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Cycle to the Summit

August 12, 2024

For road cycling enthusiasts seeking the ultimate test of endurance, the Broadmoor Cycle to the Summit race up Pikes Peak is a dream come true. Imagine pedaling your way up one of the most iconic mountains in the United States – Pikes Peak, also known as America’s Mountain. This annual event, produced by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and sanctioned by USA Cycling, presents a thrilling opportunity for cyclists to push their limits and experience the exhilarating journey from base to summit. The team at Strambecco considers it to be one of the Best Road Cycling Events in Colorado and the Rockies.

What makes Cycle to the Summit truly unique is that it is the same course that the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill climb has been using for auto racing since 1916. Cyclists will negotiate over 156 turns for 12.5 mi and climb over 4,700 ft. to the summit. Those that complete the grueling race to the summit of Pikes Peak before the cutoff have the opportunity to join the celebrated “Summit Society”, cementing your place among fellow summit conquerors.

Event & Course Info

Situated in the stunning Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, Pikes Peak, just outside Colorado Springs, CO, stands tall at 14,115 feet above sea level. The Cycle to the Summit is not only a competitive hill climb but also a celebration of the camaraderie and shared love for cycling. The race features multiple medal categories, ensuring that cyclists of varying proficiency can engage in the challenge. The event’s inclusivity is amplified by the addition of a Gran Fondo, a community fun ride, which doesn’t require a USA Cycling membership for participation. However, for those aiming to tackle the competitive race, membership with both USA Cycling and the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado (BRAC) is mandatory.

The journey begins at an elevation of 9,380 feet, offering a challenging uphill start that quickly tests riders’ legs and lungs. With a race start time of 6:13 am, participants are greeted by the quiet serenity of the mountain as the sun begins to rise, casting a warm glow on the landscape. From there, cyclists navigate a demanding route, ascending over 4,700 feet in elevation gain. With three rest areas strategically placed along the course – Glen Cove, Devils Playground, and Summit – participants can refuel with water, Powerade, and light snacks. As riders ascend, they are treated to ever-changing vistas, from lush forests to rocky outcrops, and the panoramic views of Colorado’s high-altitude landscapes. However, as cyclists near the summit, the terrain becomes more demanding, with steep gradients and thinning air, adding an extra layer of intensity to the challenge.

There is a funnel finish at the 14,115′ high finish line, and once the challenge has been completed, riders can enter the Summit Visitors Center for hospitality services. The descent poses its own set of unique challenges, with mandatory brake checks conducted at the Glen Cove gate to avoid the risk of overheated rims causing tire failure. The Cycle to the Summit Festival & Awards Area is located back downhill near the starting location.

Since the event takes place at high altitude, acclimatization is essential. For those not accustomed to high-altitude rides, spending several days practicing at elevations of at least 6,000 feet or higher is advised. Hydration is key, with hyperhydration before traveling to Colorado Springs recommended to oxygenate muscles. Weather conditions can be unpredictable on the mountain, ranging from sunny warmth to arctic chill, so participants must be prepared for all scenarios. Be sure to take a look at the official 2023 Tech Guide for all of the event details.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

The official lodging partner for the event is Kinship Landing, while other options include the Element Hotel and the Best Western Executive Inn. Due to the size of the city, you will have plenty of vacation rentals to choose from, if you prefer to have a more home-like experience while in town for Cycle to the Summit. For those who appreciate the simplicity of sleeping under the stars, the Pike National Forest boasts approximately 250 well-equipped campsites, promising nights of serenity and connection with nature.

Downtown Colorado Springs boasts a vibrant and diverse culinary scene that caters to every palate. From upscale bistros to trendy cafes, this area is a gastronomic haven offering an array of flavors and styles. Visitors can savor locally sourced ingredients in farm-to-table eateries, indulge in international cuisine spanning from Mexican to Japanese, and explore innovative fusion concepts that redefine traditional dishes. Some local favorites worth visiting are The Burrowing Owl, Sweet Elizabeth’s for a treat, The Rabbit Hole, and Four by Brother Luck.

Colorado Springs is 61 miles south of Denver and is the state’s second most populous city. Sitting near the base of Pikes Peak, it offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventurers to enjoy. Encompassing a vast expanse of nearly 1,000,000 acres of accessible public land, the Pike National Forest is a treasure trove waiting to be explored. With an extensive network of trails that stretches over 225 miles, there’s a path for every type of explorer.

With its stunning natural landscapes of the surrounding Rocky Mountains, it is a paradise for hikers and nature lovers. Favorite trails are the Manitou Incline, Garden of the Gods, and Barr Trail, which leads to the summit of Pikes Peak. These trails offer breathtaking views, unique rock formations, and opportunities to spot wildlife.

Colorado Springs is also a fantastic destination for mountain biking, thanks to its diverse terrain and well-maintained trails. The North Cheyenne Cañon Park and Palmer Park are popular spots for mountain biking, offering a mix of technical trails and scenic beauty.

Lastly, known for its iconic rock formations, Colorado Springs provides excellent opportunities for rock climbers. Garden of the Gods is a renowned climbing destination, featuring towering sandstone spires and challenging routes for climbers of all abilities. The nearby Red Rock Canyon Open Space and Shelf Road also offer great climbing options. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, there are routes to suit your skill level.

Other popular mountain towns at the base of Pikes Peak that are worth exploring are Manitou Springs, Woodland Park, Cripple Creek and Cañon City.

Related Events

The Pikes Peak APEX is 3-day mountain bike stage race that is also produced by Colorado Springs Sport Corp. While not directly related, the premiere 719 Ride from Gran Fondo National Series is another must-do road cycling event in Colorado Springs and part of the Gran Fondo World Tour.


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