R2G2 – aka The Rampart Rumble Gravel Grovel
Hosted by Shane DeMars!
Please make sure to read all rules for this. This is fully unsupported and you will need to be self-sufficient in order to complete this. The rules are located HERE.
No more than 74 people allowed for this event!
This is intended to be NON-COMMERCIAL, Recreational-Use Activities that are held on parts of USFS lands in compliance with USFS Special Use Rules and Regulations.
When: Saturday, September 22, 2012 – 6:00AM ride starts at 6:30.
What: Late Season, High Elevation Gravel Grinder, Self Supported, Ultra-Endurance, Hella-Epic.
Route: ~170-miles, or 140 mile option. Final route to be posted this summer
Start:We’ll meet in Woodland Park at Gold Hill Java .
Finish: Bier Werks – Whenever you arrive back in town
After party: About 2oz of beer will probably do me in, but I’ll do what I can to stick around and welcome everyone back. Bier Werks is the default but they don’t have much for food so I’ll be looking for options.
Course Description: This is a big loop that packs a big punch.
- It doesn’t get much over 9000ft but it’s got over 12k feet of elevation gain
- It’s the longest COES gravel grinder at around 170 miles.
- It’s the latest in the season, which means only 12 hours of daylight (i.e. you get some bonus spooky night time riding)
- This route heads into some remote territory far from the madding crowd, but also pretty far from help or services at times.
- This is fully self-supported, but we will pass through at least two and probably three different places where you can resupply: Buffalo Creek (60mi), and Lake George (112mi) are the guaranteed two.
- If it gets to be too much there are several places where you can bail and make the route shorter.
- Leg 1: Woodland Park to Buffalo Creek via Rampart Range Road (RRR). 60 miles. This is solid. It would take something pretty extreme to ruin this leg. Here’s the route: http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=349938 and the Garmin Connect version http://connect.garmin.com/course/1736347
- Neutral rollout: We’ll roll together for the first few miles, just to point out the finish and get everyone on Rampart Range Road. We’ll split and have the “race” start before the angle pitches up.
- Side Roads: RRR (also called Forest Service Road 300) has many side roads. These usually look like side roads and not the main path. However there are two T intersections where the turn isn’t as obvious. Use a GPS and a good cue sheet. Also if there is a non obvious sign you’re usually heading left and it’s usually the direction that gives the distance to Denver.
- Gate: There is a gate around the 20 mile mark. Two actually, the one you want goes straight and should be open. The other veers left is is likely to be closed.
- Motos: The northern half of Rampart sees a lot of moto bike and ATV action in the summer. Fortunately they don’t usually get up early and we do. You’ll likely miss them entirely, but even if you don’t their trails are OFF the main road.
- Sprucewood: This is a tavern you’ll see when you hit the Pine Creek Road intersection. They should be open 11am-8pm just in case something goes really wrong.
- Pine Creek Road: Ignore the private property sign near the beginning. It’s only an issue if you leave the road. This gets pretty steep (15% grade) for one 1/2 mile section. Be warned.
- Final miles into BC: At the end of Pine Creek Rd, take a right on Platte River Rd (Co Rd 97). This follows the Platte River into Buffalo Creek. Near Foxton the road name changes to Co Rd 96 for the last couple miles.
- Buffalo Creek Store: There IS a store in Buff creek. It’s a big square stone block of a building that has an old analog gas pump and doubles as the Post Office. The store hours are 8am-6pm. You’re not gonna be there before 8, but if you’re even close to closing you really need to find a bail plan.
- Bail Options: If you bail here somewhere you have several options. Turn around. Take 67 South to Woodland park. If you get all the way to Buff Ck then take paved Co Rd 126 to Deckers and connect with 67 there. From Deckers 67 is a pretty major road into Woodland Park. You might even convince a taxi to get you in Deckers.
- Other: I had good coverage with Verizon all along RRR, but almost none in the Platte River.
- Images: take a look at this post.
