Spanish Peaks Bike Tour in 2015

Mary and I rode the Spanish Peaks and Great Sand Dunes bike tour in Colorado with Lizard Head over six days in June 2015. There were seven guests and two guides, John and Leslie. Three guests besides Mary were engineers! One other guest was doing bioinformatics like me, and Leslie did graduate work in phylogenetics before she decided to become a guide. This was our kind of tour!

Here is our itinerary.

On Day 1 (Sunday, June 21): We shuttle from Colorado Springs to Beckwith Reservoir and then bike to Westcliffe. We cover 51 miles (with 5,800 ft of climbing) and go over four 9,000-ft passes!

On Day 2 (Monday, June 22): We bike 61 miles (1,800 ft), mostly downhill, from Westcliffe to Walsenburg.

On Day 3 (Tuesday, June 23): We do a short shuttle to Segundo and then bike 112 miles (7,300 ft) to Great Sand Dunes National Park. We go over two high passes: Cuchara (9,995 ft) and La Veta (9,413). We pass riders going the other way in the Race Across America. This is the Queen Stage of the tour, i.e., the longest ride, and we are really tired at the end.

On Day 4 (Wednesday, June 24): We hike in the park for awhile and then bike 59 miles (500 ft) against a strong headwind to Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa. We spend the night there in a yurt.

On Day 5 (Thursday, June 25): We shuttle to the Royal Gorge and then bike 55 miles (7,500 ft) to Victor. We encounter showers and a rainbow above Cripple Creek before going over Victor Pass (10,201 ft).

On Day 6 (Friday, June 26): We shuttle to the base of Pikes Peak where we begin the big climb to the top at 14,110 ft. I do the whole climb (!) but Mary shuttles the last few miles because she is not feeling well. We have an exciting descent to finish the ride and the tour. I bike 39 miles (6,900 ft) for the day, and Mary does 32 miles (4,000 ft).

Photos and commentary follow.