Last week, Margaret Stapleton lamented the throngs of cyclists that invade her peaceful mountain suburb or Evergreen, Colorado on weekends and for competitions. I confess. I am one of those who loves loading up the car with bikes and heading to the mountain towns. Everything looks better on two wheels, doesn’t it? As you know, everyone needs a hobby and this Denver Realtor has joined so many Colorado residents and transplants in taking up cycling. We have already biked though many south Denver suburbs. Now its time to join those headed “up the hill” to our playgrounds in the mountains.
One of my favorites is heading out I-70 to the second Frisco exit about an hour west of Denver. Immediately adjacent to the exit on the east side of I-70 is the parking lot for the Summit County – Eagle County Bike Trail. Unload grab a water bottle or two and “Head west young man”.
From there the bike trail meanders along Tenmile Creek for about 7 miles when Copper Mountain Resort appears in front of you in a valley of activity. Many riders call it a day right here, stop for lunch and enjoy everything Copper has to offer.
Or, you can peddle through Copper and toward the west side, you will reestablish your connection with the bicycle trail that continues on to the top of Vail Pass. Vail Pass is a jumping off point for hikers, bikers and fishermen in the summer, and back-country skiers, snowmobilers and those fishermen just don’t quite in winter. A dirt road from the top of Vail Pass, Shrine Pass is about a 12 mile run down to Red Cliff, a rejuvenated mining town that has become somewhat of a bohemian nest for Vail dropouts.
Today, however, we are dropping down the west side of Vail Pass just a couple of miles to the finish line of the USA ProCycling Challenge bicycle time trail race. If you think it might be threatening to climb the east side of Vail Pass, wait till you see riders challenging the west side from Bridge Street in Vail to the finish line in about 25-30 minutes. They are tough!
Now, we will retrace our steps or wheels back to Frisco. That’s where the real fun starts. The nice part, it is only two miles to the top of the pass and then down hill all the way back down to the car in Frisco.
On the way up, one is too tired and breathing too hard to really enjoy the views, but on the way down, everything looks better, the beaver ponds, the creek, the resort and even the distant hum of I-70 in the background. I will warn you, I have seen riders dismount on both sides of the pass near the top. Maybe the air is thin, maybe the legs are shot, but for whatever reason, I never see anyone turn around. Everyone wants to take advantage of the “glide” all the way back to Frisco!
Upon arriving back in Frisco, there are two special treats no one deserves, but many will want. First, a cold German Beer and handmade sausage at Prost, the Elk with Jalapeño sausage with Kraut and Mustard has been my choice more than once.
Finally, what trip would be complete without something sweet before hopping back in the car? Well, I’ve got the solution right down the street from Prost. A free standing cabin like building across the street apply named The Lost Cajun serves up the best Beignets this side of Bourbon Street.
So, by now your calves are sore, your stomach is full and you’re just an hour from home. Funny, I have already put the work of being a Realtor out of my mind. It was a nice vacation.