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Salida 76 2024

September 14

gravel cyclist at Salida 76
Last Updated July 2, 2024

Set against the backdrop of one of Colorado's coolest small towns, Salida 76 offers a perfect blend of rugged terrain, breathtaking scenery, and a vibrant community atmosphere that celebrates the essence of gravel cycling. Whether you're a seasoned gravel rider seeking a challenge or a newcomer eager to experience the thrill of off-road cycling, this event held in September promises an unforgettable experience.

The teams at Adventure Fit and Team Evergreen Cycling have put together a unique combination of challenging routes and scenic beauty, that attracts cyclists from near and far, all drawn by the allure of exploring undiscovered terrain and pushing their limits in the company of fellow enthusiasts. Whether you're drawn to the Banquet Distance's 76 miles of epic climbs and thrilling descents or prefer the Lite Distance's condensed version, there's something for everyone at Salida 76.

Strambecco rates Salida 76 as one of the Best Gravel Cycling Race Events in the Rocky Mountains and one of the Best Gravel Cycling Race Events in Colorado. The Salida 76 isn't just a cycling event; it's a celebration of the spirit of exploration, community, and the joy of two wheels spinning beneath you. So mark your calendars, pack your bags, and get ready to experience the ultimate gravel cycling experience at Salida76.

Below you will find information on course details, lodging, dining, and other outdoor activities to do while in town for Salida 76.

Event & Course Info

Salida 76 is a unique gravel cycling event with two distance options: the Banquet Distance, covering 76 miles with 7,000 feet of vertical gain, and the Lite Distance, spanning 76 kilometers (47 miles) with 4,500 feet of elevation gain. Both routes offer a thrilling mix of champagne gravel and rugged beauty, promising a memorable ride through Colorado's high plains and mountains.

Banquet Distance: 76 Miles, 7,000’ Elevation Gain
This demanding journey starts and finishes at Riverside Park in Downtown Salida. Riders face a stout initial climb, thrilling descents, and expansive views that highlight Colorado’s natural beauty. Aid stations are strategically placed at miles 17, 36.5, and 60, providing essential snacks, water, and hydration mix.

Lite Distance: 76 Kilometers, 4,500’ Elevation Gain
This course offers a condensed version of the Banquet route’s highlights. It includes access to private land and features a short hike-a-bike section at mile 22. Aid stations are located at miles 17 and 31, ensuring support along the way.

Packet pickup is on Friday at the Salida Scout Hut in Riverside Park. Ample parking and free camping are available, with reservations required for camping spaces. Absolute Bikes will provide on-course mechanical support, and cutoff times are set to ensure rider safety.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

Where to Stay in Salida

While there is no official lodging partner for Salida 76, the area offers a diverse range of accommodations, from charming bed and breakfasts and rustic cabins to modern hotels and vacation rentals, providing visitors with a blend of comfort and scenic views. The town's lodging options cater to various budgets and preferences, ensuring a pleasant stay amidst the stunning landscapes of the Arkansas River Valley.

Many participants choose to use the free camping available at Marvin Park near the start, however, some of our favorite hotels include the Amigo Motor Lodge, Mountain Goat Lodge, Manhattan Hotel Salida, and the Surf Hotel in nearby Buena Vista. For those who prefer a more home-like experience, check out some of the many vacation rental options that suit a variety of needs from condos to riverside guest suites. Finally, there is great dispersed camping in the area as well as one-of-a-kind camping experiences, while RV friends can enjoy the Salida RV Resort and Four Seasons RV Park.

Dining in Salida

Salida, CO, boasts a vibrant culinary scene with a mix of farm-to-table eateries, casual cafes, and fine-dining restaurants, showcasing local ingredients and diverse cuisines. The town's dining options reflect its artistic and community-focused spirit, offering something for every palate. Check out Eater's List of recommended restaurants to hit while you're in town.

Outdoor Activities around Salida

Nestled in the heart of the Rockies, Salida, Colorado, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure. As the summer heat mellows into the crisp embrace of fall, September offers the perfect backdrop for a range of athletic pursuits. Mountain biking on the Monarch Crest Trail is a must for any serious rider. This high-altitude trail, starting at over 11,000 feet at Monarch Pass, provides thrilling descents, technical singletrack, and breathtaking views. With the weather cooler and the trail typically less crowded in September, riders can fully appreciate the golden hues of aspens in autumn, adding an extra layer of beauty to their ride. The trail stretches approximately 35 miles, challenging even seasoned bikers with its significant elevation gain and parts of the trail reaching above 12,000 feet. It's essential to bring plenty of water, layers for changing weather, and a camera to capture the stunning vistas.

Kayaking on the Arkansas River is another exhilarating activity, with Salida's location along the river making it a prime spot for whitewater adventures. The river's flow in September offers a mix of Class II to Class IV rapids, suitable for both intermediate and advanced paddlers. The cool, clear waters and the stunning backdrop of the Collegiate Peaks provide an unforgettable experience, especially through the scenic Browns Canyon National Monument. Paddlers should note that the water temperature is cooler in September, so a wetsuit or drysuit is recommended. Always paddle with a partner and ensure you have the necessary safety gear, including a helmet and PFD, while keeping an eye out for bighorn sheep and bald eagles along the riverbanks.

For athletes who prefer to keep their feet on the ground, trail running in the Arkansas Hills is an unparalleled experience. The hills just north of Salida offer a network of trails that vary in difficulty, providing runners with options ranging from easy, rolling terrain to steep, challenging climbs. In September, the cooler temperatures and the changing colors of the foliage create an idyllic setting for trail running. Popular trails include North Backbone, Sand Dunes Loop, and Spiral Drive, each offering panoramic views of the Arkansas River Valley and the surrounding mountains. Trail runners should be prepared with shoes that have a good grip, a hydration pack, and lightweight layers for variable weather, as well as the possibility of encountering wildlife such as deer, elk, and a variety of bird species.

Salida, CO, in September is a paradise for outdoor athletes. Whether you’re carving down the Monarch Crest Trail on your mountain bike, paddling through the rapids of the Arkansas River, or running amidst the stunning landscapes of the Arkansas Hills, Salida offers a diverse array of activities that highlight the natural beauty and adventure potential of this vibrant mountain town.

Related Events

Team Evergreen Cycling is the oldest and largest cycling club in Colorado dedicated to both a love of cycling and giving back to the community.   They host and organize many local rides and events throughout the year.  They also produce the iconic Triple Bypass and Mount Evans Hill Climb events and several up-and-coming events including the Beti Bike Bash, Salida 76, The Hundo, and CO2UT.  Team Evergreen Cycling's mission is to build the cycling community by expanding rider experiences, hosting compelling events, and channeling thoughtful philanthropic impact. A non-profit, the organization has donated nearly $3M to local charitable and advocacy organizations.

The partner organizer of the Salida 76, Adventure Fit, also produces the premier Old Man Winter Rally taking place in February.

For multi-sport endurance athletes looking for other events in the state of Colorado and the broader Rocky Mountain region, be sure to check out our full list of Strambecco Best-rated guides:

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