27 February 2015

Elephant Rock

Riding E-Rock, a popular Colorado century ride

In Colorado, many consider the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival a marker that the cycling event season has begun, but in 2015, there are 28 earlier events listed on the Pedal Dancer® event ride list calendar. Elephant Rock, or E-Rock as it is known by it's nickname, is no longer the season-starter yet the ride remains a long tradition.

So popular is the ride (with a rider cap of 4500 for the metric and full century routes) that many "E-Rock Alternative" rides have popped up in the area. Rides organized by those who dislike this large organized event ride for some (strong) reason or another. Two years ago I joined onto one of those E-Rock alternative rides (because they promised a party afterwards) - it turned out to be a hundred miles on uninspiring inner city seamed bike paths through the ugliest industrial landscape imaginable. I renamed the ride the Bataan Death March of Bikes Rides and swore I would NEVER do that again.

I could have been out riding the rollers of the Black Forrest!

The Elephant Rock Festival is centered in Castle Rock, Colorado, almost half way between Denver and Colorado Springs. It is an early morning start with departure times of 5:30-7:00am for the century. The only two reasons that will get me up at 4:00am are a flight to Europe or a century ride. This ride is worth the early start; E-Rock has a history of rough weather with rain, wind, hail or sleet. Typically the 6-hour century rider in Colorado can expect cold starts and warm finishes.

The immediate reward for finishing this event is a nice social gathering post race on the county fairgrounds grass lawn with a mediocre (better than expected) lunch. The true reward is that wonderful post century body buzz and feeling of accomplishment.

The signature Event Jersey - some people collect these at $76 a pop.

To cut right to the matter of things, the two main positives of this ride are: good value (as long as you don't buy that jersey above which is more than the cost of registration) and a route which covers territory typically not possible to ride unassisted. Value and access matter to me. I don't like paying high prices ($125-155 for Copper Triangle, compared to $70-85 for E-Rock) for an event ride I could do any given weekend on my own by utilizing local markets or gas stations to fill my water bottles (although I do believe $150 for the Triple Bypass is a fine deal).

If you register by February 28th, Elephant Rock is $70 (with a $4.90 registration fee). The amount goes up slightly by increments prior to the ride. Register here.

A clear sign you are at a cycling event. At Elephant Rock 2012. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer

I enjoy the rolling terrain of the Black Forest included in the Elephant Rock Century. I also remember courteous enthusiastic riders with a pleasant overall feel to the event (except for the local farmers splashing the road with cow dung). The century and metric century routes take cyclists along roads not possible to ride contiguously without aid stations or sag support. New this year, is a brand new course utilizing farm roads previously unpaved or unconnected. The route should be a nice change and the event is on my personal calendar.

June 7, 2015 - Suburu Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, Castle Rock, Colorado
Route options: kids / 8 / 27 / 40 / 62 / 101.3 miles
You may join 7 different charity teams for fundraising

Elephant Rock Century Route: 101.3 miles, +5705 / -5703

Elephant Rock new route course for 2015
Elephant Rock new route course for 2015. Ride With GPS interactive course map.

Castle Rock is 35 minutes south of Denver, along the Front Range of Colorado.

The best part of attempting a century ride in early June is that it gets me out riding in March, April and May! Elephant Rock is a moderate century with climbing limited to 5705 feet over the distance. A good preparation for the big climbing routes later in the season which tend to be greater than 10,000+ feet of climbing in the same distance.

Did you know there are 32 century rides listed on the Pedal Dancer 2015 Colorado Cycling Events and Bike Rides calendar list.

Some century ride tips I have learned over the years and I hope to repeat again this year:
  • Pick up your registration packet prior to ride day.
  • Set out all your gear ahead of time, the night before, and pack your bags. Pack one bag with all the items to put on pre-ride or put in your jersey pockets (when the bag is empty on ride morning you know you have everything you need). Pack a second bag with your after ride clothing. 
  • Pack all your ride food the night before. I place extra drink mix measured into a small plastic bag to bring with me in my jersey pocket, accounting for a bottle every 45-minutes of my estimated ride time. I cut up bars into pieces and place them in a baggie for my jersey pocket.
  • Know your drink mix calorie and food calorie needs. A replacement mix that is fine for 45 miles, might need more supplemental food for 100 miles of continuous effort.
  • Remember to bring a bike pump in your car. I've seen people getting flats pre-ride by rolling over parking lot crap. I always pump my tires prior to every ride.
  • Absolutely wear a three pocket jersey, you will need it for your extra clothing layers and food.
  • Get a good nights sleep the night before.  
  • Eat your regular pre-ride breakfast. 
  • Start early. 
  • Wear arm and knee warmers and a vest (or light jacket depending on the weather forecast).
  • On the ride, within 30-45 minutes, begin eating small amounts at regular intervals. I reach into that baggie of bar cubes open in my back pocket and pop one into my mouth while riding. I do not only eat at rest stops.
  • Consider passing by the first rest station, if possible. It is typically the most crowded and will take up the most of your time. 
  • Don't eat any food or drink any mix you are not accustomed to fueling your ride. Don't try out any new gear on ride day.
  • I admit I typically only ride with one bottle full of water (but carry two bottles in case). The rest stops are so frequent you do not need two full bottles every ~14 miles, unless you ride 8mph. It adds weight and is simply more fuss than necessary.
  • Some people skip aid stations all together, I like to stop as the ride progresses simply to mark the distance traveled and enjoy the mood of the event, but I strongly recommend not stopping for long (!!) at each rest stop, keep moving! Weather moves in during the afternoons in Colorado.
  • Ride safely, and stay out of the big pelotons that pass in mass unless you know all of the riders in them, or have been asked to join in.
  • Ride consistently and finish strong. Keep your heart and nerves as steady as possible to conserve energy. It is much more fun to race the last 12 miles than it is to suffer the last 12 miles.
  • Bring clothes to change into immediately after the ride, before lunch. Change in your car. Bring a jacket in case it is cold, bring shorts/skirt in case it is warm. 
  • Go back to the finish line to cheer on your friends as they finish, well after your time! 
  • Don't hesitate to ride a century on your own, you will never truly be riding alone. My bet is that you might finish with some of the same people you started with.

One year on the Elephant Rock (I think I have done it 6 or 7 times), I was riding with a good friend, who proclaimed, at mile marker 33, that she was not feeling the love that day. Although we had planned to complete the century ride, we diverged at the cut-off to the 65-mile route. I decided to go with her. Suddenly both of our moods lifted and we glided over those last remaining miles. I also experienced the elation of removing the paper wrapping off the porta pottie toilet paper rolls - I gotta say there is something to be said for arriving at rest stations first (and I think that is better goal than any STRAVA record). I never had a better, more fun ride. I learned spontaneity is just fine, even on a planned event ride.

Read more from one of my years on route: 100 miles on a bike

View of 14,114 foot Pikes Peak from the route of the Elephant Rock Century ride. Photo by Karen Rakestraw while riding the event in 2010.The morning light from a bike saddle is fantastic in Colorado.

