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  1. #1
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    Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July

    This route is about 70 miles mixed unpaved/paved. The snow should be mostly melted from Rollins Pass at the end of July, permitting a crossing of the Continental Divide from Winter Park to Boulder.

    Starting in Winter Park, there's over two thousand feet of elevation gain, over 14 miles of rough doubletrack, to Rollins Pass at 11,660' elevation. Then a descent of about 14 miles on a trail to Rollinsville. Then via roads through Rollinsville, Nederland, and taking the Magnolia route to Boulder.

    >>> I'm looking to team up with at least one other rider and arrange a pre-dawn car shuttle from Boulder/Denver to Winter Park. The ride ends in Boulder, so it's easy enough to catch a transit bus home to Denver.

    I have two young kids and, train as best as I can, will likely be only partly in shape and plan to ride *not fast*. That said, I'm a skinny uphill pedaler type, self-sufficient bike tourist, a good wrench, and a former ski patroller with first aid and backcountry survival training.

    I'm flexible on scheduling at the end of July or possibly early August, although I'm impatient to wait too long.

    Ummm... interested in coming along?

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a nice challenging ride. I might be interested. Live in Highlands Ranch. Wondering if you have ridden it before. Any on-line info on the trail? I'm not fast either but working up to ge in better shape. Keep me up to date on your plans.
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  3. #3
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    think it's about 50 each way. all downhill after the first 14 miles anyway....no problem

  4. #4
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    Could be tempting.
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  5. #5
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    Sounds like an epic ride. I have ambitions to park at the bottom of the access road near Rollinsville and ride up to the tunnel this summer, which is pretty rough and rocky in sections near the top, then just hard pack dirt the rest of the way. Be prepared to hike your bike up and over the tunnel at the top. I wish they would sleeve and re-open the tunnel, but nobody is going to pay for that. I need to get over to the Winter park side as that is where the train tresses are.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pearl-drum-man View Post
    I wish they would sleeve and re-open the tunnel, but nobody is going to pay for that.
    Actually, the Historic RR society has already volunteered the funds to have a new structural assessment done on Needle's Eye for years, but the BRD continues stonewalling everyone (decades of old-school Boulder politics at it's worst). Technically the 20+ year "emergency closure" is illegal. The act that created the James and Indian Peak wilderness states that either the tunnel or Boulder Wagon Road are supposed to remain open at all times for vehicle access.

    The pass should be good to go before July. We made it 2/3rds of the way up Jenny today already.

  7. #7
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    that sounds like an AWESOME ride! PM me details. I should be able to make it.

    it actually sounds fairly easy w/ most of it being downhill.

  8. #8
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    14 miles up to the pass from Winter Park, 14 miles down towards Rollinsville, then a long winding, paved ride via Nederland to Boulder (via Magnolia). Total should be 70-80 miles.

    I'm targeting Saturday, July 27th. Although I could be tempted to go a week earlier if there's no snow. There are a few links for the Rollins Pass MTB route online - folks generally say that although it's a double track, it's also quite rough and slow going. I have the impression that those in great shape might assume 2-3 hours to reach Rollins Pass. I'm not fast and will be stopping to take photos, so I'm assuming 4-5 hours conservatively to reach the pass. I may even pack a tripod in order to shoot a panorama or two up top. Planning on a lunch stop (and stretch) on the trail or maybe in Rollinsville. And although it may not take that long, I'm planning on dinner in Ned or Boulder. Then hop a metro to get from Boulder to Denver in the dark.

    The hardest part is organizing a dropoff or car shuttle to Winter Park at the crack of dawn. We can try and organize that here if anyone's interested. Otherwise I might just get a dropoff with a colleague who will plan to bag a 14'er on foot that day somewhere nearby.

    For folks who don't mind risking a late start, and cresting the divide during the afternoon thunderstorm window, you can search facebook and find a group that plans to do this ride the first weekend in August. That said, I'm starting early and will surely be in the trees before storms roll in...

  9. #9
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    Yes. Interested.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkyeM View Post
    Yes. Interested.

    rollinsville to ned is only 5 miles. ned to boulder is 18. i'm counting 51 miles. where are you getting the other 30-40 miles?

    no offense, but if it takes you 4-5 hours to do 14 miles of double track, you might want to get in better shape before you attempt this ride. That sounds way high, even with stopping for pictures.

  11. #11
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    yea, not to be elitist or looking down on anyones fitness, i mean good on you for setting a goal and going for it......but that's a standard walking/hiking pace. if you're planning on being on a bike from breakfast until dinner...its in your best interest to ride/train enough prior to be able to ride faster than 3mph on a dirt road with a 2-3% incline, or your ass skin is gonna be in pretty bad shape by about noon.

    top to rollinsville is 20 miles, btw...longer than the other side. and if you don't have a fully....it's really fatiguing on your whole body. not that it's that rough or hard to ride. just a typical dirt road with lots of washboard and embedded stones. it just feels like it takes forever unless you're pedaling like crazy trying to maintain 20mph, which sounds easy on a downhill....but railroad grade isn't that downhill. there's other ways down through jenny creek/eldora that are a) shorter in mileage, and time and b) way the hell more fun mountain biking

    but yea....
    16 miles winter park to top
    20 miles top to rollinsville
    21 miles rollinsville to boulder via magnolia
    57 total. maybe 60 if you go all the way to ned and then back to magnolia rd.

    i've done it from nederland and back via the road almost the whole way, and it was 84
    also did it from boulder and back via shortcuts (jenny creek, west mag, magnolia, flagstaff) and it was a hair over 100

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jamesm925 View Post
    rollinsville to ned is only 5 miles. ned to boulder is 18. i'm counting 51 miles. where are you getting the other 30-40 miles?

    no offense, but if it takes you 4-5 hours to do 14 miles of double track, you might want to get in better shape before you attempt this ride. That sounds way high, even with stopping for pictures.
    Maybe he just wants to enjoy the view. Is that OK with you?

