2023 is almost over and it went by way too fast. I'm not going to have much riding time over the holidays, so I’m already thinking back to all the glorious rides I went on this season. To help scratch the riding itch, I decided to ask the cyclists here at TPC to recount some of the best bike rides they've done this year.
Our employees like to ride as hard as they work. They’re always out exploring new roads and trails, taking on epic adventures, or just having a laugh on the bike. Our love for riding is why we’re all here! I hope our season highlights can inspire you to get out and ride next year, and if you have any riding highlights of your own, don't hesitate to share.
Hitting Classic MTB Trails in Crested Butte
Rider: Owen Halself, SEO Strategist
Hit 'Subscribe' and SMASH that 'Like' button! Seriously though, Owen has some sick riding videos on his channel.
"Crested Butte has some of the best mountain biking anywhere. The fall riding is unbeatable up there with the changing leaves and perfect weather. We did two days of riding, starting at Teocalli Ridge and then we did an epic 25-mile ride on the second day at the legendary Doctors Park."
Getting Back On the Bike After a Collarbone Break
Rider: Doug Farrar, Master Technician
Poor Doug spent his summer dreaming of riding his trials bike. Coming back from an injury is always tough, but the moment you're able to ride again feels so sweet.
"The most special ride for me requires the back story. Early in the year, I was having an epic dirtbike ride, a great combination of snow and soft dirt. But that ride ended with a snow-hidden root that pitched me off and I broke my collarbone. I had surgery, a plate put in, and all that. I was out for a long time and I missed riding at some great events like the Fruita MTB Fest and the Bentonville Festival.
"So that most special ride was my first time getting back on a bike after the break. It was just along the paths and dirt road around Union Reservoir in Longmont. I missed riding so much. Just being on two wheels again and popping a couple of wheelies was the best I had felt in a long time."
Riding My First Century (+ a Thunderstorm)
Rider: Clint Hobbs, Inbound Operations Manager
Instead of training for his century, Clint applied the same approach he uses to conquer massive jumps on his mountain bike — just send it! 🤘
"I had an epic Century, my first one ever, that ended in an absolute downpour and thunderstorm. Mother Nature challenged me the whole day with weather and it finally caught me with 3 miles to go. I persevered, laughed, and showed up home soaking wet knowing that I beat Mother Nature (this one time)."
Riding Gravel on Catalina Island
Rider: JP Gage, Director of Operations
Am I jealous of JP's extravagant riding trip? No... not at all... not at all... 😭
"I took the ferry from Los Angeles to Catalina Island for a day of gravel biking. There was amazing climbing, amazing views, and hardly any traffic on the remote roads."
Peak to Peak Highway / Horesthief Bench Loop
Rider: Adam Vadeboncoeur, Merchandising Associate
"I have 2: One road and one MTB."
Adam in red, former WorldTour Pro, Johann in green. Based on Johann's face, Adam dished out some pain on the way up.
"Road: Riding with a couple of buddies up Left Hand Canyon, across the Peak to Peak Highway to Nederland, then back down to Boulder. You get great climbing, amazing views, snack stops in Ward and Nederland, and blazing-fast, fun descents."
I believe Adam will send the Horsethief Bench drop-in someday.
"MTB: One of my most memorable rides this year was the Horsethief Bench loop in Fruita with my wife at sunset. This is one of my favorite rides in general, but on this specific ride the weather was perfect, she had a new bike, and we were camping in our van after. A pretty perfect evening all around. Note: Neither of us attempted to ride the exit/entrance to the loop."
Climbing Pikes Peak by Bike
Rider: Nick Leng, External Compliance Specialist
I usually don't like photos of bikes in the small ring, but Nick rode to the top of Pike's Peak so I'll give this a pass. Good work, Nick!
"This July I rode up Pike's Peak with my friend, former roommate, and riding buddy, Greg, on his birthday. As it goes with life sometimes, we don't get to ride together nearly as much as we used to but we try to get some good rides in when we can. We had wonderful weather for the ride and we both felt really strong on that slog of a climb (6,600 feet!). I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate my good buddy's birthday than by conquering one of Colorado's mighty 14ers, by bike."
Riding Along the Delaware River with a VERY Good Girl
Rider: Megan Schmidt, Ride Guide Team Lead
Oh. My. Goodness. ONYX! SO CUTE! Stop, I can't even...
