Welcome to Day 3 of Ride The Rockies 2022
We hoped you enjoyed a very scenic, albeit windy day with the stunning views of Mt. Sopris and beyond. Well tomorrow you get to ride to beyond—up and over one of the most iconic passes in the United States. Built in 1880 it’s now the third highest pass in the country at just a little over 12,000 feet. As such weather is always a major safety concern. Below are some tips on clothing.
Day 3: Basalt to Salida
Rest well in Basalt because today it’s time for another more-than-a-century ride, and this one includes the brutal—and breathtaking—ascent of Independence Pass. After a mostly mellow 20-mile spin from Basalt to Aspen along the Roaring Fork River, it’s climb time—and this one is truly a beast. Indeed, the hors categorie west side ascent of Independence Pass is among Colorado’s toughest. From the outskirts of Aspen it’s 18 miles and more than 4,000 vertical feet to the skyscraping summit, situated at a lung searing 12,095 feet, the highest point of this year’s Ride the Rockies.
Up top snap another Continental Divide sign photo, hydrate and refuel, then buckle up for the rollicking descent down the east side of the pass, which drops more than 3,000 feet on the way past Twin Lakes and on to US24. The rest of the day’s route is mostly flat or gently downhill, as you trace the shores of the Arkansas River on your way to Buena Vista and on to the finish in Salida. Just know that the wind often whips in this high valley, so plan to pace yourself accordingly for this is a seriously big day on the bike.
Rolling Start: 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. (luggage truck closes and leaves) We are going to be very strict on this time tomorrow given the mileage.
Road Closes: 6:30 p.m.
Download Tuesday’s GPX Files:
- BREAKFAST AT BASALT LION’S CLUB @ 5:45am: Pancake and egg breakfast!
- SAG Shuttle from Snowmass to Basalt: pick-up at Clark’s Market at 6:45 a.m.
- SAG Shuttle to SALIDA: pick-up in the Elementary School Parking Lot at 7:45 a.m.
AIDE STATIONS: Five aide stations on today’s ride: Aspen, Independence Pass, Twin Lakes, Buena Vista, and Nathrop.
AID STATION 1 is 24 miles into the route in Aspen. Climbing begins here so hydrate and eat well. It’s almost 4,000 feet of climbing to the top of our next AID STATION 2 is on the summit (where we have something fun to give you!). This is 40 miles into the 110 mile route.
AID STATION 3 is in Twin Lakes after a fast decent where hot lunch will be served by local trucks and restaurants. Two more AID STATIONS with plenty of water and snacks will get you into Salida at miles 78 and 90 respectfully.
SAFETY ON THE PASS:
- Control your speed on the way down! Watch overheating on your brakes, especially with rim brakes. Watch for washboard roads on tight turns. It is hard not to look at the scenery, but pay attention to the road!
- Pay attention to the SAG drivers who will have any updates on weather or other issues that may cause us to shelter in place or be moved forward (or backwards)
- Be aware of any loose clothing. A jacket tied up in spokes could cause catastrophic accidents.
- Be aware of a large cottonwood that feel across the Rio Grande trail south of Basalt. It will require cyclists to dismount and walk around the tree
TEMPERATURE ON INDEPENDENCE PASS: It’s been hot, but the top of the pass could be 30 to 40 degrees colder than Basalt. It is predicted to be around 50 with gusts up to 25 mph which means wind chill’s could be in the 20s. Please be prepared.
ENTERTAINMENT: We will have an active downtown festival with a beer garden and three local bands entertaining all afternoon and evening. Downtown Salida is one of America’s top 10 art districts and is great to explore with many dining options.
Shuttles from camping (about a mile from downtown) will loop between the hotel district on Hwy 50, downtown and the camping area.
Shuttles to and from Buena Vista, start at 5 p.m. in Buena Vista and last shuttle from Salida will leave at 8 p.m. from Downtown Salida.
Have a great day and be safe on the roads!
Ride the Rockies Crew