Three riders from the CC Cycling Club experienced spotty sunshine to light snow as they cycled from campus to Cripple Creek as part of the club’s last organized ride of the school year.
“Austin [Eide] and I had been thinking about the ride for a while now, and we figured it was getting towards the end of the year so we should get on it,” freshman Alex Beutel, who helped organize the ride, said. “When we planned the route we knew it would be a long and challenging ride, but we figured we could take it easy and enjoy the scenery.”
Cripple Creek is located about 40 miles from Colorado Springs via Old Stage Road, but since the riders took Highway 67 and connected to US-24 on their descent, the ride was about 90 miles in total. The riders reached their maximum elevation of 10,200 feet on Old Stage Road where the temperature dropped into the low 40s.
Old Stage Road is steep and unpaved after its first half mile, and the cyclists said these first eleven miles were the most difficult of the trip.
“It’s nearly impossible to get out of the saddle (stand up and pedal) when climbing on dirt, as shifting your body up and forward on the bike takes weight off of the back wheel and causes it to lose traction and spin out,” freshman Austin Eide explained. “Without being able to stand up, the going was very slow (probably five to six m.p.h. average) in the first big climb of the ride.”
However, after reaching the maximum elevation, the riding got easier and more enjoyable. “Although we were still on dirt, the grade let up quite a bit and allowed us to move faster,” Eide said. “The road traveled through some extraordinary mountain and valley terrain.”
Both Beutel and Eide spoke of the spectacular views as they passed mountain streams, small cabins, and an old wooden tunnel.
“After about 27 miles of dirt riding, we were glad to hit the pavement of Highway 81,” added Eide. “We climbed a couple more miles on the highway and then made a quick, super-fun descent into Cripple Creek.”
The cyclists stopped to eat much-needed burgers in Cripple Creek before hitting the road once again. They decided to ride on Highway 67 to Divide and then go down through Woodland Park and Manitou on US-24 in order to avoid descending on the rough dirt of Old Stage Road.
“More dirt-riding didn’t sound all that appealing after we had worked hard on it all morning, and the descent down Old Stage into Colorado Springs would have been dangerous,” Eide said.
In total, the cyclists rode about 90 miles on Saturday as the majority of CC students lounged in the sun at Blues and Shoes.
“It was the last big ride planned for the year, but people are always going out on smaller rides (about 20 miles) during the week,” said Eide of any remaining CC Cycling Club plans.
Active Life Editor