Ramble Ride (Day 1 of 4: Steamboat to Walden)

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Location:
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Date Published:
September 17, 2019
Distance:
57.10
mi
Elevation:
5210
ft
Gravel Ratio:
80% G / 20% P
Difficulty Rating:
⛰⛰⛰⛰⛰
Enjoyability Rating:
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Download GPX File
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Just last week I had the opportunity to participate in my first “Ramble Ride”.
What is a Ramble Ride you ask? A Ramble is a multi-day event, with supported ride stops and catered camps. The ride I did, from Steamboat Springs to Fort Collins, CO  traveled through the Routt and Roosevelt National Forests. It had stunning landscapes, grand vistas, desolate backdrops and challenging routes.

The overall mileage was about 230 miles (and over 17,000 feet of elevation gain!) split over 4 days of riding and camping. The routes were primarily dirt and country gravel roads,  forest roads, and even some single and double track.

These events are expertly planned and curated by the amazing Peter Discoe. Our group of Ramblers included about 65 riders. This made for an intimate experience of like-minded biking folks who felt like family by the end of the 4-day event!

General logistics were handled by Ramble Ride. We were shuttled by bus from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs the day prior to biking. In addition to sending out GPX files of the routes in advance, the course was physically marked. Campsites for the four nights were included. Every rider was allowed a small bag that was transported to camp each night for extra supplies/bulky items we didn’t want to carry on the bike (so nice!). Breakfast, lunch, ride food and dinner were all provided and were not only thoughtfully prepared, but delicious.

Rambles are not a race. They are a meant as a chance to experience Colorado in a new and fun way over challenging terrain while in the community of others doing the same.

Cost was $500 and would have been a bit cheaper if I had been able to commit and sign up earlier.

I couldn’t have better things to say personally about my experience. If you like bikes and camping, want to find your community of like-minded bikers, and want to have a truly unique and challenging experience in remote areas of Colorado, this is for you!
I am already looking forward to signing up for another one in the future.
Read more info from Ramble Rides here.

Ramble Ride Full Route.

The Entire (4-day) 2019 Fort Collins Ramble Ride Route

Highs:

It was a lovely climb up from Steamboat Springs to the turn off to Flash of Gold single track trail. Once on the trail, the single track was mostly non-technical and went through stunningly picturesque aspen groves and alpine meadows!

Buffalo Pass, to the continental divide, was a challenging climb that was rocky on the way up and required lots of bobbing and weaving to find good lines, but it had a smooth dirt road on the other side. (I only wish I could have enjoyed the downhill more, but it was quite cold in the snow!)

The country roads on the way into Walden were in great condition.  You could see forever once on the open plains, so it was fast and fun (and there were surprisingly little washboards).  

The Delaney Butte Lakes were the bluest blue and the surrounding area was the kind of scenery you expect on a postcard!

We, lucky, had a tail wind for most of the last 30 miles which was AMAZING!!

A shower at the Jackson County local community pool, right across from the Vic & Sigrid Hanson Memorial Park where we camped, cost $5 and was so worth it at the end of a hard day.

Lows:

Traffic in the town of Steamboat.

Cold temperatures and snow near the top of Buffalo Pass. (I had double long fingered gloves on and still my hands went numb and turned blue!)

There was low visibility with fog/low clouds and moisture/snow which made for lots of puddles and generally messy conditions on the Pass.

Do this ride if you want an epic day of climbing, single track, going over the continental divide and smooth fast dirt roads to finish- all with with incredible scenery and views.

Other Notes:

Be prepared for all weather extremes in Colorado especially in the fall months at high elevation. Snow is not uncommon starting in September on Buffalo Pass. During the day, the lower elevation areas can be quite sunny and warm at the same time. I made full use of my expandable and waterproof Revelate Designs seat bag to both carry extra gear and store it again when I didn’t need it. I was so happy I had my Little Hotties Hand warmers too!

As part of my contract with Ramble Rides, I agreed that I wouldn’t share a GPX file of the route, but by clicking on the map at the top of this page, you can still see the route on my Strava profile.

Gravel Bike Adventures participated in a Ramble Ride from Steamboat to Fort Collins. Learn about what a Ramble Ride is and read a review of the day 1 route.

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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