Our Must Do Rides series features some of the best routes around the world. This ride was photographed and written by Natalie Starr.
When you start a ride in Denver, the logical way to go is out west towards the mountains. Our group met at Black Eye Coffee in the Highlands, with espressos and sweet treats before our adventure. Cruising through the neighborhood streets for the first 11 miles allows you to appreciate the calm vibe that Denver gives off. As soon as you pass the Coors Brewery, a massive industrial complex that takes up entire blocks, you know you’re hitting Golden.
We got our second snack of the day at Windy Saddle Café, a local favorite. Then we headed up the iconic Lookout Mountain Climb. The classic Strava Segment measures 5.5 miles and has 1,558 feet of elevation gain. The fastest riders in the Colorado Classic went up it in under 20 minutes, but most of us took a lot longer than that. Near the summit, we stopped at Buffalo Bill’s Grave at the general store for a refill on water and another tasty snack. But this isn’t quite the highest point of the climb – be sure to keep going up to Boettcher’s Mansion to reach the true summit of Lookout Mountain!
The descent down the mountain is a ripper and as you cross the bridge above I-70, you’ll turn onto Grapevine Road. This road will test your road bike as it is loose gravel and pavement mixed. Once down in Idledale, head east towards Morrison. We stopped in town for some more sweet treats and then headed back west to get a gorgeous little climb through Red Rocks.
Our final climb of the day was a simple jaunt up and over Dinosaur Ridge, where you can see dinosaur tracks and fossils and a killer view of Denver. To end the ride, head back into Denver and stop at one of the amazing breweries in town. We ended up at Prost for some refreshing brews and a big fat pretzel.