Maroon Bells Cycling Adventure

If you’re into cycling, Aspen is the place to be. We were under the care of the Little Nell Adventure Center in Aspen and they outfitted our merry band of bicyclists with top of the line Orbea and Colnago carbon frame bikes which were nothing but a pleasure to ride. Pro rider Scott Kasin led us up the 10 mile 4-5% grade climb. Remember that Aspen, where we started already sits at 7,900 feet and we climbed nearly 1,600 feet to 9,500 feet. Just short of the top, I passed a guy and asked him how he was doing and his reply was “Just trying to keep up with Lance!” I chuckled and replied “Aren’t we all!” Thinking he was speaking in cycling generalities. But low and behold, I pulled up to Scott chatting with a group of cyclists in the shade, and one of them was wearing a black jersey with a yellow LIVESTRONG stripe across his chest. See if you can spot him in the video posted at the bottom of this post.

At the top, we dismounted and strolled around the paved walkways put in for those who choose to ride the bus up here from Aspen to get a view of the Maroon Bells, twin 14,000-foot peaks. After an amazing buffet lunch provided by the Little Nell we left our bikes and took a 1.5 mile hike, up and away from the paved trails into the wilderness to Crater Lake providing a more intimate and natural setting to view the Bells.

The ride down of course was a blast. It was almost more work than the ride up because I wanted to see how fast I could get going. We all had Garmin GPS units on our bikes tracking our stats and I watched it climb to 45 mph at one point. But as my fellow rider, Graham, noted, we probably weren’t looking at the GPS at our fastest speeds.

Below are a few photos from the ride and hike. Click on any of the photos to see the full gallery.

Technical Details of this ride on Map My Ride.

About the author

Adventure Correspondent Cameron L. Martindell is a freelance adventure travel and expedition writer, photographer and filmmaker who founded Offyonder.com in 2000. He has contributed to Elevation Outdoors Magazine, The Gear Junkie, National Geographic, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Outside, Backpacker, Wired, Australian Geographic, Mountainzone.com and others. He has been to all seven continents and lived on five of them, including a four-month stint at the South Pole. Cameron has more than 10 years of mountain search and rescue experience, is an Eagle Scout, has been an Australian bush firefighter, competes in sailing regattas, plans national and international youth programs, guides Oregon rafting trips and Australian bush backpacking trips.

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