Saturday, November 3, 2007

Weld County ride

Cycling on the Colorado Front Range usually implies hills, mountain passes, and climbing. Sometimes, however, you just want a nice, relatively flat ride, with no heart-pounding heroics or thousands of feet in elevation gain. I head east into Weld County in cases like that, where there is plenty of room, as the link says, with 4004 square miles in area: larger than Rhode Island, Delaware, and Washingon DC combined.

The picture above is on Weld County Road 20.5 looking west, with Longs Peak on the far right.

I've found the least-crowded way to get there, from Longmont is to go south out of town on US-287 a little over a mile and take a left on Oxford Road. You'll go up a hill, probably the most difficult of the ride, and the top of the hill will actually be the highest point of elevation on the ride.

The hill heading east on Oxford Road:

Keep going east for a few miles until you get to County Road 1. This is where Weld County starts. I take a right here at the stop sign and go North on County Road 1 for a little bit.

Then, I turn right on Weld County Road 20.5 Just before a fire station that you'll see on County Road 1.
You can take this road almost to I-25, and if you turnaround there, you'll do about a twenty mile ride. A tunnel on Road 20 will get you under I-25 and a few miles east of there, you'll be mostly free of the housing developments that are sprouting up everywhere.

It really helps to have, or be familiar with a Weld County map because you'll often run into dead-ends or roads that turn into dirt. Odd numbered roads run north/south, even ones go east/west. Also, Digital cell phone service works everywhere that I've been.

Some precautions about cycling in Weld County, especially when you get deep into the county, far east of I-25:
  • If you ride solo like I usually do, be prepared not to see too many cyclists out there, unlike western Boulder County where it sometimes feels like a constant parade of lycra. I've never had a problem with motorists in Weld County but you won't have any support if something goes wrong (see next point).
  • I've had more punctures in Weld than anywhere else around Boulder County. Be sure you carry enough repair kit to survive more than two flats. Once, I got simultaneous front and rear tire punctures. Ouch. Part of the problem is that Weld County is booming in construction right now and there is more than the usual amount of debris in the road. An industrial staple got me today, on the side of my rear tire, despite the Mr. Tuffy tire liners I have now!

Heading back home, west on Oxford Road:

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