24 February 2015

Banff Film Festival and the Galibier

Soaring Above the Mountain

The Banff Mountain Film Festival is an annual traveling show featuring adventure films that expand my world. The festival is a collection of set films on given dates, often exposing me to sports I would normally not see on the big screen: kayaking, extreme skiing, ice climbing, travel adventure and more. This year a special gem starts off the film festival, in Denver, Colorado on Thursday night, featuring the Col du Galibier.

Once I heard the Galibier would be featured - I rushed to buy my ticket. 

The dates of the festival were brought to my attention by a fellow American blogger and frequent traveler/cyclist to France (Suze). She too has ridden the Galibier and recently shared having seen the film on her blog. Immediately I went to look up dates in hopes that I had not missed my opportunity to witness aerial views of the mighty Galibier. Luckily I had not missed out, my ticket now sits waiting on my dining room table for Thursday night's viewing.

The FAQs:
Banff Film Festival Website: Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival
Dates in Denver, Colorado: Thursday, February 26th, 2015 and Friday 27th (Friday sold out!)
Location: Paramount Theater, downtown Denver
Denver sponsor: Colorado Mountain Club
Films featured in 2015: film schedule for Denver
Tour schedule and dates: USA LocationsCanada LocationsInternational Locations
Colorado cities remaining on the tour for February and March 2015 include: Aspen, Crested Butte, Colorado Springs, Durango, (Boulder today and tomorrow!) - get your tickets.

The Banff Mountain Film Festival was founded in 1976. You may attend the complete 9-day festival in Banff, Alberta, Canada every year in November. Approximately 840 traveling screenings of selected films are seen in locations around the globe after the initial festival in Banff. More than 5000 films have been submitted to the festival over the years. This Thursday night I will sit for over 3 hours and watch 8 films.

2015 Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour

Every year that I have attended the Banff Film Festival, I have been glad I made the time to see the work and play of these adventurous film makers. This year I will watch an 88-year old extreme skier, footage of the Empty Quarter desert on the Arabian Peninsula, free climbing Cerro Torre in Patagonia, and stories of a slack liner, a stand-up paddle boarder, mountain bikers, and big mountain skiers. Plus I will get to see the aerial footage of Col du Galibier, Santorini in Greece, and the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix all in one film.

If you have been on the Col du Galibier yourself, without a doubt, you know that part of that mountain stays with you for the rest of your life. The achievement of riding both sides of the mountain is enormous. The Galibier is grand and epic and majestic and awesome beyond words. It is by far one of the deepest triumphs I have felt (probably because I fought through a bonk to summit it the second time in the day). I can still feel that climb in the memory of my cells. That says a lot.

I can't wait to see this film on the big screen with a room full of other adventurous souls. Some things should be brought back to the forefront of our memory.

Read more: My ride up the Col du Galibier



Head down (that's me hurting) or looking around (that's my brother enjoying the view), all I remember is it was hard and it was glorious!  (Riding the Col du Galibier with my brother Mike)

I can't wait to experience the feeling of being back on that mountain this Thursday night!

p.s. update: The Film Festival was absolutely wonderful. I plan to go to both nights next year.

22 February 2015

Where have all the stolen bikes gone?

A bike is more than the sum of it's parts

Yesterday, on a snowy morning, I ventured down to the Denver Police Bicycle Auction out of pure curiosity. I had no idea what to expect, in the end it ended up being both fun and educational.

You might remember that my awesome old cruiser bike had it's origins from a police warehouse in southern California. My brother Tom bought it for me. I hauled it back, on top of my car, from California to Colorado two years ago. Whatever the price my brother had paid for that fine gift, plus the added cost in gas to drive it back to Colorado, was surely worth every penny. I love riding that bike. It's success story inspired me to attend the Denver Police city bike auction yesterday in downtown Denver.

My first adopted very old, very rusty cruiser bike.
It was impossible to walk through the racks of bikes at the police auction without thinking, Oh, somebody must have been heartbroken to loose that bike. Our bikes become good friends to us, having traveled the miles, they have been there to lift us to new heights or greater speeds. They have been there during our greatest triumphs, each bike with a particular purpose or place in our history.

I tend to buy bikes with great thought and keep them for a long time. I also like to take good care of my bikes. To loose a bike is indeed a heartbreak. Under such loss, it might be even worse knowing someone else is out there riding it.

Shopping for a new love. Racks of bikes at the Denver Police Bicycle Auction. Every single bike sold to a new owner, the lowest bid was $20.

Every three months, the Denver Police Department auctions off inventory of bicycles collected from thieves or insurance companies, left abandoned or never claimed. You won't find $10,000 bikes among the racks, but you will find bikes that had meaning to somebody.

I found the pattern of buyers in attendance quite interesting: some buyers went for the retro bikes, some for hipster commuters, some for kids bikes, some looking for a deal to resell, some buying junk; the majority just wanting a bike for themselves or a family member. If you have high standards - this is not the place for you. If you are curious and might be looking for an around-town bike, upon which you will NOT need to record your STRAVA segments, this might be the place for you.

One thing for sure: someone is really missing these custom bikes and the new owners were very happy to pick them up.

You can see the love and care that went into this bike.
Awh, Somebody rode happily to work on this bike with matching stem and wheels.
Awh, someone got all crazy with the black and white tape and everything -- you'd think someone surely would have recognized this bike as their own.

Buyers present at the auction included: cyclists looking for a good $125-175 commuter bike that could be locked up anywhere; a father and son who purchased a nice Cannondale bike for $425 (I imagined the boy riding Ride the Rockies with his father this summer or racing his first race); a retro Schwinn bike for $175; a Specialized mountain bike for $150; a $50 Trek kids bike; a $50 Huffy cruiser.

A $50 Huffy bicycle going on the auction block, next to older and newer Trek bikes. That down-shifter Trek bike to the left was very popular (click image to enlarge). Brand names also seemed important to some.

In all, 120 bikes where auctioned off in just 90-minutes. The adrenaline and excitement were high. I was as happy for every successful buyer as I was for myself when I raised my bid ticket #31 to confirm a $60 highest bid for a bright pink cruiser bike. Instantly I owned a frivolously fun new bike to ride around my neighborhood park.

The bike I adopted on a snowy day in February for $60. I plan to spiff it up a bit.

If interested, check with your local city to see if they have bike auctions. Information on the Denver Bike auction can be found here: Denver Auction Gallery. The city hires a professional cowboy-clad auctioneer company to run it's As Is/Where Is sale of bike inventory. Being at the auction felt much like buying a bull at auction - you must act quickly to the calls of the rapid auctioneer. The City of Denver is not in it to make money, rather to clear out bikes left locked around the city, and to empty their warehouse.

Some bikes are pure junk (in fact one bike came with the bike lock still attached), but there are a few diamonds in the rough. The winner for the bike I would never ride and least want to own, went to this Pinarello bike below. It had clearly been in a very serious accident (gave me the creeps), but was aggressively bid for, and went for the top price of the day - $1050. Do not buy this bike if you see it on Craig's List, it should be destroyed.

