Tuesday, April 3, 2018

John Mangin's Colorado SR600 Tips!

At the beginning of last September, John Mangin became the third rider to complete the Colorado Front Range Super Randonnée 600. Here are his tips! These are geared to a two-stage ride, 300km to Woodland Park, sleep, and return:

  • Start early.  I started at 4 am, 3 am might have been better to allow for more natural sleep in Woodland Park.
  • At the bathroom station in Nederland there is now a water fill station on the north side of the building.
  • Woodland Park makes a lot of sense for the overnight.  Most restaurants close at 10pm almost everything by 11pm.  I ordered Jimmy Johns subs delivered to the hotel so I had food when I got there.  I did not have to ride to get food and also had a sandwich for day 2.  Had I started at 3 am I would have arrived before the County Market closed at 10pm.
  • It will be chilly riding to Deckers on the return.
  • Check the open hours at Deckers.  I was there around 8:30 pm and the restaurant was still open.  This won't be the case on the return.
  • Potentially very important:  At the mtb trailhead for Buffalo Creek there is a tent with snacks, water, Gatorade, and bike tools.  I was able to get a spare water bottle, which was important due to the heat.  On the return ride, if Deckers is closed, this could be very useful.
  • Witter Gulch is tough.  Not much more I can say about that!
  • I hit Echo Lake during the day both ways so it was open but this would be a control to check the hours on, depending on when one starts.  I was almost empty from Conifer to Echo Lake, but it was also hot.
  • There are plenty of service in Idaho Springs.

I think being very familiar with the route is important.  There are plenty of services along the way and I never had any trouble with food or water, despite temps that were in the upper 90's.  I did have a 100oz camel back, and this proved to be a good choice due to the heat.  I would also suggest a hard look at gearing.  This may seem obvious, but I made some changes to my drivetrain for this ride and it made a major difference.  

Be prepared to ride slow.  This is difficult mentally, for me I figured I would have the right mindset after LEL and that proved valuable.
I did not hit any inclement weather but there is obviously potential for that.  Aside from the heat I had near-perfect weather.  It was still very cool in the early mornings.

I will say that this is a spectacular route and well-put together.  It seems remote but there were always services close by if you know where to look and consider open hours.

John's bike at the Eldora checkpoint

From John's and Corinne's experience riding in early September, it does get colder at night than in mid-summer. But the days are reasonably long. For my July ride, I started at 3am, which did work out well.

Congrats to John, and encouragement to future aspirants!


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