- Leg 2: Buffalo Creek to Lake George. ~49 miles. Good to go. This is a truly amazing section of the course. You’ll head out on a brief car free doubletrack, head up to Wellington Lake, roll through alpine forests and take in amazing views as you pass through the scene of the Hayman fire of 2002 which burned 138,114 acres. The full write up of the scouting trip is here. Garmin file here: http://connect.garmin.com/course/1736162
- Leaving from the Buffalo Creek Store briefly head South on Deckers Rd. for about 1/2 mile and turn Right on Buffalo Creek Road.
- Buffalo Creek Road: This road is closed to cars after the first few yards. This road serves as a popular way to access the many great singletrack trails around Buff Creek. Stay on the road till it ends in a T intersection with FR550 (~5.5 miles). The road gets a little sandy in spots but nothing too extreme.
- FR 550: Turn right on FR 550 for about 1/3 mile then veer/turn left on FR 543 heading to Wellington Lake.
- FR 543: This road surface gets a little rough as it heads uphill to Wellington lake. The climb pitches up and doesn’t really stop till you’re almost at the lake.
- Wellington Lake: The views are nice but there’s not likely to be much for service here. The lake is a privately owned fee area and their season ends just after this event.
- Stony Pass Road (FR 560): When you hit the lake you’ll turn left on this aptly named road. The surface varies and gets a bit rocky at times. It’s nothing too extreme though – the Subaru did just fine here. Follow Stony Pass Rd for about 11 miles through forests and enter the Hayman burn area till you encounter the intersection with Goose Creek Rd (211). You’ll double back at this sharp turn so make sure you don’t miss it or you’ll end up in Deckers.
- Goose Creek Road: It’s wonderful and ironic that Google lists this as State Highway 211 – if only all highways were this scenic and remote. continue through the Hayman burn and enjoy the scenes and multiple climbs till you encounter Tarryall Rd (~21 miles).
- Tarryall Road: Take a left on this paved road and enjoy a brief respite (~7 miles) from the bumps.
- HW 24: When you come to highway 24 take care. There are many more and much faster cars here and the shoulder isn’t great. You’re turning left and only going about a mile to Lake George where this second leg of R2G2 ends at Starky’s General Store.
- Starky’s General Store: The store closes at 7:30 in late September, so keep this in mind when you’re riding. This gives you 13 hours to go about 110 miles. So if we leave on time and only average 8.5 mph then you’ll arrive right about the time they lock up. Personally I’d recommend going a little faster so you can get all your resupply needs taken care of before they close. If you do arrive late there are other establishments in town. However, if you’re there past 7:30 it’s either dark or close to it and you should seriously consider how you’ll finish as leg 3 is where you’ll have shorter and longer options.
- Bail Options: If you need to bail the best place to do that is the intersection of Stony Pass and Goose Creek Roads. Taking Goose Creek to the North and East will fairly quickly take you to Deckers Road. There’s no town of Deckers per se but there is a large store/bar/restaurant/ice cream shop. Even at Deckers though you’re still pretty far from Woodland Park.
- Leg 3: Lake George to Woodland Park. This leg has two options – one short and the other long. The short and long route join at Cedar Mtn Road. For better or worse it has a bit more pavement than I’d like, but I’ve got plans to change that for V2 next year. 🙂
- Short Route: (27.45 miles) http://connect.garmin.com/course/2122372
- Lake George to Cedar Mtn Road: From Starky’s head East on US 24 to Trail Creek Rd (Co Rd 94) and turn left. After about 4 miles turn right on Beaver Creek Drive. You’ll see a sign indicating the road is closed ahead on Trail Creek Rd. Have ‘fun” on Beaver Creek Road for 1.5 miles to the T intersection with Indian Creek Rd. Turn left and you’ll merge back onto Trail Creek road after 1/2 mile. After another 1/2 mile you’ll come to a T at Co Rd 3. Turn Left (uphill) on Co Rd 3 to the intersection of Cedar Mtn Road. From here follow the directions in the long route below that begin Cedar Mtn Rd to Divide.