A very beaten up carbon Pinarello bike

Some bikes striped of their dignity, sold in lots of bits and pieces, left to nothingness except to the wise bike builder. The guy who sat two seats down from me during the auction, said he found an old Campy groupset in one of these lots two years ago and bought the whole lot for $30 (hmm, I still need a rear campy derailleur hanger - reason to go back).

A Lot of bike remnants

Some of the children's bikes went for $30. It left me wanting to pick up a couple and donate them to the numerous non-profit bike organizations which distribute bikes to children in the area (see a list here: Denver Charity Bike Organizations). Or maybe deliver a bundle of wheels to be rebuilt. Next time I go to the auction, I need to haul a trailer with me. 

Some rims, spokes, cogs and tires - you might find something worth saving in this Lot of wheels sold As Is.

Keep your bike safe

Denver consistently ranks in the top ten cities nationwide for bike theft. Over a million bikes are stolen every year across the United States. With the sport of cycling growing, the poularity of biking to craft beers, and the encouragement to commute by bike, this trend of bike theft will only increase. What you can do to keep your prized possession safe:
  1. Document ownership of your bike(s): take photos and document the bike's serial number and all parts. Retain all purchase receipts.
  2. Register your bike with local and national registries. File ownership with insurance companies before a problem occurs.
  3. Do not leave your bike unattended. Do not store bikes unlocked inside home garages. Avoid locking your bike in high-risk areas of town. Never ever lock up your very expensive road or mountain bike and leave it unattended. Use staffed bike corrals or bring your bike inside with you whenever possible. Cover your bike when leaving it inside your car. Lock it twice when leaving it on car bike racks. Lock your bikes at home when leaving on vacation or if you live in a high crime area.
  4. Buy a good lock (or two!) when locking any bike on the street, secure both the wheels and frame.
  5. Remove, or take with you, any easily removed accessories. Use locking skewers on wheels, locking saddle rings and screwed-on lights. Install fixed baskets and panniers.
  6. Mark your bike so that it is easily identifiable by description.
  7. Buy a bike that you can comfortably lock up around town, like a $60-125 Denver Police Bike Auction bicycle!

Register your bike

If you own a bike, you should register it with your local police department. Any bike found and not claimed within 30-days in Denver, goes into the warehouse for auction every three months. If you live in Denver you can register your bike at the Denver Bike Registry (Google for your local bike registry website). Bike Denver offers more information including filing a police report, posting the theft on Craig's List, Social Media and searching EBay. Also register your bike on the National Bike Registry. If your bike is stolen, act fast, post flyers everywhere and at bike shops.

FAQs about attending the bike auction:
  • Upon arrival, you will be required to register for the auction with your driver's license to receive a bid ticket number with your name on it.
  • You will have about an hour to look over all inventory inside the warehouse. Make notes on the auction catalog provided. Circle the bikes you might be interested in, they will be auctioned in order of item number. 
  • The main auctioneer begins the bid (typically $20-30) increasing the amount as he sees fit. You cannot shout out an amount, instead you accept the current bid by raising your bid # card, don't be shy if you want it, bid, but keep in mind your budget. Assistant Auctioneers keep track of movement in the crowd of hundreds. If the main auctioneer points to you and says "sold.." you nod with approval (and a smile).
  • You may leave the auction at any time to claim your property by first paying at the registration desk with cash (no checks) or credit card (3.5% fee attached), with a city sales tax added to all purchase amounts. 
  • Walk your paid receipt back to the warehouse to claim your new bike. All purchases must be collected during the time window of the auction, so bring an enpty car(s) or rack. 

An unusual setting to buy a bike - at the Denver Bicycle Auction.
Bikes waiting to be adopted.
Someone bought this Schwinn bike for $175. Sorry to whomever lost it.
I was very happy with my new pink bike purchase yesterday. But I learned much more - I need to take some steps to insure the safety of ALL my bikes. They are like old (and new) friends to me and I want to keep them safe for a long time.

17 February 2015

"I need to sweat"

There is a lot of evidence that the harder you go the better

I was leaving pilates class today at Denver University, when I stopped to tease a fellow student sitting on a bench outside after the class had finished, "Aren't you staying for the third hour?" "No," she responded in a heavy German accent, looking unsatisfied, "I'm used to more active pilates. I need to sweat." For added affect, she repeated it another two times, "I need to sweat." "I need to sweat!"

Interesting. That makes three reminders in a row this week that when it comes to exercise - effort really matters.

First, I saw this to the point video by my fav Global Cycling Network (GCN) crew, which basically summed up this point - a short amount of hard effort = a long amount of moderate effort.

Making two hours really count! But not considering the fun had by the group riding 10-12 hours.

Basically GCN is preaching variability and purpose when it comes to training for cycling, while stating great gains can be made in just two hours a week. Great news for all of us during these cold winter months. Watch the GCN video here: Base Training - Fact Or Fiction? (Feb 6, 2015). It'll make you so happy to learn you don't need to ride for 4-hours in the rain.

Then this morning, I read an article in The New York Times from a couple of weeks ago, titled, Why Your Workout Should Be High-Intensity, which basically states even if you are suffering from chronic diseases (or tend to over-sensationalize injuries as I do), that giving a good solid effort is more beneficial than plodding along in standard go mode.

Then, as I mentioned before, I met the I need to sweat lady. Okay I get the message. Common sense already tells me that as humans, I am guessing we did a lot more flighting than we did fighting or we wouldn't have survived to be here today. I reason that genetics makes us far better at these quick bursts of effort than many of us would first believe.

I for one like the savings in time. I also like the mental entertainment. I also like the hope that there is some proven method that will make me a better faster cyclist. That is, until the next batch of studies proves that we should have been doing it all in a totally different way. Until then, I am going to be bursting forth in great effort and proclaiming I need to sweat!


Extra credit GCN video viewing: How To Train For Sprints
 

16 February 2015

Catching up with the Mens Hour Record

The Fastest Furthest in One Hour

First, let's be clear - it is not as simple as seeing how far you can ride in a one-hour period of time. There are lots of rules that guide this coveted record. There are also three types of hour records: Absolute (Best Human Effort), Classic (no aero equipment), and Unified. All the recent talk is about the Unified Hour Record and the new rule changes made in 2014 by the UCI. Since cycling's governing body, the UCI, announced the changes allowing for modern equipment, four men have officially lined up to attempt the record, three have been successful in beating the previous man's time.

Behind these men, picture the bike manufacturers wanting to show off their best engineered aero track bikes. After laying nearly dormant, chasing the hour record has become a big deal.

Recent News:

In 2013, before the rules were officially changed, American Colby Pearce set a Unified record in Colorado Springs, at altitude, with a distance of 30.948 miles. His achievement has not been retroactively recognized.

On September 18, 2014, retiring German road cyclist Jens Voigt lined up to give the record a well-publicized try. He put his name first on the books after the rule change, with a distance of 31.758 miles, and retired with great fanfare.

Next to line up was Austria's Matthias Brändle of IAM Cycling, he also rode at sea-level but at a different shorter velodrome in Aigle, Switzerland. He beat Jens Voigt's distance by less than a mile, with a distance of 32.219 miles on October 30, 2014.

