Cyclists around the world over look forward to Colorado’s bike-racing season. The physical challenge of our lofty altitude (ideal for bragging rights) combines with amazing alpine views for a cycler’s dream destination.
With the success of the new Colorado Classic (which became an elite women's race in 2019 — the only standalone women's race in USA Cycling's Pro Road Tour), these races promise to be more popular than ever. Many of Colorado’s road- and mountain-bike races cater to serious competitors, but they also have shorter and less intense routes for more casual pedalers — and you’ll get fresh mountain air and a loud cheer at the finish line no matter the length of the ride. Here are bike races to plan for:
Elephant Rock Cycling Festival: TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: Douglas County Fairgrounds, Castle Rock
Riders of all ages turn out for one of the first races of the season, which features road and dirt courses that run from seven to 100 miles. The real fun is the after party, with a picnic lunch, cycling expo, music and prizes. Hard-core racers are invited to camp out at the fairgrounds the night before.
Midnight Starlight Spectacular Bicycle Ride: TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs
Costumed riders, tasty snacks, blinking bike lights and other late-night events make this 24-year tradition an exercise in pure fun. With 14- to 22-mile routes through downtown and neighboring Colorado City, which include plenty of pit stops, this race is less about gutting out a first-place finish and more about having a good time.
Denver Century Ride: June 19, 2021
Start and Finish: Shops at Northfield Stapleton, Denver
This fest includes rides from 5 to 100 miles on courses that run throughout the metro area’s city streets, mountain trails (including options to climb up Lookout Mountain or Waterton Canyon) and greenways. There are also clinics, a kids’ bicycle parade and the chance to demo dream bikes from leading manufacturers.
Mount Evans Hill Climb: July TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: Idaho Springs and Mount Evans summit
This popular but demanding race up the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, which climbs more than 7,000 feet in elevation in just 28 miles, has been popular with adventurous gear heads for more than 50 years. Riders get an only-in-Colorado view of the Continental Divide from the top of 14,264-foot Mount Evans, Colorado’s 14th tallest peak.
Tour de Steamboat: July–Aug. TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: Downtown Steamboat Springs
This non-competitive ride includes 110- and 40-mile routes through the Yampa River Valley, culminating with a barbecue dinner and live music in Steamboat’s Little Toots Park. The scenic ride benefits local charities, including PARTNERS Mentoring Youth in Routt County and Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide.
Courage Classic: July 17–18, 2021
Start and Finish: Copper Mountain, (via Leadville, Vail Pass, Keystone and Ute Pass)
Benefiting Children’s Hospital, this two-day, 157-mile tour climbs from Leadville to Summit County and back over quiet, backcountry roads and challenging mountain passes, all with gorgeous Rocky Mountain views. There is also an optional 25-mile family ride.
Copper Triangle: Aug. TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: Copper Mountain Resort
This alpine road sportive is graced with breathtaking scenery, gorgeous roads and three climbs over 10,000 feet, each with a timed segment. The 79-mile loop covers three passes for a total elevation gain of 6,500 feet.
Stonewall Century, Aug. TBA, 2021
Start and Finish: La Veta
Covering 102 miles, 7,500 feet in elevation and following some of Colorado's prettiest scenic highways, the Stonewall Century is all about the joy of riding. End your ride with a party and barbecue.
Colorado Classic, Aug. TBA, 2021
Stage hosts: Snowmass Village, Avon, Boulder, Denver
The 2020 Colorado Classic is the only women’s stand-alone stage road-bike race in the Western Hemisphere on the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) calendar and USA Cycling’s Pro Road Tour. The race raises the bar for pro women’s cycling around the world.