Open Sky Loop from Boulder

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Location:
Boulder, Colorado
Date Published:
July 21, 2021
Distance:
25.09
mi
Elevation:
1115
ft
Gravel Ratio:
80% G / 20% P
Difficulty Rating:
⛰⛰
Enjoyability Rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Download GPX File
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This route was the Ride or Die Collective's July "B" Group Gravel Ride. We've really enjoyed participating in the Ride or Die Collective community. They are all about women’s involvement in sports and helping to provide equal opportunity to those in need. YES!!

Their monthly Collective rides are for ladies only and they offer lots of awesome free stuff including: pre-ride nutrition, a post-ride beer, post-ride bike wash and raffle! Besides these once-a-month rides, there are other opportunities to participate in cycling events on their events page. They do ask for you to RSVP when you attend and recommend a min donation of $3. We hope to see you there in the future!

Photo Credit: Taylor Brower

Highs:

Group rides are the best! It is so nice to meet new like-minded ladies and chat throughout the ride.

This route has lots of nice variety. It is on a combination of trails, crushed gravel path, dirt roads and double track- none of which is technical and all the terrain is in pretty good shape.

The Open Sky Loop gravel trail was a new one for me, and it was a particularly lovely trail section that was not busy, had nice views, went by water (The Swede Lakes), and easily connects to some of the other commonly traveled gravel roads in the area.

Lows:

Not so much a low, but just something to be aware of: the Open Sky Loop trail did have a few large and unavoidable muddy puddles to go through. But any good grave route involves some dirty fun, right? and it made the free post-ride bike wash that much sweeter!

Do this ride if you are looking for a great beginner gravel route on a variety of gravel surfaces from dirt roads, trails, gravel paths and double track, all with the beauty of Boulder around you.

Other Notes:

The Ride or Die Collective rides start from Base Performance, which is where we parked. If you're doing this route on your own you could easily start and park at nearby Tom Watson Park.

There are public restrooms at Tom Watson Park as well as a port-a-potty at the Boulder Reservoir's West Trailhead parking lot that you'll bike right though. (At approximately mile 2 on the way out and again at mile 22 on the way back.)
There are also bathrooms at the Blue Skies Park in Longmont (April-October) which is at about mile 11 on this route.

Take enough calories and hydration for about 2 hours of riding.

Driving Directions

Route Contributor

Laura Karpinski

I got a bike as a young child and quickly set off making trips up and down the driveway then loops around my neighborhood, but I fell away from the joy of cycling as more and more of my free time was occupied by ballet training (around age 10). It wasn’t until I gave up my professional dancing career and moved to Colorado in 2000 that I began cycling seriously.

From infancy, and well into my late 20’s, I suffered from exercise-induced asthma and was afraid of cardio activities that made me wheeze. If my asthma was triggered by an intense activity, I was advised to stop immediately and use an inhaler.

I was into yoga and Pilates back in 2000 (Still am today!), so when one of my friends suggested we go to a spin/yoga class (30 min of spin, followed by 30 min of yoga), I was game to at least try something new. Even though I had trouble breathing in the classes, the safety of an indoor spin class gave be the ability to choose how hard to push myself, and at just 30 min, I slowly learned to tolerate the stress on my lungs. The fact that the spinning was followed by yoga gave me space to work with calming my thoughts and my head which said: “I can’t do this!”. As I got stronger and more confident and my cardio endurance increased, my asthma problems became less and less, and therefore, my willingness to try more adventurous and strenuous activities increased! I went from seeing cyclists biking up Lookout Mountain in Golden, CO and thinking, “they are crazy!”, to, “that looks kind of fun and I wonder if I can do that?”. And then I bought a bike, joined a club and tried biking up that mountain! My Asthma is nearly non-existent and I have been hooked on outdoor biking ever since.

I currently live in downtown Denver and have been car-free for about 10 years, typically biking 7,000+ miles a year between commuting, road riding and gravel bike adventuring. I have been a member of Naked Women’s Racing Team, and Colorado Women’s Cycling Project.

I teach Pilates and Yoga for a living and have been doing it for over 15 years. Just this year, I went out on my own and began a private-practice Pilates Studio called Align.Move.Breathe. I am a self-proclaimed “body nerd”, constantly reading, attending continuing education workshops and learning as much as I can about movement, bio-mechanics, alignment, anatomy and Ideokenesis.
I love to teach my clients how to relax and have fun with all movement, as well as have new and positive experiences with their bodies while gaining strength and flexibility in body, mind, and spirit. I strongly believe in both Pilates and Yoga as safe, supportive, and healing practices which can profoundly transform one’s every-day life!
If you are in the Denver area and interested in the intersection of biking and Pilates or Yoga, contact me at align.move.breathe@gmail.com.

Laura’s favorite Gravel Route: There are so many great rides it is REALLY hard to decide, but if there was one ride I would do over and over, it would be Four Mile Canyon and Switzerland Trail to Sugarloaf. It’s quiet, beautiful, challenging and fun!

Laura’s Gravel Bike: Spot Rallye Geared (It originally came with an 11-32 rear cassette, but she upgraded to 11-42, and it now comes standard that way.) Spot is a small bike company out of Golden, CO, and the people there have been terrific with customer service!
She is currently using Panaracer GravelKing SK+ 700×35C tires (but the Schwalbe G-One 700×35 that it came with were pretty sweet too).

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