Australian Jack Bobridge, unsigned by a pro team for the year, decided to devote himself to putting his name on the books with an attempt that fell short of Brändle's, with a distance of 31.876 miles on a track in Melbourne. He pedaled a distance that would have beaten Jen Voigt's record, but did not top Brändle's.

Next to the line was another Aussie, Rohan Dennis, of Team BMC. Deciding to ride on the same track that Jens Voigt used in Grenchen, Switerland, he succeeded on February 8, 2015, with a distance of 32.616 miles, setting the Australian Hour Record at the same time.

Update: On February 26, 2015, Dutch cyclist Thomas Dekker attempted and failed to beat the hour record in Mexico with a final distance of 32.448 miles in one hour. The gap to Rohan Dennis' current record was a mere 17 seconds. Again Dekker would have beat the distances of Jens Voigt and Matthias Brändle, but these two men were lucky to get their names on the book early.

The Unified Hour Record for cycling as it stands today:
  • The distance to beat was 30.882 miles, set by Ondrej Sosenka, in Moscow in 2005.
  • Jens Voigt - 31.758 miles, in Grenchen, Switzerland, on a Trek bike, 2014.
  • Matthias Brändle - 32.219 miles, in Aigle, Switzerland, on a Scott bike, 2014.
  • Rohan Dennis - 32.616 miles, in Grenchen, Switzerland, on a BMC bike, 2015.
We will see more future attempts at the record. When the rules changed, all eyes stayed on the amazing time trial abilities of Fabian Cancellara, but he claims to have now lost interest due to the UCI changes in equipment regulations. Cancellara was interested in breaking the old record, when it was more about the man than the machine.

Decorated track Olympian, Bradley Wiggins, is said to be planning for the hour record in June 2015. Once he hits the track, few will have the nerve to challenge the man many believe will set a leading distance that will stand for some time.

Other rider names in the news with big dreams include Alex Dowsett, Alex Rasmussen, and time trial World Champion Tony Martin.

Although Tony Martin is a remarkable time trialist, Bradley Wiggins combines time trialing ability with impressive track know-how and proven results. If anyone wants their name on the book, they better beat Wiggins to the track before June 2015. With the One-Day Classics about to start, followed by road racing obligations to teams, personal hour records and the resulting bike brand promotions might be delayed, until it is too late for most.

I would like to see an attempt by both Tony Martin and Bradley Wiggins. 

The first hour record is believed to have been set in 1873 by James Moore in Wolverhampton, England, riding an Ariel 49" high wheel bicycle. His distance was 23.331 km (14.49 miles!)

A 49" high wheel bicycle. The bike looks old, but the guy looks like the same one who works at my local bike shop. Some things never change.

Cycling Resources and Recommendations Updated

Tons of work

When I speak of tons of work, I am not only speaking of the hours I just spent on this snowy Presidents Day holiday in Colorado, reviewing my extensive Guide Page of Cycling Resources, but of the many hundreds of people out there creating an enormous variety of cycling information on a daily basis for cyclists around the world.

To update the Pedal Dancer® resource page - one I began in 2010 and have added to ever since - I clicked through to hundreds of web links. I wanted to be sure these fine people where still out there producing their goods and services just for you. What I found is that many have gone to the wayside, vanished or closed shop.

I noticed a number of the blogs or podcasts have given up.

Perhaps given up is too harsh a description, although I have heard three years is the marker for a blogger. Not surprisingly, some of the brightest have burnt out. If a blogger/podcaster is not hired away (like Dan Wouri to VeloNews) or grows into a much bigger project, hiring more workers (like Cycling Tips) through incredibly hard work (it is known that Shane Stokes at Cycling Tips never sleeps!), then it takes a lot of self motivation to keep any solo publication going.

It also takes many many hours. Those hours directly correlate with missing out on other things in life. For me it was taking care of my own health. I used to spend two to five hours a day exercising. Quick math will tell you it is not possible to do that level of exercise, and manage a job, home owner maintenance, pet care, maintain and grow relationships, and write daily on a blog. Life is going to fail dramatically in a few of those areas. If I made tons of money to match the tons of work, I might be able to justify it, but I don't, and I can't.

Some of those cycling publication authors who faded away wanted to refocus on their own riding or on their own family. This happened to The FredCast cycling podcast, after 9+ years on the air. David of The Fred Cast, also sited a distinct loss of interest in pro cycling for his reason to close shop. Which I admit, I suffer from as well. It is not simply my own loss of interest in reading daily about the pros, it is that most of the people I used to talk cycling to, have also lost interest.

The truth is we need other people in our lives to sustain interest and form our humor which helps us cope through the ups and downs. There is a reason poets and artists gather together. There is a reason comedians hone their craft around other comedians. There is a reason cycling media need each other. One blogger who authored the There and Back Again blog, truthfully stated he had "run out of things to say," after 4-years of blogging. 

I find it interesting to watch this happen to others when I too have pondered my future as a blogger. The fact remains that I love the bike, I love a mountain pass, I love compiling information. Yet I admit it is nice to find I am not alone in growing wary of pro cycling, or in justifying my returning interest to the individual who gets out and does it themselves (have you noticed the growth of GCN!).

Cycling is growing regardless of the future authenticity of pro cycling.

I respect the best of the best. I enjoy watching an athlete at the top of his or her field perform at their best. Yet this is not the only source of inspiration I see in cycling. I can see it in the weekend warrior who gets out and does their best. Perhaps since I am an over-injured cyclist myself, simply enjoying the act of pedaling a bike, now seems good enough.

One thing for certain, I have lost interest in local bike racing. I find the environment harsh and unwelcoming. I tried to cover it through stories and photography, but I find the intensity and egos make for an pleasant place to hang out. I go to a marathon or triathlon and feel the palpable energy of personal triumph that seems absent in local bike racing. I feel much more at home at those types of sporting events, or at the top elite level of cycling where human interest stories still grab my attention.

Apparently I have created a gap in cycling for myself. I seem to like the best of the best, or the least of the worst.

When I look at my photos of Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish, I smile, because it feels like I am glancing at a photo album of old friends. Yet yesterday, when I walked my dog to the local coffee shop, I noticed a man at a table in his long sleeve cycling jersey, slouched in a chair with a relaxed belly, chatting with a friend. He appeared as happy as can be. Nearby, rested his crusty dirty Eddy Merckx bike that was probably 23-years old and had clearly not been washed for the past 15 of those years. In no way was he elitist and in no way did I judge him. I looked at him admiringly and thought, how cool, he is out riding his bike and loving it. He represented many thousands of cyclists around this country.

I reason it can never be a bad idea to return to the simple things in life.

