The Distance: 34 miles roundtrip road bike ride out of Steamboat Springs, CO (with some breathtaking views and climbs!)
The Roads: Begin at the Chuck Lewis parking area on Routt County Road 14 (aka River Road). Take County Road 14 north into the Town of Steamboat Springs. From downtown Steamboat, turn left on 13th Street and then continue on County Road 33 (aka Twentymile Road). After four significant climbs you’ll get to the intersection of County Road 27. All roads are paved.
The Experience: I got a bit of a late start this morning – had to wait for the little one to go down for her first nap at 9:00am. Immediately after leaving the parking lot I was struck by the prominence of a historic white barn on River Road. CR 14 snakes its way north into Steamboat in relatively flat fashion. There were numerous people floating and casting in the Yampa River below.
I made short order of the Brooklyn neighborhood as I entered town, and then blew by Howelsen Hill, the Steamboat Rodeo Grounds, and finally the baseball fields. My slightly circuitous route through town eventually led me across the River and to 13th Street. I hung a left, and this is where my adventure really began. I was immediately greeted by hot springs on my left before I continued down my path.
CR 33 was a bucolic blessing. A fox pounced across the road, red-tailed hawks circled above, and bovines and stallions dominated the hayfields. The Sleeping Giant – located northwest of Steamboat – held a commanding influence over the horizon during about 30 minutes of the ride along CR 33.
As I pounded the pedals, I thought back to how I got into this sport. Road biking wasn’t even on my radar until about 2005/2006. Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France heroics captured my imagination and interest. I wanted to meet him…this amazing American who dominated the sport of men’s cycling. But his quick fall from grace left a bad taste in most of the country’s mouth. How could someone not only deliberately cheat, but uncaringly try bring down innocent people in the process?
Thankfully, I quickly chased the thought of good ol’ Lance from my mind as I approached the first of my climbs. It was time to work on my meditative breath, which has always helped carry me up the mountain.
My 14-speed De Rosa – ahhh, such a fine Italian steel steed – put my legs to the test during each climb. But spinning through Routt County backroads didn’t disappoint. I was out for a couple of hours, enjoyed unrivaled scenery, and had a near wilderness experience. Tune your road bike up and spin away the next time you’re in Steamboat Springs.