As many of you know, the Tour de France is won on the long, grueling climbs. These make-or-break sections of the course separate the good from the great.
We were recently discussing these iconic climbs around the office. And, before we knew it, we were off on a tangent about our favorite cycling climbs.
When my turn came to share, my mind rushed with possibilities. Geez, where do I start — there are so many? Some are well-known, others obscure. Some are paved, others are dirt road or rugged single track. Some are rewarding for the gut-wrenching effort required to make it to the top, while others reward you with breathtaking views.
The climb I finally landed on is both extremely challenging and stunningly beautiful. It may be cheating, but my top choice is actually a series of climbs strung together in one ride: Searle Pass, Kokomo Pass, and Ptarmigan Pass.
The summit of each of these passes is above treeline, which means snow is often an issue until July. This leaves a short window for attempting this route.
The ride starts at Copper Mountain and takes the Colorado Trail over Searle and Kokomo Passes to Camp Hale. Once at Camp Hale you experience the only flat portion of this ride. Enjoy it because you’ll soon be heading up Ptarmigan Pass on Resolution Road. It doesn’t start off too bad, but it continually gets steeper until you reach the summit. I’ve seen a few incredibly strong riders forced to walk the upper sections.
Once everyone regroups and refuels at the top of Ptarmigan Pass, it’s downhill all the way to Vail Pass. At this point you have two options: coast down the Vail Pass bike path back to Copper Mountain or, if you’re feeling ambitious, ride up the bike path to Vail Pass Summit and take the ripping Commando Run / Two Elks descent through the back bowls of Vail to Minturn.
For a masochist like me, there’s a certain appeal to suffering on steep hill, so I usually find myself choosing the latter.
Now it’s your turn to jump into our office conversation.
What’s your favorite cycling climb (or series of climbs)? Post a photo and/or story of your favorite climb on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Tag us with @endurobites or #endurobites.The person who posts the best photo and/ or story will win an Enduro Bites sample pack.
The promo runs through Sunday night, so it gives you plenty of time to get out on your bike this weekend and take a picture!