"This wasn't the longest ride of the year, the most scenic, or even the most exciting, but with our 25-pound puppy Onyx in the trailer, it was the most fun ride I've done! This June we headed out for a 30-mile out-and-back on a canal trail along the Delaware River north of Philly. Having a dog along for the ride makes a hot day on the bike path way more fun. Onyx likes to get out to run a mile at full speed every so often, then jumps back in the trailer as soon as she's tuckered."
A Tour de New England (+ Some Extra Credit)
Rider: Ethan Martin, Product Manager
New England isn't always this wet, Ethan just decided to ride during this summer's historic levels of rain.
"The Tour de New England with my brother was for sure my ride of the year, followed by the Triple Bypass (despite it taking me out of cycling for about 10 weeks due to my ill-fated attempt at trying new pedals+shoes+cleats two days prior 🤦🏼♂️)."
[button]The Full Tour de New England Story[/button]
"Beyond those rides, a couple of others stand out for shared reasons: A) unseasonably nice weather that made them feel like a gift B) a variety of surfaces, from new pavement to 'oh my god what is a road bike doing here?' singletrack and so-called "roads" C) fantastic company D) a sense of accomplishment."
On the Old Man Winter course. Wait, is this the "nice weather" Ethan was talking about?
"At the beginning of the year was the Old Man Winter 100K. A fairly fast ride, considering the two-mile hike through snow on Rowena. I was impressed with how well plastic bags over my socks and in my shoes worked for this. It was a not-totally-gray, warm-ish day which was lucky, and made the early-February event a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the mix of rolling gravel roads, gravel descents, and paved climbs. TPC had a good presence here, so it was cool to share this experience with co-workers."
I get the sense that Ethan's idea of "fun" differs from mine.
"Later in the year, a friend whipped up a fun loop around Gross Reservoir. It had a ton of climbing, but riding with friends makes uphill slogs (and the flats, and the downs) way more fun. My ever-trusty Roubaix proved it can handle what can be best described as a stretch of neglected 4x4 off-roading tracks that an XC bike would've been better suited for. We got some killer views into the mountains on what was an unseasonably warm early winter day and got to celebrate with a brownie and some beer."
The First Annual Paris-Roubeer
Rider: Cory Ford, Receiving & Catalog Specialist
My kind of cycling. Brought to you by Holy Cow Racing, the same people behind Vuelta a Cerveza and Il Lombeerdia 🍻.
"The first annual 'Paris-Roubeer' took place on April 9th, 2023. The event is a Golden, CO parody version of the legendary Paris-Roubaix (which, just so happened to be scheduled on the same day as Paris-Roubeer 🤔) that was put on by Holy Cow Racing (a local Golden-based cycling group).
"To ensure its authenticity, the Paris-Roubeer route contained several "cobbled" segments that were raced by the participants throughout the day and included multiple required pub stops along the way. How many pub stops? Well, erm…we don't actually…recall…"
"There was plenty of climbing, off-road action, and beers that were enjoyed. In the 'other' race, Paris-Roubaix, the racers finish in a velodrome. Unlikewise, our race ended in a track and field stadium. Riders had to finish one last drink as fast as they could and complete a 400m race...on foot. The event made for a long day on the day bike, but I'm already looking forward to next year."
Girona, Spain to the Coast
Rider: Chase Robertson, Consumables Coordinator
I was jealous of JP's Catalina Island ride, until I saw Chase's Girona ride. Lovely.
"I'd say my ride from Girona to the Mediterranean coast and back may have been my best ride this year. Definitely one of the most memorable rides. My partner wasn't feeling into riding for a third consecutive day so I decided to go at it alone on a somewhat longer ride. The 60-mile route took me on smooth narrow roads up and over the hills east of town, onto winding gravel farm roads, and right through small medieval towns."
"It was a bit overcast and windy, so the water was quite choppy when I arrived, but living in Colorado makes a ride to the sea feel pretty special."
"The final section back into town had me climbing up steep, loose logging roads before descending on singletrack that really tested the mettle of my rental bike. Aside from the terrain and the views, just being on a ride by myself in a foreign place made the whole thing feel like quite an adventure."
Riding Telluride to Ouray via Imogene Pass
Rider: Steve Gardner, Warehouse Manager
Steve always does the most absurdly epic rides. Just look at these photos. All I have to say is, wow.
