Ripple Creek Pass. Flat Top Wilderness-Steamboat. RIDE REPORT

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Bicycle Passport Forums Bicycle Passport Forum 34. RIPPLE CREEK PASS Ripple Creek Pass. Flat Top Wilderness-Steamboat. RIDE REPORT

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  • #5386
    Mark Nadeau
    Keymaster

    The wind. I will always remember the wind. How many songs, movie titles, and books can you name that describe the wind? It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Spectacular in late September. This Pass may be amongst my Top 5 in the State (I’ve not done them all as yet). Regardless, you cannot miss the Flat Tops as a distinguishing and BEAUTIFUL part of the State of Colorado. When you ride Ripple Creek Pass in the fall, you are immersed in the yellow gold of the aspen.

    It was a Red Flag Day in Colorado when I rode up and over this pass. Howling wind gusts at 35+ mph. Otherwise, just strong wind coming from the west to the east. And, of course, I was headed west straight into the wind. It was a work-out. A hard sweaty work-out. But OMG was it fantastically beautiful on this day with Sun shinning and sparkling through the aspen groves.

    From Dunckley Pass (yes, you can combine the two) you must stop to take in the vistas. And, then? Ride! From the base of Ripple Creek to the top, there really is not much traffic. On this day I was pedaling alone. Not my preferred approach, but hey, on this windy day there was no way to chat with anyone and be heard (most time I chat and no one listens, so I am used to it). On this Saturday, I was panting and grinding up the steeps. It is dirt, and a lot of CDOT slush gray gravel is all over the place (making for wonderful dust when the rare car or truck or OHV passes by). [Talk to me about government contracts that make no sense].

    The road winds its way up through some lower cabins and horse properties, along with a couple of outfitters. As it happened, we (my good wife and SAG) picked a day when Archery Hunting had closed and Rifle had not opened. Wonderful! I as able to pedal along and enjoy the wonder as I passed by Vaughn lake and climbed towards the top. Sometimes, the link between bicyclist and the bicycle machine is something to behold. Riding along through the forest by myself was terrific, lots of time to think about life and nature (how many bears are in these woods anyway?). It is a steep grade in places. I was trying so hard (using gears and cadence) not to fall below 7 mph. But, I just couldn’t hold it.

    The top comes fast and there is no major signage. But, you will see the Forest Service Map over on an outlook, and it is there the Pass is marked. The descent is great fun, one or two tight corners, but otherwise you can roll for about 10 miles down the mountain and into the White River drainage. The river is wide and just takes your breath away as you ride along it.

    I stopped at the North Fork Campground and changed to a road bike. It was hard pack dirt at this point, and I knew the pavement was fast approaching. A mile later, the jiggling stopped and smooth mccaddon was underneath my zipp wheels. Ahhh….

    From there, about 30 miles into Meeker, CO. It is a rolling ride tracking the river the whole way. Massive cow pastures and horse properties. Just past the old Ghost Town of Buford, you come upon the collection of multi-million dollar homes sitting along the river. These are for the fanatical fly fishers. The river is crawling with them, and it is apparent this is Gold Medal Trout country.

    My legs were getting tired as I rode into Meeker. Too much sun and wind. Took me an hour longer than planned {4}…which I attribute to the wind But, I did it, and was really pleased to have seen the Flat Tops and the river below on a bicycle! It is a great journey!!!

    BTW, we stopped in AVON on the way home for dinner (after driving south from Meeker to Rifle and I-70). Brilliant idea at the Blue Plate.

    #5403
    StellaSag
    Participant

    Did Mark a.k.a. Bulldog mention the wind???
    Ripple Creek Pass is out there but it is a part of Colorado you must experience. It was a fabulous day to support a Quest Conqueror.
    Extend the Quest Challenge and shout out rides.
    Snow is a comin’. Now is a great time to plan your NEXT CO adventure.

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