Bear Creek Time Trial Series
If you’ve never ridden in any kind of bicycle race before, a low key time trial is a great way to start. You don’t have to worry about equipment. You don’t have to worry about riding in a pack of rabid cyclists. Even though there are cyclists starting ahead and behind you at 20 second intervals, you’re not racing against them, only against yourself, as you tell your legs, in best Jens Voigt fashion, “You shut up legs, you stop complaining and do what I tell you.” The Bicycling Racing Association of Colorado sanctions two large TT series in the metro area, one in the Spring at Cherry Creek Reservoir, the other in the Fall at Bear Creek Lake Park. Both are open to all comers on (almost) any kind of bike, but Bear Creek is a better place to start. There are only four races (Cherry Creek has seven), the competition is low-key (cyclo-cross season sucks away a lot of super-fast racers), the signup process is less uncertain, and by September you’ve probably been riding long enough to find a form that will allow you to go all out for 15-30 minutes without bursting a gut. Racers are categorized by skill, age, gender, (sometimes all three) and there are two retro categories (fast and faster) for what are essentially citizen racers. Retro just means you’ll be using a regular road bike without any special accoutrements: no deep wheels, no skinsuit, no aero bars. Just your and your bike and a stopwatch. You can read more details about this year’s race here.
The seven mile course is entirely on Park roads and is open to traffic, so the center line is enforced and you have to pay attention to errant motorists gawking at the scenery. The new course is a good one. It eliminates a couple of sharp U-turns, keeps the signature sweeping turns through the park, and adds a fine climb up to the top of Mount Carbon dam. Access the park by car from C-470 and Morrison Rd.
The 2011 Bear Creek Course is shown below for comparison and historical purposes.
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