Colorado Cycling Events

Epic Century Rides and Gran Fondos

In the realm of grand challenges to be had on two wheels, Colorado cycling events and century rides are renowned far and wide.

From the iconic Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb, begun in 1962, to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, the second oldest 100-mile marathon mountain bike race in the United States, Colorado cycling events reach unprecedented heights and blaze the trail for type II fun.

But legendary Colorado cycling doesn't always end atop a Rocky Mountain summit. Two iconic events that attract cyclists from all over the world include the six-day, 400+ mile Ride the Rockies, first held in 1986, and Team Evergreen's Triple Bypass — “for those who dare.”

The Triple Bypass has been riding over three mountain passes higher than 10,500 feet for more than three decades. It's an epic bucket list ride on its own merits…but it pales in comparison to its burly brother: the Double Triple Bypass (240 miles and 20,000 feet of climbing in two days).

Not every cycling event in Colorado is for lunatics though. For more than 30 years, Elephant Rock has been one of the largest and most respected cycling events in Colorado, drawing thousands of cyclists to its event without including any mountain passes. It, along with its six Roll Massif siblings, roll camaraderie, challenge and community into stellar bike rides in the Front Range and beyond.

Roll Massif events include premier bike rides such as: the Copper Triangle in Summit County, a classic course and favorite of locals for many years before it became an "official" event, and the Tour of the Moon, a course featured in the movie American Flyers and made famous by the storied 1980s Coors Classic. The Tour of the Moon takes riders on a turn through the exotic Colorado National Monument and the high desert scenery around Grand Junction.

There are plenty of younger century rides and gran fondos in Colorado that appeal to the determined athlete and enthusiast, as well. Bike rides like the the Buffalo Cycling Classic in Boulder, the ladies-only Venus de Miles up in Lyons, and the Denver Century Ride, no need to say where that starts.

Colorado also abounds with several charity bike rides, including Pedaling 4 Parkinsons and the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association.

The two-day Courage Classic in Summit Country raises money for Children's Hospital Colorado and the Tour de Steamboat, in Steamboat Springs or course, focuses on helping local, Routt County non-profits. Both attract thousands of riders each year without having to call upon the allure of intense pain.

But if you are a person who enjoys throwing yourself uphill and accumulating big numbers in cumulative elevation gain, these century rides are right up your hilly alley.

There’s the Stonewall Century in La Veta, CO. 102 miles, 7,500 feet of elevation gain, and the soul crushing backside of Cucharas Pass toward the end of the ride. The grade of this cruel climb includes a mile-long section exceeding 10 percent.

The Mountain Experience Century in Guffey, CO brings more than 10,300 feet of elevation gain to the table in June of each year and does it in 102 miles. Use code 719RIDER to receive $25 off of the 2020 registration.

Similarly, the Park 2 Park Challenge rides in with more than 11,200 feet of climbing in its 100 miles of brutality each July.

And if you want elevation without lots of distance, the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb and Gran Fondo will give you just that each August — 4,275 feet of climbing in 12.42 miles.

Clearly, Colorado’s cycling events and century rides attract hordes of cyclists wanting to test themselves on the steeps of the Rocky Mountains. But there are other century rides and bike events in Colorado that sing to the climbing soul without having to climb a literal mountain.

In fact, the 719 Ride in Colorado Springs is one of the most challenging single day climbing events in Colorado. With an Epic Climbing Score* of 127.82, there is no rest from the climbing. The amount of up is so ridiculous, it’s awesome!

The signature ride, a measly 71.9 miles, logs 9,190 feet of climbing. The physical challenge is immense. But the beauty of the 719 Ride is that riders can choose their own adventure. The 719 Ride has 14 ride options from 14 miles to 200 miles that allow cyclists to do as much damage to their legs and lungs as their minds will allow. There’s even a do-it-yourself option, if you're not in Colorado or can’t make the ride start on July 19.

If you only do one bike event this year, you should choose the 719 Ride. It's a stunning experience. We recommend it 100 percent. And the registration fee is only $7.19.

There is no way to beat the 719 Ride.
If you disagree, you didn't do enough laps.

For a month-to-month list of Colorado cycling events and century rides, the Bicycle Colorado events calendar is a comprehensive resource. And for Colorado bike races, the USA Cycling and BikeReg event calendars are worth having in your saddle bag, if you race with a saddle bag.

*The Epic Climbing Score (ECS) is a simple calculation for comparing the amount of climbing a bike event has. The equation is total elevation gain divided by total distance. The ECS doesn’t indicate one event is better than another, or even easier or harder because there are tons of other factors and considerations that help make a century, gran fondo or other event fun, compelling and awesome to ride.

Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske on Unsplash.