SWCO Loop – Day 6 Silverton to Durango 49 miles

imageJames RanchThe last time we did this ride – we rode the train with our bikes from Durango to Silverton, had lunch in Silverton and then started back to Durango with no sag support (everyone had ridden the train or was doing the Zip line partway up the train ride). We hadn’t carefully looked at the elevation view and assumed that it was mostly downhill back to Durango. Big mistake. There are two major climbs out of Silverton to Durango. The first one is 2200 feet up and the second is 800 feet up. It was a long ride back.

So this time some of us chose to sag to the top of the first pass and others to the top of the second pass. The BikeOppers went to Durango to shop, and 3 of the riders Rick S, Susan, and Janelle, rode the train back to Durango. We remembered the road down as being very nice the last time we rode it – but it is the same road and has aged. There were a number of rough spots on descent that caused adrenaline rush as we went down the road. Traffic was heavy going the other direction during the early part of the ride and gradually increased as we got closer to Durango. We found a wonderful place to eat lunch recommended by a local biker called James Ranch. He said it would be the best hamburger we had ever tasted – and it was. They had picnic tables scattered across a natural shaded amphitheater that was a wonderful place to enjoy our lunch. We then road to near the center of Durango and when traffic got to heavy – loaded up and drove to the Strator Hotel. We checked in showered and went to the train station at 5:15 to welcome the train riders to Durango. We had our happy hour in the office bar at the Strator and then went to dinner with Linda and Fred at Mutu’s. It was a great way to end our week together. Tomorrow we have breakfast and then go on our way. Some are staying an extra day to see friends and others are heading back home
It was a great week. More pictures to come soon!

SWCO Loop Day 5 – Ouray to Silverton 20 miles

After lots of discussion we chose to not do the ride up the “million dollar highway”. The reasons included traffic, lack of a shoulder, construction on the highway, and thousand foot drop-offs in many sections of the road. The elevation change was significant going from 7700 feet in Ouray to 11,000 feet at the top of Red Mountain Pass. So instead 3 of us (John, Rick H, and me) decided to ride down the other side into Silverton.

So we had a good breakfast at the Ouray Victorian Inn, explored and hiked around Ouray, loaded up at 11:00am and headed for Red Mountain Pass. All of our reasons for not climbing out of Ouray were validated on the drive up. The ride down the other side was actually quite pleasant and we had to pedal in several places. The elevation drop is not nearly as significant since the elevation of Silverton is 9305 feet. We had a great lunch at Grumpy’s Restaurant and Saloon. Wandered around town until we could check in to the Inn of the Rockies: Historic Alma. It is a large bed and breakfast with all rooms unique. We found a nice rooftop bar for afternoon libation, had our happy hour on a shaded deck at the B&B, and had a wonderful dinner at the Handlebars Food and Saloon.

Tomorrow – 3 of our 10 riders have decided to ride the train down from Silverton to Durango. Because of that we are reducing to 1 sag vehicle with trailer. The first climb out of Silverton is 7 miles long and significant. One of our riders may do that. Most are opting to sag to the first pass and ride up to the second high point. Some are going to sag straight to the second peak. The total distance is about 49 miles. The first and second high points are 7 and 14 miles respectively. So the riders will do 42 or 36 miles tomorrow less any driving duties.

Still having problems with pictures may have to wait until I get home.
In the meantime:

Ready to ride down to Silverton





afternoon Delight

SWCO Loop Day 4 – Telluride to Ouray 49 miles

It rained early and the breakfast at the hotel was delayed so we found an excellent Bakery/eating place and delayed our original 8:00am start to 9:00am. Somehow I ended up with Susan’s helmet and didn’t realize it because I was a starting driver this morning. Finally we figured it out but not without some stress on Susan.

The first 3 miles out of Telluride were very flat – but then after a bit the road started going down – and down – and down. We had a very nice downhill stretch to Placerville and when we started going towards RIdgway the road went consistently up for about 24 miles. It was a grind! But then we had a very nice downhill where we could have gone as fast as we wanted. The fastest reported speed was 47.6 MPH.

We stopped in Ridgway for lunch at the True Grit (highly recommended) Linda (of Fred and Linda) (not Carole Linda) joined us in support in her jeep shortly after Placerville – and joined us for lunch and continued to support as sag into Ouray.

Patti and Janet enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and shopping in Telluride and then scouted out the Ouray Motel and a place for dinner. We had another entertaining Happy Hour with 2 photo shoots, and a great dinner at the Ouray Brewery.

Still having trouble loading more than a few pictures – Hoping to fix it soon and will have more pics in Galleries from previous days.




