Colorado RAAM Course Recon

I’ve just completed riding the RAAM course from Durango to Trinidad(and back again). Beautiful scenery was tempered by rain, snow, ice, and hail. Hopefully another month will raise the temperatures a bit.

Durango to South Fork is mainly rolling terrain up to Wold Creek Pass. The pass is a fairly long sustained effort but the grade is never very difficult. I encountered snow and a flat tire at the top of the pass, resulting in a bout with near hypothermia by the time I reached the construction area on the downslope. A kind CDOT employee offered me her car to warm up in while I awaited a ride through the contruction zone. She mentioned working last year while RAAM was going through the area. It seems Jure Robic was very unhappy with having to wait to pass through the construction.

South Fork to La Veta is almost entirely flat until you reach the La Veta pass which is pretty easy. Organic restaurant in Del Norte had excellent food also a good restaurant on the east side of Blanca. The La Veta Inn was a very friendly place. Managed by a fellow North Dakotan, he offered to come and pick me up if I got stuck out in too nasty of weather.

La Veta to Trinidad is another climb through a pass. Scenery was excellent and traffic was very low until reaching Old Elk mine on the downslope. Than it occassionaly became uncomfortable as large trucks rushed by with little shoulder. Hail storms raced me back up the pass. I raced toward the one bit of clear sky near the summit.

All in all it was a successful trip. I’ve seen a difficult portion of the course and ridden it while loaded with panniers. Doing it again on a race bike can only be more fun. Lets hope for less snow and hail.


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