- Short Route: (27.45 miles) http://connect.garmin.com/course/2122372
- Long Route: (54.09 miles) http://connect.garmin.com/course/2121770
- The full description with lots of pictures of this leg can be found in this trip report.
- Lake George to Elevenmile: From Starky’s take an immediate right onto Co Rd 96. Follow this about 1 mile and veer right into Eleven Mile Canyon. This is a fee area, but I have confirmed that there is NO CHARGE for riding a bike. Follow the South Platte River through the canyon and enjoy the short tunnel. Turn left on the well signed Wagon Tongue Gulch Rd.
- Wagon Tongue Gulch Rd to Co Rd 100: Wagon Tongue Gulch Road is a fantastic road the feels rather remote. It’s pretty simple to follow to it’s terminus with Co Rd 98, but make sure you don’t veer off course onto one of its many arterial roads. These are usually well signed but if you do go wrong you’ll probably hit a dead end pretty quick. (see trip report for more details) At the intersection of Co Rd 98 you’ll take a very brief jog right. Look for the entrance to Road 881. If you’re using a garmin it may be listed as Hunter Rd. In either case it’s a short double track that takes you to Co Rd 100 in about .75 miles.
- Co Rd 100 to Florissant: Turn Left on Co Rd 100 and travel the groomed gravel for just under 5 miles to the junction with Co Rd 403 (Saddle Lane). You’ll veer left and uphill here. After about 4.5 miles the road stays the same but connects with an is renames Co Rd 98. After another 3.5 miles or so you’ll merge with Teller Co Rd 46 for 2.5 miles till you hit US 24. A short downhill to the right takes you into Florissant. If you need to fill up or resupply you can do that here. However you’re only 28 miles from Lake George at this point.
- Florissant to Cedar Mtn Rd: Take a left turn (North) at the main (only?) intersection in Florissant. This puts you on Teller Co Rd 31. After less than a mile torn right onto Wildhorn Rd (Co Rd 3) and settle in for a long climb. Co Rd 3 is only paved in the beginning. After ~6.5 miles you’ll come to the intersection of Cedar Mtn Road. This is a pretty major four way intersection that’s hard to miss.
- Cedar Mtn Road to Divide: Stay on Cedar Mtn Rd for about 10 miles to the town of Divide and US 24 again. Note – a few miles down Cedar Mtn Rd you’ll pick up pavement that takes you all the way to divide. There are multiple services in Divide if you need something.
- Divide to BierWerks!: From Divide take US 24 East about 1.5 miles to Co Rd 25. US 24 has a bike lane and wide shoulder for this portion so you should be fine here. Left turn on Co Rd 25 (gravel) and take that 2.5 miles till it turns and becomes Trout Creek Rd (for some reason it’s still called Co Rd 25). Follow this back to the US 24 intersection. About 10 feet before you hit US 24, turn left onto Frontage road. It’s one way for cars but open to bikes. This allows you to avoid travel on 24 for the last miles. Take Frontage Rd to it’s terminus at Lafayette, turn right to US 24. Left turn onto US 24 for a brief 1/2 mile and meet at BierWerks. They’re open till 10pm so hopefully we’ll see you there before close!
A NOTE on equipment:
- Lights: Unless you’re Eddy Merckx you’re gonna need lights to finish this thing. I strongly advise bringing either extra batteries or long lasting batteries. You will be seeing traffic at some point so BRING A REAR LIGHT.
- The Ride: Road bike, not really. Mountain bike? Sure. CX bike? Probably. It’ll be a classic toss-up between comfort and weight. I’ll be riding a CX-ish bike with 35-40c tires.
- Weather: It’s going to vary.
- GPS: Strongly advised. The final route will be posted before the event so you can make up cue cards.
- Phones: Reception will be spotty at best. There will be places where I know you’ll have coverage, and places I’m sure you won’t. Bring it, but if you have an epic fail in one of the remote segments, plan to walk a bit.