I explained to a friend recently that I felt I had done so much in cycling and was wondering what would be next.  I fondly remember being a newbie where even the slightest up in the road terrified me. I took clinics and read extensively. I met a great training partner and we both headed to France to ride stages of the Tour de France. I formed a women's cycling club in Boulder, Colorado, which sparked a national track champ - Cari Higgins. I went on bike tours to France and Italy. I rode many of the Colorado cycling events and even headed to France to ride the Etape du Tour. I hosted National and World Champions in my home. I joined a bike racing team in Boulder. I returned to Europe repeatedly to climb many of the highest Cols and best routes. I chased the Grand Tours and Classics. I started a blog, became media, worked so hard my own fitness suffered, but I learned the personalities in the biz and the inside scoop. I became a photographer, tried to contribute to the community, and then got disillusioned. 

Now what? I'm not sure, but it is very nice to know I am not alone in this evolution of cycling.

I absolutely agree with Steve, the author of the ex There and Back Again blog, when he stated, "I would like to share with you one last thing – the biggest surprise (and joy) to me was the relationship I built with so many of you..." Without a doubt - now that I have surpassed over one million visitors to my own blog - the greatest joy has been meeting so many people who have broadened and added immeasurably to my life.

Now please review my long list of updated CYCLING RESOURCES AND RECOMMENDATIONS. You know how I love compiling info! And then come back for more, because I am not giving up!


cycling resources and recommendations by pedal dancer
Holy cow that's a lot of information on one blog!

07 February 2015

Charity Bike Rides in Colorado 2015

Giving Cycling Events in Colorado

Every year thousands of citizens take to their bikes, pedaling to raise funds for a cause. Giving value to each pedal stroke by donating their personal time, effort and money to local and national causes. Some cyclists are motivated by personal reasons, perhaps an ill family member, friend or co-worker, others simply because giving is the right thing to do when one is able-bodied.

Contribution is a two way street in the cycling community of Colorado. Riders ride and donate, event organizers often give back to the communities that helps them make a nice ride on a bike for a purpose possible.

Sports and charity have a long tradition, and so, in recognition of the event organizers who select and organize under the name of charity, and with a nod of thanks to the riders who participate - I present this list of charity cycling events in Colorado for 2015 and a list of non-profits helping to advance cycling to youths and adults.

Colorado bike rides for A CAUSE in 2015:

Put your pedal power to good use by raising funds for your favorite charity bike ride. These cycling events make a direct impact in our community by asking participants to raise funds for a cause, or by giving some of their profits to local charities:

May ??, 2015 - Mission to Ride, Montrose, 60/40mi (road & MTB) - firefighters
May 16, 2015 - Triple C - Century, Broomfield, 43/62/101mi - A Precious Child and Broomfield Crossing Rotary Foundation
June 6, 2015 - Pedal 4 Possible, Louisville, 100mi 10/50/100K *new - Craig Hospital
June 6-8, 2015 - Death Ride Tour, Silverton, 225mi (3-days) - ALS
June 7, 2015 - Elephant Rock, Castle Rock, 40/62/101mi - allows you to join 7 charity teams
June 13, 2015 - Pedaling for Parkinson's, Denver, 55mi - Parkinson's
June 20, 2015 - Ride for the Child, Carbondale, 100mi 50/100km - CASA of the Ninth *new
June 27, 2015 - Bike MS Fort Collins Loop, Fort Collins (1-day loop) - MS
June 27-28, 2015 - Bike MS, Fort Collins (2-days) - Multiple Sclerosis
July 11, 2015 - Tour de Ladies, Parker, 30/62.5mi - Douglas County Crisis Center
July 18, 2015 - Bike to Build, San Luis Valley, 35/60/100mi - Habitat for Humanity
July 18-20, 2015 - Courage Classic, Summit & Eagle Counties - Children's Hospital
July 25, 2015 - SOS Outreach Eagle River, Beaver Creek, 42/68/100mi - Youth
July 25, 2015 - Grin & Barrett Black Canyon Buttkicker, Montrose, - Hospital & Cancer
August 8, 2015 - BStrong Ride, Boulder, 24/69mi - Cancer
August 8, 2015 - Red Rocks Century, Red Rocks, 33/50/62/100mi - 100% Colorado charities
August 15, 2015 - Colorado Park to Park Challenge, Denver to Winter Park - Wish For Wheels 
August 15, 2015 - Tour de Cure, Longmont, 10/50/62/100mi - Diabetes
August 29, 2015 - Venus de Miles, Longmont (womens ride), 33/51/100mi - Greenhouse Scholars
August 29, 2015 - CF Cycle For Life, Highlands Ranch, 20/45/65mi - Cystic Fibrosis
September 5, 2015 - The Axel Project Bicycle Classic, Ridgeway, 48/80mi -The Axel Project
September 13, 2015 - WackyW Bike Ride, Highlands Ranch, 100mi - Douglas County Schools
September 13, 2015 - Buffalo Bicycle Classic, Boulder, 35/50/70/100/110mi - CU Boulder
September 18-20, 2015 - The Denver Post Pedal the Plains, Eastern Plains (3-days) - The Denver Post Community Foundation
September 26, 2015 - Telluride 200, Telluride, 103/133/150/200mi  - Trips For Kids
September 26, 2015 - Tour de Cure, Colorado Springs, 10/50/62/100mi - Diabetes

Mountain Bike CHARITY Races:

May ??, 2015 - Mission to Ride, Montrose, 60/40mi (road & MTB) - firefighters
June 20, 2015 - Bailey Hundo, Bailey, 102.47mi (MTB) - Trips for Kids
June 20, 2015 - Bailey Hundito, Bailey, (MTB) - Trips for Kids

© Copyright content of this post by Karen Rakestraw / Pedal Dancer® is a trademark for all online content.© All Photos by Karen Rakestraw.
Cycling near Snowmass Colorado, Pedal Dancer
Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Bike events supporting BICYCLE SAFETY AND ADVOCACY through support of Bicycle Colorado in 2015:

It is worth acknowledging those bike events which give back to cyclists by donating to safety and advocacy within our community. These events listed below support Bicycle Colorado and thereby support rider safety and bicycle advocacy for the state of Colorado. (Bicycle Colorado Events Calendar)

