Randonneurs  USA

Colorado High Country 1200km Randonnée
Rocky Mountain Cycling Club
Randonneurs USA
Randonneurs Mondiaux

Rocky Mountain Cycling Club

2021 Rider Info

Updated 17-May-2021

Stages  -   Bagdrops  -   Services  -   Ride Start Accommodations  -   Bike Shops  -   Transport from DIA
Checkpoints  -   Rules and Procedures  -   Environmental Tips  -   Narrative

Transport from DIA
If you are flying in, you will probably arrive at Denver International Airport. Available transportation:
  • RTD-Denver (Regional Transportation District) Bus Service - RTD-Denver offers dependable, comfortable service, $10.50 fare (no charge for bikes), and stops at the Louisville-Superior Park-and-Ride near the event start/finish (it will stop on the north side of US-36; the Quality Inn host motel is north across the parking lot, beyond the cinema) as well as Boulder, etc. This is the "AB" route. RTD info - Sky Ride. Note: returning to the airport, the bus will pick up on the south side of US-36. There is a covered pedestrian walkway, with elevator, crossing US-36.
  • In years past there were airport van shuttles, but now your option other than renting a vehicle would be ride hailing services such as Uber or Lyft.
  • 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 Accommodations
There are several motels within ½ mile of the ride start (same side of US-36, some on the east side of McCaslin Blvd.).
  • Quality Inn - 303-604-0181 - This is the ride start motel. West of McCaslin Blvd.
  • Best Western Plus - 303-327-1215 - East of McCaslin.
  • La Quinta - 303-664-0100 - East of McCaslin.
  • Marriott Courtyard - 303-604-0007 - East of McCaslin.
  • Residence Inn by Marriott - 303-665-2661 - 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 Louisville motels are also numerous places to eat, hardware stores, and a cinema.

Bike Shops
There are several bike shops in the area, including:

Environment & Caveats
  • Early-morning frost at higher elevation is possible. Bring adequate layering.
  • Afternoon thunderstorms are typical in the mountains - these can bring cold rain and downdrafts.
  • High altitude means increased sun exposure: use adequate sunscreen.
  • Arid climate - pay special attention to hydration.
  • Extended Climbs - None of the climbs are steep, but most are extended, and above 6,000 ft. will require extra energy.
  • Wildlife can appear on the roads, especially at dawn and at dusk. In addition to deer, elk, coyotes, and possibly bear and free-range cattle, be especially wary of moose, who can be aggressive and dangerous. Give moose the right-of-way.
  • Cattle grates (to hem in free-range cattle) need care in crossing. There are a couple of cattle grates on this route. Keep a lookout, as they are not signposted. If you have never crossed one, feel free to take a conservative approach (viz., walking).
  • Sunrise: 5:40   Sunset: 20:30.
  • Average July temperature ranges:

    Boulder59°88°5340 ft.
    Saratoga, WY50°83°6791 ft.
    Steamboat Springs  41°82°6706 ft.
    Walden40°77°8099 ft.

The stages are oriented towards riding the course unsupported, finishing in the 80+ hour time range, and taking into account the sparse services and accommodations along much of the route, especially at night (between 9pm and 6am). Your dropbag will be available on the evening of each day at the respective locations.

StageMileageRouteClimbing*Max. Elev.High Points
1189Walden10,007 ft.10,276 ft.climb over Cameron Pass
2204Walden10,511 ft.10,847 ft.Snowy Range; Woods Landing grade
3205Walden10,951 ft.9,426 ft.Muddy, Rabbit Ears, and Willow Creek Passes
4149Louisville5,363 ft.10,276 ftreturn climb over Cameron Pass
* per RideWithGPS

Bagdrop and "Overnight" Checkpoint
Drop bags will be transported to the Walden checkpoint at the North Park Inn, and brought back from there to the finish. Riders can sleep in Walden the first, second, and third nights either in rooms we've booked (if the lodging-included option was chosen) or separately arranged by the rider. Food will also be available in the evening and early morning hours.

If you are not following the stages described above, and will be sleeping in other locales, we will try to accommodate access to your drop bag as you transit Walden, and other services.