"Imogene is a historic 4x4 road that climbs over a 13,000-foot pass in the San Juan mountains of Colorado. The route is famous for its mining history, rugged difficulty, and incredible scenery. Cyclists, Jeepers, Moto's, and Trail Runners have long challenged themselves in the thin air of the San Juans. A dry spell in late autumn was my opportunity to finally stand atop the jagged knife edge dividing two of my favorite mountain towns."
"After leaving a vehicle in Ridgway, my family dropped me off in Telluride where groves of golden Aspen trees clung to the steep walls of the box canyon surrounding the iconic town. The climb, which is called Tomboy Road on the Telluride side, began discreetly at the end of a neighborhood lane. It was already the afternoon, but with the summer monsoon long past, I knew that I could take my time without fear of being caught in an alpine lightning storm.
"The narrow and rocky road quickly rose above town, cutting through cliffs of red sandstone and grey volcanic tuff. I spun my granny gear up the climb, steadily chipping away at the 4,200' of vert while taking in views of Bridal Veil Falls, Black Bear Pass, and Telluride Ski Resort. I encountered several jeepers and motorcyclists who kindly shared the trail and offered words of encouragement. As I approached the upper reaches of the pass, mining ruins dotted the landscape and offered a glimpse into the human history of the area."
"The final switchbacks of the pass became too steep to ride and forced me to hike my bike to the top of the rocky cirque. I labored heavily in the alpine air, fighting for every step and pedal stroke. Upon reaching the pass, I paused to take in the expansive view. The town of Telluride was no longer visible, hidden deep in the inner gorge of the mountain valley. Long afternoon shadows crept across landmarks with names like Ajax, Pandora, and Savage. To the north, the pass dramatically plunged to Ouray, somehow even steeper and rougher than what I had ascended. I lingered on the pass, enjoying the profound silence and the satisfaction of completing the mission."
"But I wasn't finished quite yet. The unfamiliar descent to Ouray was now entirely in shadow, and it was unlikely that I would see any other trail users on the way down. I strapped on a headlight and began carefully descending the huge rocky slabs that defined this section of the route. My brakes eventually began to overheat and their howls echoed off the walls of the deepening canyon. Reaching Ouray, the sounds were promptly drowned out by the Harley's motoring up and down the main drag. I rolled past the crowded patios where pizza and beer called out their siren songs, and made my way to the river road leading north out of town. Keeping an eye out for deer in the dusk, I pedaled the final miles to Ridgway as the Harvest Moon rose over Uncompahgre Peak, king of the San Juans."
Your Subaru Won’t Make It
Rider: Ellie Horn, Marketing Manager
"Being new to Boulder, Colorado, I've enjoyed getting to explore all the incredible riding right in my backyard. Aside from some of the iconic rides around the area, my favorite ride this year was a ride I did to Nederland going up the backside of Flagstaff, past Gross Reservoir, and some epic gravel at 68J."
This road kills Subarus.
"The signage for 68J read "Your Subaru Won't Make It" so I titled my ride that. Great climbing and was the first ride where I felt really good and adjusted to the altitude (finally!) after coming from sea level. Looking forward to exploring more next season."
Riding Shotgun at Phil’s World & Canyons of the Ancients
Rider: Bruce Lin, Senior Writer
The iconic Mesa Verde cliff dwellings. You can also cycle the road through the park to see this view.
"My wife planned a trip to Mesa Verde National Park last fall so we could see all the historical sites, most notably, the ancient cliff dwellings built by the Ancestral Pueblo people. I was interested in all that, but I was also excited to explore some of the famous mountain bike trails around Cortez, Colorado.
"We brought our trusty Shotgun seat so our 4-year-old could join us for the ride. The first place we rode was Phil’s World. The most popular trail there is called “Rib Cage” and I’m serious when I say this is the best flow trail I’ve ever ridden. It’s a fast and swooping rollercoaster ride that we had to do three times. Every time my kid was literally screaming with joy.
My kid has a fat lip from tripping and falling in the park. We kept the rubber side down!
"We went back to town for lunch, and afterward, headed out the the Canyon’s of the Ancients loop. This trail features a lot of big Moab-style slabs and some techy moves, but the highlight was the cliff dwellings we saw along the trail. Being able to ride next to a 1,000-year-old cliff dwelling is truly something special, and being able to take my son with me made it a ride I’ll remember forever."