May 2, 2015 - Gran Fondo Moab, Moab, Utah
May 16, 2015 - Triple C - Century, Broomfield, 43/62/101mi 
May 17, 2015 - McKee Classic Bike Tour, Loveland, 5/30/37/60mi
May 22-25, 2015 - Durango-Silverton Iron Horse Bicycle Classic, Durango (MTB)
June 6, 2015 - Buena Vista Bicycle Festival, Buena Vista 38/50/62/97mi
June 6-8, 2015 - Death Ride Tour, Silverton, 225mi (3-days) 
June 7, 2015 - Subaru Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, Castle Rock, 40/62/101mi
June 13, 2015 - Moots Ranch Rally, NW Routt County, (gravel), 50mi 
June 13, 2015 - Pedaling for Parkinson's, Denver, 55mi
June 13-20, 2015 - The Denver Post Ride The Rockies, (week-long tour) 
June 20, 2015 - Denver Century Ride, Denver (full, 3/4, 1/2, 1/4)
June 20, 2015 - Mountain Top Cycling Club Experience Ride, Woodland Park, 50/75/106mi
July 11, 2015 - Tour de Ladies, Parker, 30/62.5mi
July 11-12, 2015 - Triple Bypass, Evergreen-Avon, 120M/240mi
July 18, 2015 - Tour de Steamboat, Steamboat Springs, 25/40/110mi
July 25, 2015 - Bob Cook Memorial/Mt Evans Hill Climb, Idaho Springs
July 25, 2015 - SOS Outreach Eagle River, Beaver Creek, 42/68/100mi
August 1, 2015 - Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle, Copper Mountain, 82mi
August 1, 2015 - Colorado Bike Law Lookout Mountain Hill Climb, Golden, 4.5mi
August 29, 2015 - CF Cycle For Life (Cystic Fibrosis), Highlands Ranch, 20/45/65mi 
September 5, 2015 - The Axel Project Bicycle Classic, San Juan Mountains, 48/80mi
September 5-7 2015 - Steamboat Stage Race Citizens Ride, Steamboat Springs, 62mi
September 6, 2015 - West Elk Bicycle Classic, (paved, dirt) Gunnison-Crested Butte, 134mi
September 18-20, 2015 - The Denver Post Pedal the Plains, Eastern Plains, (3-days)
October 3, 2015 - IconLasik Tour of the Moon, Grand Junction, 62mi
October 17, 2015 - VeloSwap, Denver (annual bicycle equipment swap)

More event organizers who donate a share back into the community

Did you know that organizers of the Triple Bypass have donated over $1.3 million to various community charities over the past ten years? Your registration fees pay for far more than an excellent ride and a slice of fresh orange. "Team Evergreen actively supports bicycling and related activities to further the sport of cycling and promote its continued growth and safe enjoyment."

Although a for profit event, Ride the Rockies, the week-long bicycle tour that winds it's way through a section of Colorado every year, will award a $5000 grant to a non-profit organization based in each of the seven host cities in 2015. Ride the Rockies and Pedal the Plains multi-day event rides are both sponsored by The Denver Post and organized by the same people, Pedal the Plains donates to The Denver Post Community Foundation. You may also be guaranteed an entry into Ride the Rockies 2015 if you join Trips for Kids by March 1, 2015 and raise at least $500 for the non-profit.

Nationwide Bike Rides 2015

Every year these special event bike rides take place in various states across our nation.

Throughout the year - Tour de Cure (CO, CA, WA, OR, AZ, UT, MT, NE, AK, LA, AL, FL, AR, NM, TX, OK, TN, CT, ME, RI, NY, NJ, MA, RI, MD, VA, DC,  NC, SC, VA, GA, HI, IA, MN, IL, SD, WI, IN, MO, OH, KY, KS, MN, SD, ND, PA)
Throughout the year - 2015 Schedule Honor Rides (FL, AR, TX, CA, OH, NH, IL, WI, CO, DC, NV)
Throughout the year - Wounded Warrior, Soldier Rides (Boston, Germany, The Hamptons, Key West, Babylon)

More Charity Bike Rides NATIONWIDE:

Please refer to the website of Mad-Cycling to make a difference with your cycling by searching for charity rides across our great nation, with this one easy to use website: mad-cycling.com

Non-profit ORGANIZATIONS and Companies that benefit cycling in Colorado:
  • Bicycle Colorado - Mission to encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for cyclists in Colorado.
  • Bicycles for Humanity - Bicycles delivered through community based bike shops-provide sustainable mobility solutions for rural Africans.
  • Bike Denver - Denver’s bicycle advocacy organization and the leading non-profit to promote and encourage bicycling as an energy efficient, non-polluting, healthy and enjoyable transportation alternative in and around Denver.
  • Bike Depot - Donated Bicycles are recycled to low income local residents through Earn A Bike programs, offers affordable service and a Fix Your Bike program.
  • Bikes for Life - Children's Hospital Colorado launched Bikes For Life, a program created to help kids develop healthy lifestyle habits through bicycling, since 2011.
  • Bikes & Build, Inc. - Organizes cross-country bicycle trips which benefit affordable housing groups. Specifically funds projects planned and executed by young adults.
  • Cyclo Femme - Cyclo Femme is a Global Women's Cycling Day created TO HONOR THE PAST, to celebrate the present, the empower the future. 2015 date: May 10th.
  • Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson's - Sponsors programs that provide the information, tools and inspiration that can be used to live well with Parkinson’s today.
  • Dong's Cycling Pals - Founded in 2011 to honor our pal Dong Ngo, their goal is to inspire elementary school children to discover the joys of riding bikes. DCP offers fix a flat classes, and free repair and wrenching at charity events.
  • Fort Collins Bicycle Co-op - Works in the community to offer bike refurbishing and maintenance, community education and bike safety. Also gives bikes away to non-profit or for volunteered time.
  • Kids on Bikes - Vision that all children have the opportunity to experience the freedom and joy of owning their own bikes while gaining confidence.
  • People for Bikes - Founded by bicycle industry leaders with the mission of "putting more people on bikes more often by connecting millions of riders," they hope to be a single powerful voice for bicycling.
  • Project Recycle - Douglas county based non-profit, encouraging kids to earn a bike by improving in 3 areas: Respect, Attendance and Academic Growth. They recycle bicycles to benefit world youth.
  • Reasons 2 Ride - Inspiring a healthy, happy community by motivating people to connect with businesses and each other through bicycling.
  • Ride for Reading - To help children in low-income areas become healthy and literate.
  • The Axel Project - Axel Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the fundamental principle that a productive, happy life begins with bikes. RideTime is aimed at providing bicycles, gear, instruction, and educational materials to schools.
  • Trips for Kids - Operating in the United States, Canada, Israel and Sierra Leone. Comprised of three programs: youth programs, the Ride Program, and Earn a Bike Programs, as well as social enterprise.
  • Wish for Wheels - Founded in 2004, their goal is to give as many kids as possible brand new bikes and helmets, to bring communities together.
Assisted Cycling Tours
Other Colorado Bike Events and Bike Race Calendars by Pedal Dancer®

An extensive list of 2015 Colorado road cycling events, charity rides, gran fondos, century rides, cruiser rides, randonneurs, extreme long distance bike events, hill climbs, mountain bike events, gravel rides, bike races, week-long bike tours, fundraisers, bike swaps, and so much more can be found at this link: 2015 Colorado Cycling Events and Bike Rides and at 2015 Cycling Events in the Western United States

A long calendar list of 2015 Colorado bike race dates and links for Road Races, Criteriums, Hill Climbs, Time Trials, Track Races, Mountain Bike Races, Mid-week Races, Omniums and Stage Races can be found here: 2015 Colorado Bike Race Calendar

28 January 2015

A cold winter's thaw

It's 70 degrees in Denver!

Sorry to the inhabitants of the east coast of the United States and your severe recent winter storm, but I saw a man running around the park in Denver yesterday in short pants. I do remember summer, however distant a memory that might be, but this recent heat wave felt in Denver guarantees exciting conversational topics such as, "Why would anyone ride inside on a day like this," or "We went for a nice ride outside the other day," and my favorite, "You do plan to ride outside today don't you?" - and all this on a Tuesday in January.

