Spoke Talk: Hayden’s Ride the Cog a great event | SteamboatToday.com

Spoke Talk: Hayden’s Ride the Cog a great event

Spoke Talk is a weekly column by the Routt County RIders.

A late Friday afternoon text "conversation" went something like this:

Got the new wheels installed on my bike.

Cool.

Riding tomorrow?

Yep, the COG out in Hayden.

I'll sign up!

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We're gonna ride coal mine road to it.

Uh, wait, what?

Reluctance aside, we pedal Routt County Road 27, where the surrounding hills are sprouted green, a nice backdrop for a ride as the birds are out in full force: meadowlarks singing, mountain blue birds swooping, a red tailed hawk staring and in the sky, a heron floating.

By mid-morning, the three of us roll up to registration. No waiting is necessary as friendly volunteers get us prepped. I confidently mention we're doing the 25-plus-mile "gravel grinder." I quickly discover other riders have paper plate numbers on their mountain bikes. Why are we the only ones on road bikes? And this is a timed event … huh?

I suspect we've done something remarkably stupid or foolhardy, at best.

In less than a mile, we make a right turn on Routt County Road 76 and up the gravel-covered road. Gravel becomes dirt, and foolhardy sets in; 28 mm road tires will test traction skills, that's for sure. As we crawl up the 12-percent grade, I resort to standing and seated climbing, trying my best to keep from spinning out or putting a foot down. At the crest, we've already climbed 900 feet, in less than 2 miles. Ugh.

Fortunately, we can use that elevation to carry us further along the route. We ride with Emily on a shiny new 27.5+ mountain bike. She blasts with confidence and skill, proclaiming, "This is the first mountain bike I've ever owned!"

Bravo Emily, bravo!

We are greeted by Ryan and Rachel at mile 14, the Hayden locals who man the rest stop table stocked full of snacks and coolers of ice cold drinks. Local ride organizer, Wes Dearborn, points out local viewpoints. Captivated by the scenery, cyclists cram potato chips into their mouths — salty, fried potato things. Yum!

We continue south on Routt County Road 80 and climb another dirt hill. It's easy to be distracted by the expansive beauty as we cruise the remaining 10 miles back to town. The post-ride meal, music and locally brewed beer are served up in style at Hayden's HiWay 40 Grill.

The Hayden Ride the Cog is a great event, low-key and simple affair, and the snacks, food and entertainment are all put together for a great ride. The volunteers were fantastic, and regardless of my initial reservations on bike choice, it's a ride on my to-do list next year.

Routt County Riders is the local source for grassroots advocacy and information for all types of cycling, be it road, gravel, trail, dirt jump or BMX. If you need help or advice, contact us.

Find us at facebook.com/rcriders, routtcountyriders.org or email rcriders@routtcountyriders.org.

Alan Perkins is a Routt County Riders board member and volunteer.