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

2011 Rider Stories
Rocky Mountain Cycling Club

Mike Sturgill

Greetings! This past week took me to Colorado and Wyoming to ride the inaugural Colorado High Country 1200k. The route tours the Rocky Mountains in northern CO and southern WY covering 750 miles and climbing ~35,000'. From the moment I heard about this ride, I wanted to ride it. Here is a link to the route. If you "mouse over" the elevation profile, you can follow the route on the map. Interestingly, every time the route traverses a green area, it climbs a pass.

This turned out to be one of the more spectacular courses I've ever ridden. We ascended and descended 7 mountain passes, I saw 7 moose, 1 bald eagle, deer, and lots of other mammals. Living in an area where reptiles are more prevalent, it was a treat to see such diversity of wildlife. Temperatures were nearly always perfect. Most of the days saw highs in the 60 - 70s. The mornings were cool/cold, depending on the day.

I rode most of the route with my good friend Russ Cummings from Prescott. I also rode a lot of it with a few other riders as well. The Rocky Mountain Cycling Club put this event on. The support at the overnight locations was excellent. We had food prepared for dinner and breakfast. We had beds to sleep in at the hotels. All we had to do was ride our bikes. It was wonderful! There were a lot of volunteers who worked very hard to pamper us. They were very much appreciated.

I took a lot of pictures while on the ride. Many were taken while moving, so there are a few blurry ones. I was able to get shots of a couple of the moose, the eagle, and a deer. We saw a baby moose and its mom while descending Gore Pass at 45 mph. I didn't even want to attempt getting this picture! I did get wet a couple times. I was rained on while descending Cameron Pass on the first day, and hit a torrential downpour while descending Rabbit Ears Pass into Steamboat Springs. This last descent was one of the more scary ones I've ever encountered. It was a 7% grade for 7 miles in pouring rain. Yikes! We had a 57 mile climb, and subsequent 57 miles descent. The open spaces on the plains of WY yielded some spectacular photos of rainstorms. Thankfully, I missed all of them. The Snowy Range Pass in WY was more spectacular than I could have imagined.

Here is a link to my photos. It will be worth your time to check them out. This is but a brief look into the beauty and grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. I feel very fortunate that I was able to enjoy this scenery at a leisurely 16 mph! Although, the 50 mph descents were particularly fun. :-)