Two days ago my niece Kristina, who was dreaming of moving to Denver, asked me, "Are there really marked seasons in Denver?" You bet there are. There is the I can wash my bike outside season, and the I can wash my bike outside but must remember to unhook the hose afterward season, and finally the no way in this frozen hell can I wash my bike outside season. That's three seasons, not four. That's all I care about.

When I shared with a friend the joy I experienced in washing all of my bikes outside last Sunday, he quickly asked, "Did you carefully towel off your chain rings and chain to remove every drop of water because they can rust!" He said this with such great concern, I smiled and responded, "Nop, I set them against the brick wall in the warm sun and let them heat like a TB patient at the Tuberculosis ward." Oh the joy of taking care of a bike in winter in Colorado.

Perhaps the period of not riding a bike outside makes me appreciate the act even more when the warm temperatures return to Colorado. Of course I can ride every day through winter if I wanted - and I know some crazy fools who do just that - but I am not one of them. I like a pleasant 50-70 degree temperature for optimal bike riding. I reason it is worth waiting for.

Sorry to have been away for a long bit

I haven't been posting lately, but had good reasons: no, it was not the fact that I was so disappointed in the Astana/UCI debacle (and thanks to everyone who worried I would never write again). Sure I was miffed, but as a blogger I get to write exactly how I feel about things and not what I am paid to write or think about things. My true absence was due in a small way to working on a new website and in a larger way to looking for a new job. Which I am still doing (although glaringly slacking at the moment). My Irish catholic guilt syndrome (or perhaps it's my American hard work ethic) always kicks in to make me feel that all work must be done before play commences.

But then this gorgeous weather happened and play just sprang forth with abandon.

All I know is I better find a real job before my season of I can wash my bike outside anytime becomes permanent, or it'll be a long broke jobless (but joyful) summer.

bucket of bike washing supplies
My bucket of joy

09 January 2015

Cycling Events in the Western United States 2015

Cycling Events near Colorado

Calendar List of Bike Rides and Cycling Events near Colorado for 2015

Now it is time to talk about those events just beyond the back door of Colorado. If you are a Colorado cyclists you might be ready to venture further fa field or an added cycling challenge in 2015. After the cancellation of the last day of Cyclo-cross National Championships in Austin, Texas today due to mud (please don't ask me to explain, nobody can explain), I would suggest not going south to Texas, instead go West my friends, go West!

Below is a list of events that may intrigue you to travel with your bike to the Western United States, namely California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Montana and Wyoming. Be adventurous, get out and ride new roads in 2015!

Please also see:

Pedal Dancer® 2015 Cycling Events in the Western United States (and some in Europe)
Pedal Dancer® 2015 Colorado Bike Race Calendar List
Pedal Dancer® 2015 Charity Bike Rides in Colorado

© Copyright content of this post by Karen Rakestraw / Pedal Dancer® is a trademark for all online content.  © All Photos by Karen Rakestraw.

Pros riding in Aspen Colorado, Pedal Dancer
Two Netapp Enduro pro riders stops to take a picture while on a training ride near Snowmass Colorado in 2014. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

2015 Colorado Cycling Events and Bike Rides in the Western United States

Cycling event RIDES near Colorado 2015: (CA, UT, NV, NM, OR, WA, AZ, IA, WY):
Western United States bike events including gran fondos, centuries, charity rides and week-long cycling events. For the traveling cyclist, here is a list of cycling events in the nearby states of California, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Iowa, and Wyoming. When you think "you've done it all" - there is always more.

January 17, 2015 - Shadow Tour Stagecoach Century Ocotillo, California
February 14, 2015 - Tour de Palm Springs, Palm Springs, California
February 26, 2015 - Solvang Century, Solvang, California
March 14-17, 2015 - Moab Skinny Tire Festival, Moab, Utah
March 21, 2015 - Tour de Cure, Phoenix, Arizona, 10/35/62.5mi
March 29, 2015 - Gorge Gravel Grinder (Roubaix Recon), The Dalles, Oregon
April 8-12, 2015 - Redlands Bicycle Classic, Redlands, California
April 16-19, 2015 - Sea Otter Classic, Monterey, California
April 11, 2015 - Mulholland Challenge - King of the Mountains, Malibu, California
April 26, 2015 - Primavera Century, San Jose, California
April 26, 2015 - Chico Wildflower Century, Chico, California
May 2, 2015 - Breathless Agony, Riverside County, California
May __, 2015 - Moonshadows in Moab, Moab, Utah
May 16, 2015 - Etape du California, Stage 7 of ATOC, Mt Baldy, California
May 17, 2015 - Santa Fe Century, Santa Fe, New Mexico
May 21, 2015 - Giro de Paso, Paso Robles, California
June 6, 2015 - Trans Am Bike Race, Oregon to Virginia (4233 miles)
June __, 2015 - Shadow Tour Fiesta Metric, San Diego, California
June __, 2015 - Ride Around the Bear, Big Bear, California
June 27, 2015 - Climb to Kaiser, Fresno, California
June 27-28, 2015 - Rough Riders 200, Taos/Angel Fire New, Mexico
June 27, 2015 - Giro Bella, Sonoma County California
July 11-12, 2015 - Cycle Oregon, Oregon (weekend ride)
July 11, 2015 - Death Ride, California Alps, California
July 30, 2015 - RAMROD, Mt Rainier, Washington
August __-__, 2015 - Bike MS Wyoming, Colorado-Wyoming
August 28, 2015 - Hoodoo 500 (relay/solo), south-central Utah  
September __, 2015 - Amtrak Century, Southern California
September 12, 2015 - LOTOJA, Utah to Wyoming
September 12-19, 2015 - Cycle Oregon, Oregon (week-long ride)
September __, 2015 - Viva Bike Vegas - Gran Fondo Pinarello, Las Vegas, Nevada
September 19, 2015 - Moab Century Tour, Moab, Utah
October 17, 2015 - Santa Barbara Century, Santa Barbara, California
November 14, 2015 - Palm Desert Century, Palm Desert, California
November 21, 2015 - El Tour de Tucson, Arizona (always near Thanksgiving!)

* many more rides in California listed and mapped at: TourofCalifornia.org
* Moab Munifest, Utah (unicycling festival is held every other year and will be back in 2016)

NATIONWIDE Bike Rides 2015

Every year these special event bike rides take place in various states across our nation.

