Route 24 08/27/2014
Route 24 is one of those roads you end up taking when you decide to ignore the GPS for a day. A road that looked interesting on the map, made up of lots of twisting bends and rapid elevation gains. It is labeled one of Americas Scenic Byways, “Top Of The Rockies”, usually a good sign that you are in for a spectacular ride. I found the weather in the Rockies some of the hardest to read anywhere I have traveled. It can go from blistering sun, to thunderstorms and rain, to windy cold descents all within and an hour, weather that makes for great shots but difficult riding. Climbing starts at the town of Minturn, a charming one street town, the home of Weston Snowboards. You enter Main Street after passing through some beautiful rolling meadows before heading towards Cooper Mountain Ski Resort and the road up to Battle Mountain. First climbing gradually, and then steeply, as you pass an old abandoned mining town and the mountain community of Red Cliff as you pass over a bridge and it lies beneath you in the gorge. The road up is quiet and holds a steady grade, but the air is thin making the climbing tough. You top out as you round the bend at the entrance to Cooper Mountain Resort at 10,500ft one of the oldest ski resorts in Colorado, and you pass over the Continental Divide at Tennessee Pass the dividing line between the San Isabel National Forest and the The White River National Forest. The descent down the other side rivals most of the Alpine climbs before you roll out onto a massive flat open plain stacked on both sides with snow capped peaks and Galena Mountain. From there you roll straight on towards Leadville, one of Americas most famous mountain bike communities and the home of America’s Hall Of Fame for mining.