Colorado Triple Crown: What's New for 2017?
1. 2017 Colorado Triple Crown: Back to Basics...with a couple of new twists! In 2017, the Colorado Triple Crown is returning to its roots and will include the three original events of the series: Denver-to-Aspen, the Colorado Death Ride, and the Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop. Due to concerns about excessive traffic along US-285, Denver-to-Aspen will once again use the new route with lighter traffic along the I-70 corridor, starting in Denver and climbing up Lookout Mountain and Mount Vernon Canyon.To continue to mix things up and keep things "fresh" for our participants, we are taking a one-year hiatus from the Colorado High Country Double Century (i.e., Boulder to Steamboat Springs), Cycle to Saturn Double Century, and the Cripple Creek Crippler. And we are taking a two year hiatus from the Colorado Classic Double Century while the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) begins a massive paving project on the west side of Cottonwood Pass. So please don't fret! These events will likely be back on the Triple Crown calendar in the near future.So what are these new twists???
Scenes from the surprisingly scenic AntiEpic Gravel Grinder course (Photo: Mark Lowe)
First, after much contemplation, I have decided to include the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder on the 2017 Colorado Triple Crown calendar. As the name implies, the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder is not "epic" Colorado road cycling. First, the AntiEpic course does not include the classichigh altitude climbs or scenic mountain vistas that Colorado is best known for. However, to imply that this course is flat and boring really does not do it justice. The AntiEpic course has well over 10,000 feet of climbing...nearly all of it coming in the form of steep rollers! And the AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, with its wide-open prairie landscapes and pastoral beauty, really captures the essence of riding in eastern Colorado. Second, to break tradition from the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown, >90% of this course is ridden on hard-packed dirt and gravel roads. This is a marked departure from the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown (with the exception of 43 miles of the Colorado Classic Double Century and 7 miles of Cycle to Saturn) which generally traverse beautiful paved roads. So...200 miles of slow-moving gravel roads + 10,000+ feet of steep rollers equals a REALLY HARD double century.....definitely worthy of the Colorado Triple Crown series! For 2017, this AntiEpic course will be appropriately lengthened by 35+ miles to reach the 200 mile barrier, consistent with the other double centuries in the series. It will be an excellent "warm up" for the other events in the Colorado Triple Crown series, as well as for Dirty Kanza (6/3/2017), considered by many to be the "grand daddy" of gravel grinders in the U.S.! More to come soon!
The Grand Mesa is one of Colorado's most challenging climbs (and spectacular descents)! (Photo: Mark Lowe)
Second, in 2017, the RMCC will venture to western Colorado to tackle a challenging, new course never before attempted by the RMCC: the Colorado Mesa Double Century! Starting (and ending) in Fruita, CO, the Colorado Mesa Double Century tackles some of Colorado Western Slope's finest climbs, including the behemoth, Grand Mesa. The course also explores the lesser known Reeder Mesa to the southeast of Grand Junction, and the Colorado National Monument, arguably the crown jewel of the Western Slope! More to come on this challenging new Colorado Triple Crown event soon.
So, to sum things up, here's the 2017 Colorado Triple Crown calendar:
May 6, 2017: AntiEpic Gravel Grinder, Monument, CO
May 27, 2017: Colorado Mesa Double Century, Fruita, CO
June 17, 2017: Colorado Death Ride, Durango, CO
July 8, 2017: Tim Kalisch Memorial Grand Loop, Golden, CO
July 29, 2017: Denver-to-Aspen, Denver, CO
We will continue to use our current pre-qualification guidelines, which give more riders from outside the RMCC access to the series.
Fees. Registration fees will be similar for 2017 (Early-bird special: approx $50/event. Week-of-event registration: approx $70/event).
Please e-mail me if you have questions about pre-qualification!
The picturesque Mt Sneffles Range from the Dallas Divide (Photo: Mark Lowe)