Throughout the year - Tour de Cure (CO, CA, WA, OR, AZ, UT, MT, NE, AK, LA, AL, FL, AR, NM, TX, OK, TN, CT, ME, RI, NY, NJ, MA, RI, MD, VA, DC, NC, SC, VA, GA, HI, IA, MN, IL, SD, WI, IN, MO, OH, KY, KS, MN, SD, ND, PA)
Throughout the year - RAAM Cycling Challenge (TX, CA, MN, OH, CO)
Throughout the year - New Belgium Tour de Fat (DC, NC, GA, DC, CO, CA, ID, AR, MN, IL, TN)
Throughout the year - 2015 Schedule Honor Rides (FL, AR, TX, CA, OH, NH, IL, WI, CO, DC, NV)
Throughout the year - Wounded Warrior, Soldier Rides (Boston, Germany, The Hamptons, Key West, Babylon)

George Hincapie on a group ride in Colorado, Pedal Dancer
A group ride with George Hincapie near Aspen, 2014. . Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
CHARITY Events 2015

01/29/15 - Trips for Kids - Meet the Mountain Bike Pioneers Bash, Marin, CA

GRAN FONDOS 2015 (cyclosportive) events in the U.S.A. :

Gran Fondo (cyclosportive) events in the U.S.A. for the 2015 season in Utah, Arizona, California, New York, Utah, Oregon, New Mexico, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, Montana. Gran Fondos are timed events, challenge yourself not only by distance but by speed, these Gran Fondos might be worth a travel trip from Colorado with your bike in 2015.

February 21, 2015 - Camino Real Double Century Poker Run, Southern California
February 21-22, 2015 - Malibu Gran Fondo, Malibu, California
March 21, 2015 - Solvang Double Century, Solvang, California
March 28, 2015 - Javelina Chase Gran Fondo, Duncan, Arizona
April 4, 2015 - Gran Fondo Las Vegas, Nevada
April 11, 2015 - Mulholland Challenge, Malibu, California
April 12, 2015 - Gran Fondo Goldendale, Goldendale, Washington
April 12, 2015 - Campagnolo Gran Fondo San Diego, California
April 18, 2015 - Specialized Gran Fondo at Sea Otter Classic, California (MTB)
April 18, 2015 - Specialized Gran Fondo at Sea Otter Classic, California (Road)
April 25, 2015 - Zion Gran Fondo, Zion National Park, Utah
April 26, 2015 - SPY Belgian Waffle Ride, Carlsbad, California
April 26, 2015 - Sonora Grand Fondo, Sonora, California
May 2, 2015 - Gran Fondo Moab, Moab, Utah
May 16, 2015 - Gran Fondo Salt Lake, Utah 
May 16, 2015 - Etape du California, Stage 7 of ATOC, Mt Baldy, California
May 23, 2015 - Heartbreak Hundred (also 202mi), Los Padres National Forest, California
May 25, 2015 - Evergreen Health 7 Hills Gran Fondo, Kirkland, Washington
May 31, 2015 - Gran Fondo Leavenworth, Leavenworth, Washington
June 20, 2015 - Gran Fondo Ellensburg, Ellensburg, Washington
June 20, 2015 - Chafee 150 Gran Fondo, Sandspoint City Beach, Idaho
June 20, 2015 - Tour de Fronds, Powers, Oregon
June 27-28, 2015 - Gran Fondo Kootenai, Libby Montana
June 28, 2015 - Baker City Gran Fondo, Baker City, Oregon
July 7, 2015 - Oregon Gran Fondo, Cottage Grove, Oregon
July 12, 2015 - Cache Valley Gran Fondo, Logan, Utah
July 18, 2015 - Jederman Gran Fondo, Cheny, Washington
July 25, 2015 - 4 Summit Challenge, Cascade, Idaho
August 1-2, 2015 - Double Divide Gran Fondo, Helena, Montana
August 2, 2015 - Willamette Gran Fondo, Philomath, Oregon
August 15, 2015 - Montana Hell Ride, Hamilton, Montana
August 28-31, 2015 - Hoodoo 500, Southern Utah, 300/500mi
September 5, 2015 - Mammoth Fall Century and Gran Fondo, Mammoth Lakes, California
September 12-13, 2015 - Giro di San Diego Granfondo, Solano Beach, California
September 19, 2015 - Providence St Mary Grand Fondo, Walla Walla, Washington
September __, 2015 - Viva Bike Vegas - Gran Fondo Pinarello, Nevada
September __, 2015 - Gran Fondo Italia - Beverly Hills, California
September 26, 2015 - Coeur d'Fondo, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
September 27, 2015 - Gran Fondo Winthrop, Winthrop, Washington
September __, 2015 - Gran Fondo Italia - Beverly Hills, California
October 3, 2015 - OC Gran Fondo, Orange County, California
October 3, 2015 - Levi's GranFondo, Santa Rosa, California
October 10, 2015 - Gila Monster Gran Fondo, Silver City, New Mexico
October 10, 2015 - Tri-States Gran Fondo, Mesquite, Nevada
October 18, 2015 - El Grande Fondo Los Angeles Crest, Los Angeles, California
November 21, 2015 - El Tour du Tucson, Tucson, Arizona

2015 cycling Bike Rides in Iowa, New England, New York, South Carolina and North Carolina, dare to go east:

May 17, 2015 - Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York - The True Experience, New York
July 19-25, 2015 - Ragbrai, Iowa
October 4, 2015 - Gran Fondo New England, Rhode Island and Connecticut 
October 24, 2015 - Gran Fondo Hincapie, Greenville, South Carolina
November __, 2015 - Bookwalter Binge, Asheville, North Carolina

* Full list of Gran Fondo in the U.S.A and around the world at: GranFondoGuide.com
* Also see the bike ride list by Active.com of 12 Must-Do Bike Rides In 2015.

Col du Tourmalet France, Pedal Dancer
Final climb up Col du Tourmalet. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®
 
Cycling Bike Rides in CANADA 2015, dare to go north:

August 22, 2015 - RBC GranFondo - Banff Canada
September 12 2015 - RBC GranFondo Whistler Canada

Looking for an INTERNATIONAL challenge in 2015?

Recommended reading by Pedal Dancer®: Best Sportives and Gran Fondos (in the world!)

The Haute Route - one of the greatest cycling challenges in the world! Learn more about the Pyrenees and Dolomites Swiss Alps Haute Routes.

The Vicious Cycle Blog writes about the Haute Route here: A Guide. The Vicious Cycle also lists the major citizen sportifs in Europe including: Paris-Roubaix, La Marmotte, Etape du Tour, London-Paris, Haute Route Dolomites Swiss Alps, Haute Route Pyrenees, Le Ventoux, Time-Megève Mont Blanc, L’Ariégeoise, Le Mans, and l’Heraultaise. To learn more about these international timed cycling events in Europe please read sportive guide.


Maroon Bells Colorado, Pedal Dancer
A very nice bike ride to Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado, 2014. Photo by Karen Rakestraw of Pedal Dancer®

Colorado Bike Events and Bike Race Calendars by Pedal Dancer®

An extensive list of 2015 Colorado road cycling events, charity rides, gran fondos, century rides, cruiser rides, randonneurs, extreme long distance bike events, hill climbs, mountain bike events, gravel rides, bike races, week-long bike tours, fundraisers, bike swaps, and so much more can be found at this link: 2015 Colorado Cycling Events and Bike Rides

A long calendar list of 2015 Colorado bike race dates and links for Road Races, Criteriums, Hill Climbs, Time Trials, Track Races, Mountain Bike Races, Mid-week Races, Omniums and Stage Races can be found here: 2015 Colorado Bike Race Calendar.

Also Charity Bike Rides in Colorado 2015 another event calendar list by Pedal Dancer®