This is the 2021 SBTGRVL Red route.
We were so thrilled to be a part of this world-class gravel event which is owned and directed by, Amy Charity, and has the fundamental goals of inclusiveness, credibility, fairness and accountability. YES!
If you want to do this route with about 1,000 other inspiring riders, don't miss signing up for for next year! They offer a "Black" course at 144 miles, a "Blue" course at 104 miles, a "Red" course at 64 miles, and a "Green" course at 36 miles.
We met a wide range of awesome cyclists from the pro/elite to the gravel newbies. It was thrilling to watch the pros zip across the finish line and to cheer on all those doing their first gravel century!
(Feature photo credit: Valerie Clover Clark)
The unique combination of some of the best quiet, gravel roads surrounded by the thriving resort town of magnificent Steamboat Springs creates a perfect setting for an incredible gravel route. You can easily grab a great cup of coffee before the ride and chat with locals over a beer afterwards, plus lots of options for a post-ride meal, but while you are out on the road, you will feel like you have the place to yourself!
The majority of this route rides like a road ride. Packed dirt roads are generally in good condition and ride pretty smooth and fast.
Circling all the way around Elk Mountain, AKA the Sleeping giant, is spectacularly scenic. Read about the legend of the Sleeping Giant here.
There is hardly a low on this entire course, but there are three things to note:
1) The second to the last paved climb, known as the Corkscrew, is a steep doozy occurring at about mile 47, so save some energy for it.
2) Cow Creek (about mile 52-58) is the roughest/most technical section of road with the chunkiest gravel. You can still have a fun time going down hill quickly but you have to be especially alert to the terrain (and cows that wander onto the road).
3) Once you leave the town of Steamboat Springs, there are no services or places to get supplies or water. (It is one of the advantages to doing this route with STBGRVL, as they have several aid stations!) If you are doing this unsupported we would recommend a Camelbak and extra bottles with Skratch on the bike, plus plenty of extra snacks to keep you going.
Do this ride if you are looking for a solid day on the gravel bike, with mostly fast "champagne gravel" surfaces, amazing scenery of the Yampa Valley including Elk Mountain and a great town to hang out in post-ride.
Many of the gravel roads pass through open range and areas where ranchers may also be out and about working with their livestock. Remember to be alert and respectful when you are out enjoying your ride.
Our usual tires, 700x35cm Panaracer Gravelking SK+ Tires (set up tubeless, with fresh Orange Seal sealant and pumped to 35 psi), were perfect for this ride. We also made sure to bring our plug kit in case of a tire emergency.
We started this route at 10th and Yampa, where there is street parking and cafes nearby. There is a small public parking lot with a public restroom in nearby West Lincoln Park.
There is lots of dinning options to chose from in Steamboat, but we recommend finishing your ride with a tasty local beer or meal on the Mountain Tap Brewery patio. (The garlic rolls were to die for says Laura.)
Laura Karpinski and Rose Barcklow are the creators of Gravel Bike Adventures. Click on the About page to learn more about them.