We were loathe for our scenic week in Colorado to be at an end, so when we met a cyclist at the top of Loveland Pass who recommended we route back via Oh My God Road rather than suburban roads we were intrigued and routed our 72-mile return from Georgetown to Boulder accordingly.
We trended downhill from Georgetown to Idaho Springs. After an undrinkable espresso at the local coffee shop that then required an emergency run to a Starbucks (gasp!) near the I-70 interchange, we began our climb.
Oh My God Road is technically Virginia Canyon Road, a road that rises from 7,500 feet to an elevation of 9,300 feet over about five miles.
The road is gravel with steep dropoffs and no guardrails, with the exception of a short section near the top, which is also paved.
This climb felt like an ascension into the past. We could see I-70 far below us while ahead of us were tangible reminders of Colorado’s gold rush.
Traffic was sparse, which helped my confidence and concentration.
After creeping our tired legs to the summit we ripped into Central City/Black Hawk. Black Hawk is the town that banned cyclists from its streets, until the Colorado Supreme Court overturned that decision this year.
Black Hawk and Central City originally cropped up as mining towns, but after the gold rush petered out, they revitalized themselves as gambling/casino towns.
I thought it was interesting to see how these old towns had been formed into the side of a hill, but Felkerino was not as impressed. We had a quick drink at Ye Olde Convenience Store and climbed away from town. From here on out we stayed on pavement.
The climb over to Nederland and Boulder Canyon was slow going, but I tried to enjoy it knowing these were the last of the uphill miles of our Colorado tour.
Clouds started to roll over us in earnest as we neared the end of the day’s climbing miles and Felkerino and I realized that our tour would most certainly include rain. Good thing we didn’t carry those rain jackets around the state all week for nothing!
We jacketed up and prepared to ride into the raindrops. Lightning and thunder initially waylaid our progress and we found an awning under which to shelter.
The sky looked like it was clearing so we ventured out again only to be met with a serious downpour. We stopped again and hung out at the Stage Stop in Rollinsville, which appeared to be a popular motorcycle hangout.
We decided to eat lunch and wait out the storm. Gradually the rain let up and we left Rollinsville to begin our descent into Boulder.
The rains had washed rock and soil into the road at various spots so we had to exercise extra care on the already wet road surface.
Even though the day remained cloudy, Boulder Canyon was still a gorgeous swooping descent with imposing rock formations on either side of us. Water rushed quickly through the canyon, adding visual and auditory drama.
Down down down into Boulder we went and bee-lined our way to the coffee shop– partly to make up for the morning’s disappointing start coffee-wise, but mainly to toast a special week together on the bike.
Thanks for riding along with us.
Would love to see a map of the roads you took.
Will plan to post those next week sometime. Thanks for reading!
“…Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living…” ― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
Absolutely love reading about your travels and adventures.
Thank you so much, Mr. CATSOE, sir. ❤
Nothing like a summer shower in the Rockies. I miss the mountains. Thanks for all the posts.
Thanks for all the support, Tim. I admit the shower was a unique experience. You can see them shaping up from sp far away, too.
I lived in Colorado Springs in the 80s and your descriptions brought back many happy memories, including seeing a thunderstorm close in on you. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Steve! Maybe it’s vacation talking but I really loved being out here. Made me wonder what everyday life in this area would be like.
After a while, the little things started to bother me. There isn’t enough water in the creeks (they’re usually empty and they call them arroyos), there aren’t enough trees, the wind never stops and there are too many cowboys. One autumn day, I set off for a spot where the paper said the foliage was in peak. I drove right through it and didn’t realize I was there. I think I was just too used to thinks “back East” to truly settle into the Western lifestyle!
A very beautiful trip!
Central city has a killer buffalo burger joint! Cool place. Have a safe trip back.
Thanks for sharing your trip. It was fun and inspirational to follow.
I always love reading about your rides. They inspire me
Likewise! You are consistently doing such interesting activities!
I can’t recall the road’s name but I was advised to take a similar route from Idaho Springs to Nederland and Boulder when I toured in Colorado in the 90s. It was better than the main roads but the gambling towns are bizarre.
I didn’t see much rain in Colorado except the monsoon rains at night, once, but I did see passing showers. Nothing like the west for long rides. I enjoyed your credit card tour. That’s the way to go.