  13. #13
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    We were there yesterday. We rode from Eastside through Rollinsville. Made it pretty far. We could go over the snow. It ended right after the turn. But we thought it wasnt worth. Maybe later this year.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July-screen-shot-2013-06-10-4.55.55-pm.jpg  

    Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July-img_0194.jpg  

    Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July-img_0193.jpg  

    Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July-img_0191.jpg  


  14. #14
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    melting really fast with days like today.

    was up on indian peaks this past weekend, and the one before. the one before we were hiking through 3' deep snow drifts not far from the caribou parking lot. and walking on 5' thick drifts all the way to treeline. this past weekend the drifts down low that weren't in serious shade all day were completely gone, and the drifts up high were way more scarce and shallow.

  15. #15
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    Thanks all for the input. Very much appreciated, especially the TRs

    For those who expressed interest, here or on PM, I will be in direct contact after the July 4th holiday week to firm up plans.

    Regarding my fitness level - I'm comfortable with where I'll be in July. Perhaps since I'm new to the area, I may have overestimated mileage to be conservative. One of the only internet blogs I found about this ride was posted by a guy who may have been retirement age, with his 12 year old nephew or something, where he said to allow bundles more time due to the rough road. So maybe overly conservative time estimate on my part. That said, when I did the road ride from Idaho Springs to Mt. Evans last year, the other roadies said the climb would be less than 3 hours and I was over 5. But of course those final few miles near 14k feet elevation were slower than the rest.

    Although I may turn out to be almost as speedy as you think I should be, I tend to plan more conservatively. Not to mention that, as a trip leader, I'm likely to pack a pannier or two with extra supplies (i.e. weight) such as a backcountry first aid pack, tools, etc, for the benefit of the group. This will not be a trip where the leader goes 'lite' and is unable to assist others.

    Again thanks very much for everyone's input. For longtime locals this may all seem routine. Especially if you're not a parent, train heavily, and ride every ride by the stopwatch. But hey, I will be a little slower and it is the backcountry and so the extra discussion is warranted.

  16. #16
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    I'm interested as well. This would go pretty far beyond the limits (distance wise) of anything I've ever ridden, so the slow pace is appealing to me. NoHo...you speak the truth as far as how being a parent gets in the way of riding as much as I wish I could. Hopefully the payoff down the road is that those kids end up being drawn to the sport and we all have some great riding partners

  17. #17
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    The four members who expressed interest have been PM'd details. I'm hoping to do this ride on 7/27, otherwise if there are scheduling SNAFUs then I might consider 8/17 as a backup plan.

    Should be about 50 miles including the dirt ascent to the pass, a mostly dirt route descending from the Pass via Eldora, stopping in Ned for snack/refreshment, and following dirt roads on/near Magnolia to Boulder.

    I can hold 6-7 MPH on 90 minute uphill road climbs on the Front Range, so I expect a two hour ascent from Winter Park to Rollins Pass. More details in the PM...

  18. #18
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    Sounds like a great ride. Did it ever take place? Any ride reports or photos to share?

  19. #19
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    Re: Rollins Pass (trans-divide), end of July

    Quote Originally Posted by shinbone View Post
    Sounds like a great ride. Did it ever take place? Any ride reports or photos to share?
    You'll have to wait 25 more days for that beta

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by HomegrownMN View Post
    You'll have to wait 25 more days for that beta

    That's cool. Looked like this was a ride planned for last year . . .

  21. #21
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    Apologies for the late reply. My car shuttle fell through last summer, so I was unable to do the Rollins Pass ride. That said, the route looks great and I encourage anyone who's adequately prepared to give it a whirl. I looked for the Facebook group this spring - they're the ones who have organized an Amtrak based event the previous two years - but they no longer appear on FB.

    Beginning after 10 am, when the train stops in WP/Frazier, seems late to me. It puts riders closer to the thunderstorm window. I think the best bet is to get perhaps a group of four and rent one of those van shuttles and split the (admittedly steep) cost. Then you can determine your own schedule, perhaps start not long after sunrise, and have a long leisurely day to enjoy.

    If anyone's up for organizing a van shuttle this summer, perhaps from Lakewood to Winter Park, I'm glad to join along. I'm not quite in shape for it today, but could be with a couple/few week's notice...

  22. #22
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    I could probably be talked into this. For some reason I'm really interested in sufferfest rides this year. A recent 5-5.5 hour ride in Sourdough/St Vrain just upped my appetite for stupid crap like this. lol
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