Drop Bag Guidelines

  • You are allowed one duffel-bag-sized bag, with 12" x 24" x 6" proportions or equivalent volume. It will be transported to succeeding bagdrop sites. Volume: If we determine at inspection that your dropbag is too big, there are several stores within a mile of the ride start where you can purchase another. Weight: If the dropbag weighs an unreasonable amount, you may need to leave some things out. Remember our volunteers will be hefting your bag for transport through the three overnights and finish. Please especially avoid carrying liquids: they weigh a lot (a pound per pint for water), and we will have plenty of hydration offerings at the overnights.
  • Please label your bag with your name and contact info.
  • You may hand off your drop bags at the inspection/orientation or at the ride start.
  • You may retrieve your drop bags from the Quality Inn, Louisville beginning Thursday afternoon, July 15.
Checkpoints are of the following types:
  • Bagdrop / Overnight Checkpoint (Walden) Staffed by event officials. Sign in when arriving and sign out when departing on the rider log sheets provided. This helps us track riders, and post rider progress online, so for the volunteer staff and for folks following your ride.
  • Establishment checkpoints such as stores - not staffed by event officials. Have someone working at the establishment register your card.
  • Information Checkpoints - Annotate the card yourself, entering the time of passage and the answer to the question for that location on the control card.
  • Secret Checkpoints - There may be one or more Event Staffed secret checkpoints along the route.
  • Photo and GPS Proof of Passage - If you reach an establishment checkpoint when there no establishments open, you may take a photo, or submit a GPS track for proof of passage. We are currently evaluating whether to accept GPS or photos for all checkpoints.
Rules and Procedures
  • Riders follow the standard rules for brevets - see the Randonneurs USA "Rules for Riders" .
  • Personal Support may travel the event route between checkpoints, but are only allowed to assist their rider (or others) at the checkpoints or en route in an emergency situation, and are not to "leap-frog" their rider. You must register your personal support (vehicle and contact info) before the ride start.
  • If you must abandon or have other difficulties which delay you, text or leave a message at the number listed on your brevet card. Please also mail your brevet card to the address listed on the card.

Services en Route
Brighton Spur Convenience store at US-85.
Loveland / LaPorte / Ft. Collins Sandy's on US-34 west of Loveland. A 7-Eleven on Overland Trail. A service station in LaPorte. Several bike shops in Ft. Collins.
Poudre Canyon Ted's Place (mile 0): store. Poudre Park (mile 10): store. Mishiwaka (mile 14): cafe. Rustic: camp store with moderate selection (control). Resorts (ca. mile 42): possible camp-store items.
Gould Small store; selection and hours limited. NOTE: 1 mile east of Gould, Moose Visitors Center (water and restrooms).
Walden Two convenience stores. One grocery store on east side of road at north end of town.
Riverside, WY One grocery store (closes at 7pm). Mangy Moose bar and grill.
Saratoga, WY Several convenience stores in center of town (1 mile beyond control). Grocery store next to control. No bike shops.
Centennial, WY Convenience store.
Laramie, WY Numerous convenience stores in I-80 corridor (one of which is a control). Several bike shops.
Walden See above.
Steamboat Springs Numerous convenience stores, restaurants, and several bike shops.
Yampa A well-stocked convenience store.
Toponas A store: normally open 8am. Limited selection.
Kremmling Convenience store. Supermarket. A cafe / dairy bar.
Hot Sulphur Springs A store. A cafe.
Granby A store at US-34 and US-40 (limited selection). More stores, restaurants, and grocery store over next mile (downtown) east on US-40
Rand Craft store with limited opening hours. No food. Some selection of drinks.
Walden See above. Overnight Control.
Poudre Canyon See above (outbound).
LaPorte / Ft. Collins See above (outbound).
Hygiene Stores on NW and NE corners.
Niwot A convenience store at Niwot Rd. and 79th St.

