Golden Gran Fondo

Somewhere between aggressive road racing and relaxing centuries there’s the gran fondo.

    Photo: Mark Hayes/Shutterstock

Boulder might be considered the capital of American bike racing, but come June you’ll find one of the best days on the bike to be had in nearby Golden. This 90-mile ride features some 12,000 feet of climbing and will challenge riders of all fitness levels against the rugged, beautiful backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

Bring your best climbing legs as the day starts going uphill from the get-go and never really lets up. After tackling Lookout Mountain—a climb that has featured in the world-class professional race the USA Pro Cycling Challenge—you’ll pedal toward the Continental Divide on the same lung-busting roads used in the famous Coors Classic stage race of the 1980s (and celebrated in the 1985 movie American Flyers starring a very lean Kevin Costner).

The Peak to Peak, Colorado’s oldest scenic byway, will delight as well as test you with its alpine vistas, steep ascents, and even some hard-pack dirt roads. Which is to say you’ll be more than ready for well-earned refreshments back in downtown Golden.

The Golden Gran Fondo is held in June.

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