you at your motel, in the $25 range (plus possible charge for bikes), reservations not required. Inquire in the arrival area.
Cycling from DIA is legal, signposted, and there are broad shoulders to ride leaving the airport. It is about 40 miles cycling from DIA to Louisville/Superior.
Ride Start Accomodations
Across US-36 (the Boulder Turnpike) from the ride start park-and-ride lot, there are several motels, all within ½ mile of the ride start.
Comfort Inn - 303-604-0181 - Where most out-of-town riders have stayed in the past. West of McCaslin.
La Quinta - 303-664-0100 - East of McCaslin.
Marriott Courtyard - 303-604-0007 - East of McCaslin.
Hampton Inn - 303-666-7700 - East of McCaslin.
There are also motels in Boulder (5-7 miles further up US-36), and one or more in the Interlocken/Broomfield area (3-5 miles before the Louisville/Superior exit).
Around the motels are also numerous places to eat, hardware stores, and a cinema.
There are several bike shops in the area:
Louisville Cyclery - 303-665-6343 - in Louisville, 3 miles away, on South Boulder Rd.
Checkpoints are of the following types:
Bagdrop Checkpoints (Atwood and Byers) will be staffed by Last Chance officials, and you can also have your card registered by the motel clerk.
Establishment checkpoints such as stores - not staffed by Last Chance officials - if you transit them during their opening times, have someone working at the establishment register your card. If you transit the checkpoint when they are closed, treat them as a Personal Checkpoint.
Personal Checkpoints - you the rider annotate the card yourself, entering the time of passage, your initials, and "P.C." -- these checkpoints are on the route (a) to record your passage and progress more accurately and (b) to provide a support point for those with personal support.
Phillipsburg Turnaround - annotate the postcard provided, with your time of passage, and mail it at the Phillipsburg post office.
Rules and Procedures
Riders are to follow the standard rules for brevets - see the Colorado Brevet Rules and the Randonneurs USA "Rules for Riders" from which they are drawn.
Personal Support may travel the Last Chance route between checkpoints, but are only allowed to assist their rider (or others) at the checkpoints and Support Points (indicated as "SP" on the cue sheet), or en route in an emergency situation, and should not "leap-frog" their rider.
If you must abandon or have other difficulties which delay you, you may leave a message on the Field Operations line (303-604-1163 or 303-579-5866) or at other numbers which may be provided. Please also mail your card to the address listed thereon.
Services en Route
- Keene Motel, 190 N Market St, (303) 732-4465 (just south of I-76).
- Also: a restaurant across the street.
- Restaurant: Longhorn Restaurant, open 5:30am to 9:00pm.
- Motel, Budget Host Inn (Longhorn Motel) rate, $44.25/ night,
- Sinclair Station with small conv. store across the street open 6:00am to 10:00pm.
Anton: Store open 7:30am to 5:00pm
- Sinclair sta. Open 7am to 7pm.
- Café (Western Café) located on the west side of town open 6am to 8pm.
- Water hydrant in the park just east of Sinclair sta.
- Café (east side of town) open 7am to 2pm
- Grocery store(west side of town) open 7am to 8pm.
- Motel next to the café.
St Francis,KS (CDT)
- Sinclair station and convenience store north side of US-36 50 yards east of the Empire Motel. Has pizzas and sandwiches. Open 0500 to 2400 hours.
- Dusty Farmer Restaurant located in Empire Motel complex, west side and down one level. Open 0600 to 2100 hours.
- Park Hill Restaurant located north side of US-36 200 yards east of Empire Motel. Open 1100 to 2130 hours.
Bird City: nothing
McDonald: Hydrant in rest area and park on north side of US-36.
- Café (center of town) open 6am to 8pm.
- Crest Motel first bag drop located east side of town half way up the hill on the north side of US-36. Bagdrop room #108 located in the front one-story bldg. on the north side right across from the restaurant.
- Motels, Oberlin Inn(jct hwy 36 &83), Frontier motel in back of Frontier Café.
- Café open 6am to 9pm(located east side of town & south side of 36).
- Pizza Hut open 11am to 9pm, Phillips sta and store open 6am to 10pm at jct 36&83.
- County Kitchen café on east side of town and north side of US-36.
- Texaco service station & deli south side of US-36 across from the Brooks Motel. Open 0500 to 2400 hours.
- Pizza Hut and Taco Bell north side of US-36 on the West side of town. Open 1100 to 2300 hours.
- McDonalds north side of US-36 just east of Taco Bell a few blocks. Open 0600 to 2300 hours.
- Norton Cafe – east side of town, north side of US-36 (before going down the hill westbound).
- Hillcrest Motel (west side of town, on south side of road, across street from Pizza Hut
Places to eat:
- Subway on US-36 just east of traffic light on south side
- Pizza Hut further east on south side of US-36.
- Cottonwood Motel - a nice place - at east end of town.
- Motel: Mark V Motel, 320 W State St, (785) 543-5223 - west end of town.
- Ferguson Lodge - RR 1 Box 152 - (785) 476-2416
- Great Plains Motel - 113 E Highway 36 - (785) 476-2850