  • Louisville - Brighton - Hygiene (55 miles) - Flat to lightly rolling.
  • Loveland - Horsetooth - Ted's Place (44 miles) - Quiet county roads with lightly rolling terrain, except for relatively short, stiff climbs over Horsetooth Reservoir.
  • Poudre Canyon - Cameron Pass (58 miles) - Most of this extended climb is fairly shallow. Grade picks up the final 12 miles, past South Fork. The canyon is characterized by old fashioned resorts. Few services, the best being the store at Rustic at the halfway point.
  • Cameron Pass - Walden (31 miles) - Descent through wooded, marshy terrain, into the moose country of North Park. (A "park" is an open plateau in the mountains.) Services in Walden.
  • Walden - Saratoga (67 miles) - Departing the upper part of North Park into open sage country, strongly rolling between jct. Colo. Hwy. 230 and Riverside. You will climb successively higher ridges until descending to Riverside. CAUTION: This rolling terrain is scenic but exposed and can be windy. Make sure you have plenty of liquids to reach Saratoga.
  • Saratoga - Snowy Range (40 miles) - Extended climb through national forest of moderate grade. Some striking outcroppings and peaks at the summit. No services. Details of climb: from jct. Wyo. 230, (a) roughly 10 miles of rising rollers across ranchland, followed by (b) a descent into 4 miles of wooded valley and meadows, (c) the main, wooded climb from Ryan Park, and (d) around 5 miles traversing the Snowy Range (twisting and with short climbs and descents). Broken down this way, it is a scenic, quiet, and doable climb, despite the 4,000 ft. elevation gain.
  • Snowy Range - Laramie (37 miles) - A quick descent to Centennial (first services past Saratoga), nestled at the eastern foot of the Snowy Range, then out onto the tree-sparse expanse of the Big Hollow (wind possible).
  • Laramie - Walden (64 miles) - A gradual climb out of the Big Hollow to Wycolo Resort and terrain with trees, with a stiffer climb over the shoulder of the Snowy Range you just climbed, then back into North Park. Advisories: There is a store in Jelm / Woods Landing, and you may be able to get water at Wycolo Resort. Prevailing westerly winds may be partially blocked by the forest, but there is a broad cleared swath on either side of the highway.
  • Walden - Muddy Pass - Rabbit Ears Pass - Steamboat Springs (58 miles) - Rolling climb through sage country to Muddy Pass. Here you join US-40, which is a busier road, but has a good shoulder on this section. A five-mile climb up to Rabbit Ears Pass ("eastern summit"). The actual pass is now north of the highway (visible). The modern highway makes several undulations rather than having one summit. Great views of the Yampa Valley descending to Steamboat Springs. CAUTION: No services on the segment from Walden to Steamboat Springs. Make sure you bring enough liquid to see you through 58 miles with a fair amount of climbing.
  • Steamboat Springs - Toponas (40 miles) - Shallow climb up the Yampa Valley, including scenic and rolling Rd. 14 past Stagecoach State Park and on through Yampa (store) to Toponas. Some interesting rock formations. Toponas store may be open. (Topping off at Yampa a good idea.)
  • Toponas - Gore Pass - Kremmling (53 miles) - Meadow to woodlands on a very quiet road. Not a big climb to Gore Pass. Actually two climbs: a 6-mile climb to a ridge at 9,000 ft., then a descent into meadowland, and a final two-mile climb to Gore Pass (9,257 ft.). Historical marker on south side of the pass describes its interesting namesake. Quiet descent past large ranches. After the lush alpine meadow landscape from Steamboat to Gore Pass, you descend into the arid scrubby landscape in Grand County. Six mile stretch of downward rollers on US-40 to Kremmling carries traffic with limited shoulder.
  • Kremmling - Granby (26 miles) - After the first few miles, US-40 has a good to very good shoulder on most of this stretch. (And most of the Steamboat traffic takes Hwy. 9 from Kremmling.) Fairly flat and open, except in scenic Byers Canyon heading into Hot Sulphur Springs, an old resort town. This section of US-40 is the Colorado Headwaters Scenic Byway.
  • Willow Creek Pass - Rand - Walden (55 miles) - After a 3-mile climb over a ridge between US-40 and the Willow Creek Valley, a moderate climb with a few stiffer sections through woods and meadows. Effectively no services, as Rand store has limited opening hours, and only drinks. Beyond Rand, opens onto the marshy plateau of North Park. Exposed with wind possible.
  • Walden - Cameron Pass - Ted's Place (99 miles) - A fairly short climb to Cameron Pass. The road should be quiet at this time of day, but traffic may increase as you near the lower part of the canyon. Normally an up-canyon wind builds up as the day progresses, so you may find yourself working on the descent.
  • Ft. Collins - Loveland - Hygiene - Finish (58 miles) - Route takes the west side of Ft. Collins, a built-up area, but good shoulders, on down to the west end of Loveland. Then on county roads via Hygiene and on to the finish. (Store in Hygiene. Stores in LaPorte and Ft. Collins.)