SWCO Loop – Day 3 Rest Day in Telluride

Today is our designated rest day in the middle of our ride. We breakfasted at the Butcher and the Baker (excellent). and then got on the gondola to go to the top of the ski mountain. We explored there a bit and the continued on the gondola to the Mountain Village on the other side of the ski mountain from the town of Telluride. We took another gondola laterally across the mountain and then walked back to the main village area. When it started to rain we ducked into the Tracks Cafe and Bar and some of us sampled their bloody marys. (excellent) After the rain stopped we rode back over the mountain and went to lunch at Smugglers Brew Pub (excellent) and after all doing our own thing in the pm, we had happy hour at the New Sheridan Bar and celebrated Ingrid’s birthday, and had a birthday dinner at the Brown Dog Pizza as per the birthday girl’s wishes. (also excellent)

Tomorrow we head to Ouray – about 49 miles. The first half is all uphill and the last half is mostly downhill. Should be fun!


SWCO Loop Day 2 – Dolores to Telluride

After a quick breakfast at the Pony Expresso Coffee Shop in Dolores (where the small coffee is called a Shetland) we headed towards Telluride on a crisp cool sunny morning. The road was a very gradual uphill with no undulations.

We had decided to change our sag rotation strategy the evening before. We made a rotation list for each car (we have two to hold all 10 riders when doing a complete sag, and a trailer to hold the bikes.) The two Bikeoppers (Social Bikers/Shoppers) have a 3rd car and are only on call for emergencies. Anyway we decided to only drive 5 miles instead of 10 on each sag interval. We felt the shorter interval would work better for the terrain (lots of climbing – and relatively little downhill.

I felt it worked well. We went through a full rotation before lunch (and a little more). We had lunch in Rico and met a biker riding from NYC to San Francisco. The coffee shack near the gas station no longer makes sandwiches but does have breakfast burritos (which many of us had had at the Pony Expresso and were in the mood for something else.
Sag stop 1


We decided to sag to the top of Lizard Head Pass (since it looked like rain and we had heard some lightning. As we drove it started to rain hard or we saw evidence of recent hard rain and hail. At Lizard Head pass it was still raining so we decided to check out the next downhill from a high point (there are several along this route) – but it was raining there too – so we bagged it and drove on into Telluride.

The Bikeoppers joined us briefly at one of our sag stops before lunch. There was no cell coverage along the route except Rico had ATT (but not Verizon). Then they went on into Telluride and had lunch at Smugglers Brew Pub.

We had our Happy Hour in the hotel lobby at 5:00 and dinner at La Cocina De Luz at 6:30. The food was wonderful – highly recommended!

Tomorrow is a rest day – with lots of shopping planned – a small amount of riding and good food to be had by all. Unfortunately rain is predicted – but we shall overcome!
Thursday we head to Ouray for a 50 mile ride.

SWCO Loop – Day 1 pictures

SWCO Loop Day 1 Durango to Dolores

Today dawned bright and early. After a quick breakfast at our Motel in Durango – we headed out only a short while after we had planned. We knew the first 9 miles on Hwy 160 would be mostly uphill. It was a grind! At times there was a lot of traffic and a lot of trucks. After the first climb – there were several nice downhills and we knew there was going to be some road construction that we would have to sag around. So we rode to the start of the construction and did exactly that.
We had a delicious lunch in Mancos at the Absolute Bakery and Cafe. After a slight miscue getting out of town we headed on Hsy 184 for Dolores. We went up up and away – no downhills to my dismay. We met Carole and “Carole” (aka Linda) at our Happy Hour and then had a great dinner at the Naked Moose and are now resting up for the big day tomorrow. 65 miles from Dolores to Telluride with lunch in RIco and going over Lizard Head Pass.

I have a lot of other pictures I wanted to post from today – but am having trouble with my internet connection. If I get it fixed – I will mention going back and looking at today’s updated post on a future day.

Day 1 Group Photo
Day 1 Group Photo

Our intrepid “Bikeoppers” Biker/Shoppers did some social biking around Durango, had a nice lunch, and joined us in Dolores where they planned out the Happy Hour. They also picked out a boutique in Dolores for some shopping tomorrow.


SWCO Loop Day 0 (Sunday)

August 23, 2015
Most of us gathered at Dick and JoAnn’s and caravanned to Durango with a stop in Salida for Lunch. Traffic going the other way was extremely heavy with people leaving from the Mumford and Son’s concert from the previous evening in Salida.


We had dinner at the Old Tymer in Durango with Fred and Linda. It was good to catch up with them plus they gave us all kinds of tips about the local area.

Tomorrow we start our ride from Durango to Delores for 47 miles. The first 10 miles are mostly uphill.

SWCO Loop Day -1

Bike loading on trailer day! 8/22/2015
We leave Boulder tomorrow Sunday the 23rd for Durango and start riding on Monday!
Stay tuned!