Spoke Talk: A roadie favorite — the P’burg loop
July 29, 2014
Want to see some different scenery from the saddle of your road bike? The "P'burg loop" is a short, fun loop that begins and ends in the South Routt community of Phippsburg.
The 15-mile route is all paved, and it offers a great variety of terrain that can be enjoyed by cyclists of all abilities.
One of the great things about this ride is that it can be done as a "stand-alone" ride if you are looking for a 60- to 90-minute outing, or it can be added on to the traditional 40-mile Oak Creek/Stagecoach loop if you want to spice up that old favorite.
If you drive to Phippsburg, there are several safe parking spots on either side of Colorado Highway 131.
Begin by riding south through town on Colo. 131 and turning west onto Routt County Road 15. Initially the road climbs gently to the southwest before the terrain becomes more rolling.
After you climb up out of the Yampa floodplain, you are treated to spectacular views of the Flat Tops as well as interesting volcanic features not seen on other local rides.
Arguably the best feature of this ride is the light traffic. On a typical ride you might see one or maybe two vehicles on C.R. 15. (Even though traffic is scarce, remember to keep to the right and be considerate of the locals.)
After about 3 miles, at the intersection with C.R. 132, there is a short but steep descent with a sweeping left turn. Be aware of scattered loose gravel as you sail down this fun little pitch and see how far your momentum will carry you before you have to resume pedaling.
As you continue toward Yampa, the paved road becomes C.R. 17 and the rolling terrain gives way to very pleasant flat pedaling with nice views to the east and south.
When you arrive in Yampa, turn south on Main Street for a cold drink and potty stop at the convenience store or the mercantile before you head back to Phippsburg.
The 6 mile stretch of Colo. 131 between Yampa and Phippsburg is the antithesis of the first half of the ride; it's downhill (slightly), it's straight and there is more traffic. But if you are riding with a friend or two, it is really a fun place to live out your Tour de France fantasy and practice pace-line riding.
Without too much work, your group can maintain a 22- to 25-mph pace and cover the 6 miles in about 15 minutes. If you have a friendly tailwind, you can even hold 30 mph and make it in 12 minutes.
Just remember to be very aware and considerate of the highway traffic as you rotate through your pace-line. Don't even think of riding two abreast on this stretch. Of course, if hammering down Colo. 131 is not your cup of tea, you always have the option of retracing the quiet and pleasant route back to Phippsburg on C.R. 17 and 15.
Enjoy the ride!
Paul Matheny is a Routt County Riders member and volunteer president of the board.