Boulder Ultra Cross


The 2014 BUCX is OFF. Massive flooding in and around Boulder has led half of the course to be literally destroyed. The event may return, but for now there’s no possible way the event can be held. This page remains up for reference.

Ultra cross is not like every day CX. It’s old school! What follows is NOT a race and it is NOT an event. It’s merely my suggestion of what would be a great ultra cross route in Boulder, and the date and time below seems like a good time to do this. If you do choose to do this at that time you’re doing so on your own volition.

For those of you not in the know, cyclocross didn’t always have man made barriers and run ups. It used to traverse much rougher ground where streams, logs, ditches and grades too steep to ride were just part of the course. Ultracross (UCX) takes these origins and the longer distance format of the UK’s classic Three Peaks race. Most UCX events are 30-60 miles, but here in the US all of the American Ultracross events are East of the Mississippi. That makes me sad.

Distance: 52.5 miles
Surface: ~1/3 paved, ~1/3 gravel, ~1/3 more interesting
GPS map: Map My Ride version, Garmin Connect
Cost: This isn’t a race or an event so it only costs you what ever a normal 50 mile ride costs you – nothing
Support: See cost

Location: A good place to start is the Mosaic Cycles shop at 1001 Lee Hill Rd just West of Broadway.

Date/Time: A Sunday such as October 14, 2012 at 9 am would be good. I’ll say a few words at 8:45.

After Party/Awards: Much love to Aaron of Mosaic Cycles for opening his shop. If you grabbed a bell we’ll pass out schwag at the shop. This will happen at 2:00. Some of you will be done early so you might want to bring a weather appropriate change of clothes and your favorite mug. There will be post ride beverages.

The Course: The course linked above contains some of the most fun and most challenging segments in the foothills outside Boulder. I can tell you what’s guaranteed:

  • Pavement, gravel, jeep roads and singletrack
  • Fast paved downhills
  • Rideable grades up to 18%
  • 2 run-ups you won’t be able to ride
  • 2 set of stairs
  • An obstacle you won’t be able to bunny hop unless you’re Danny MacAskill

No guarantees but you might see some of the following:

  • A creek crossing
  • snow, rain, sun, mud, sand, blood, beer
  • A princess doing bacon handups
  • Pros and national champs who are faster than you

You will NOT see any of the following (because it’s not a race – get it?)

  • A pit area
  • Chip timing
  • Course markings
  • Tons of adoring fans
  • Sheep (probably)

Here’s what the elevation profile looks like. 


This takes place on open roads and trails. You MUST follow all traffic laws and rules of courtesy if you encounter other road/trail users. Nothing is worth giving cyclists a bad name. I promise there are sections where you are unlikely to see anyone else and plenty of backroads.

WARNING: You can crash just about anywhere but there is one place you’ll especially need to take care. There is a semi-cliff at one point in the course. In good conditions it’s rideable if you’re skilled and careful (more so on a MTB) but a fall here could seriously ruin your day. I’ll note it on the map when it comes out and if you appear on the morning of Oct 14 I’ll remind you. Consider yourself forewarned. It looks like this:

Preparation: To prepare yourself you may choose to read the article Advice for Friends of Cyclocross  by Eugène Christophe from the 20 Jan 1921 issue of Le Miroir Des Sports. Christophe won the prestigeous French cyclocross championship six times 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1914. Note: Christophe rode a fixie (bad ass that he was) – you don’t have to.


46 responses to “Boulder Ultra Cross

    • Yes – you can do it on a MTB, and you won’t be alone. It’s not going to be the fastest ride, but it will be faster on some segments (two I can think of).

  1. Stoked on this but I’ll be in NM for IMBA World Summit! D’oh! sorta…
    Do another one later in the winter. Also, keep an ear to the ground for the Winter Ralleye series in northern Colorado. Kinda similar rides, 80-140 miles, part paved, gravel, singletrack, snow, etc, plus liquor…

    • Sorry bout the overlap – it’s hard to avoid with all the stuff in the area. Send me a link if can for the Winter Ralleye stuff. I’d probably be game to join somethin. 🙂

  2. I’m in. I’ll do it Christophe-style (FIXED) if you dare me hard enough. It’s just a flip of the ol’ wheel! Make the course harder so I have some sort of chance of not being DNF.

    • Somehow I suspect it wouldn’t take much of a dare for you to go fixed here 😉 and if you wanted a bit harder you should have come out for R2G2. Perfect weather but we still had 75% DNF!

      • Oh, I would have, if only I had known. The 50 miler was something I learned from CX teammates last week! I had a hard time finding it via Google. Woodland Park would have been a hard little commute to get to via bike, though. No matter, we’re going to try a Denver -> Summit of Pikes Peak -> Guanella Pass -> Summit of Mt. Evans -> Denver ride this week. Any leads to local snowbike races this year? Gentlemen-style is just fine with me.

      • Sorry man. I’m interested int he fat tire game, but I’ve got no ride and I’m a bit out of touch with the local events. You may get in touch with Ben who runs – he’ll know more about the local events (local being still up in the mtns).

  3. Are you at all going to release a cue sheet/narrative for this? I don’t have a GPS unit and I fear the phone will die before I can finish up this ride. Or, if I attempt to make one, mind if I share it (and perhaps gets some corrections, if needed from it?)

  4. Ah, map my ride gives you a narrative. A few holes, but that should work. I’m guessing the offroad parts aren’t too easy to get lost and fall off a cliff.

    • Glad you found the narrative Justin. Sorry I can’t make a cue sheet, I’m out of time on this and still have to find a beer sponsor!
      FWIW – There are a few cliffs, but I’m hopeful that nobody does a flying endo off them!

  5. Just in case anyone reads this here is some more news…
    The good news: Mountain Khakis kicked in on the schwag side – SCORE!
    The slightly less good: Beer sponsor fell through 😦
    The I dunno what to call it: I’m gettin a keg for the finish anyway. 😀
    (Duckats in the trick-or-treat bucket appreciated.)

  6. Pre-rode the course today, as I don’t have a Garmin or anything, and I have a penchant of getting lost. Really fun time, and wonderful weather. Should be a sweet time on Sunday.

    There was some road work being done right before the turn onto 4th. Who knows if they’ll be working on Sunday, but FYI…

    • Thanks for the heads up Justin! I’ll be riding the course and stashing bells tomorrow so I’ll see what we got and ask about work there Sunday.

  7. Pingback: UCX « vélo morphē·

    • Thanks! I haven’t heard of this but the video looks interesting. The race website doesn’t seem to want to translate to English. Do you know if there is any other info out there on this?


  9. Pingback: New year, refocused | The Endurance Experience·

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