Colorado Altitude Training: Red and White Mountain Ascent

OPEN 29er mtb resting on red rocks, blue sky with some white clouds

Near the summit of Red and White Mtn in Eagle County Colorado, Sawatch range in the distance

With some flexibility in my schedule for the summer, I decided to make a trip to Colorado to train at altitude for the first time in anticipation of the XTERRA Mountain and National Championships later this year.

Having raced the Mountain Championship last year, I found the host town Avon to be idyllic and prefect for altitude training. The layout of the town is fantastic, with transit, pedestrian, and cyclist oriented design that allows for comfortable car-free living.

Under the supervision of my new coach and temporary neighbor Josiah Middaugh, I took it easy the first several days at altitude and made sure to fuel up, taking advantage of the outstanding selection of organic produce, with great prices to boot, at the local grocer – City Market.

After five relatively easy adaptation days, I got down to some serious training.  The ride from Nottingham Lake in Avon up Red and White Mountain was my first long, hilly training session on the bike at altitude.

Elevation profile of the ride, starting at 7,400 ft, climbing to 10,900, then hovering between 10,000 and 10,800 before descending back down to 7,400

Avon, CO offers up as much sustained climbing as you can handle

I rode through the town center, and north of the interstate to the Singletree Connector trail.  The Singletree trail links Avon to the Wildridge and Singletree neighborhoods and is quickly becoming a mountain biking hotspot, with an ever expanding network of blissful singletrack. Be on the lookout for a separate write-up coming soon to do the Singletree/Wildridge trail network justice.

Picutre of the mayor of Avon and three trail builders along narrow, windy, dusty singletrack wrapping around steep ridges covere with green shrubs and brush under a royal blue sky with sparce, fluffy white clouds

I happened across the mayor of Avon, Richard Carroll, and Wildridge trail builders along the Singletree connector, first mayor I’ve ever met who mountain bikes!

The Singletree connector drops you off on June Creek Road. After a short uphill, I turned left on Singletree Road and found the June Creek trailhead a block later on my right.

narrow dirt road with wild grass on each side between two ridges under a royal blue sky with sparce clouds

June Creek Road winds up between two ridges towards the top Red and White Mountain, the view throughout is stunning

The higher you climb, the more breathtaking the scenery gets.

Narrow dirt road surrounded by wild grass climbing between green pine covered ridges

The climbing at altitude is assuaged by the awe inspiring scenery

Within 15 minutes of climbing up June Creek, visitors are treated to views of the majestic Sawatch Range to the south.

Wide dirt hairpin road with pine covered ridges on either side and the snow-capped rocky ridges of the Sawatch Range in the distance

Rounding a switchback up June Creek Road with the Sawatch Range in the distance

Both Aspen and Pine populate the lower slopes.

steep dirt road with Aspen trees lining each side ahead, a pine covered steep ridge lies to the west, above June Creek

About to enjoy the respite of shade in an Aspen grove

As you can see, I took a few photo breaks to catch my breath in the thin mountain air.

Two green slopes leading down to Avon

A view of the lower slopes of Red and White mountain

Gaining altitude, it was amazing to watch the climate and terrain change before my eyes.

Wet dirt road with stately pines lining either side

The temperature dropped and pines started to dominate around 9,500 ft

The slopes were abound with piney meadows above 10,000 ft.

Green, rock strewen meadow with patches of Pine overlooking the Sawatch range to the south

A lush, tranquil meadow on the higher slopes of the mountain overlooking the snow-capped Sawatch Range

Some views near the summit:

Grassy meadow, with patches of pine, overlooking the spiny rocky, snowy peaks of the Sawatch Range

Another view of the Sawatch Range to the south

Rolling green slopes in the distance, pines covering the slopes down the mountain

A view of the gentler slopes to the southwest

Pines to the left and Aspens to the right of a meadow, and yet another great view of the Sawatch Range

Pines to the left and aspens to the right of a meadow, and yet another great view of the Sawatch Range

Several aspen groves help me stay calm on the harrowing descent:

A dirt road with green wild grass on either side and shade from a large aspen grove

The sanctuary of nature

On the way down, I caught Metcalf Road down to the Wildridge neighborhood and once again rode the roller coaster Wildridge trails back into Avon.

Narrow dusty singletrack switchback trail with low-lying brush and shrubs and numerous mountain ranges in the distance

A view from one of the innumerable switchbacks on the Wildridge trail

I’m looking forward to lots of quality training in this stunning mountain playground.

This entry was posted in Mountain Biking, Training, XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Colorado Altitude Training: Red and White Mountain Ascent

  1. Oshri says:

    Glad to see you enjoying the training and amazing natural sites! Soak it up ( :

  2. John O'Dwyer says:

    Thanks for the trip reports – great stuff. Motivating me to try for Mountain Champs next year!

  3. Pingback: Race Report: 2015 Xterra Mountain Championship | Alex Modestou Racing

  4. Pingback: Biking Mt Mitchell | Alex Modestou Racing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s