While there are numerous reasons to visit Castle Rock Colorado, there is one particular annual event held in the city that’s worth planning a vacation around. Named after a natural rock formation that resembles a towering elephant‚ the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival draws thousands participants from all over the surrounding areas.
It’s 7 AM and, looking ahead, a fantastic journey awaits! The Colorado Elephant Rock Cycling Festival tours some of the most scenic and diverse landscapes along the Front Range. It also presents numerous challenges by the undulating hilly landscape, not to mention challenges provided by other cyclists and our inability to accept being passed.
Stage 1 begins in castle rock and will tour along Highway 83 towards Colorado Springs. Within 10 minutes, we will be presented with the first of numerous high effort climbs. And then we descend into the morning sunrise and battle wind blasted tears.
Stage 1 ends at rest station 1, 1 hour into the ride, where we refuel with Oreos and bananas.
Stage 2 will get your excited about cycling again! Awesome views of Pikes Peak, wide open blue sky's and roads that extend and narrow to a sharp point on a never ending horizon, hills, carrots, speed, forests, cadence, bells, cookies, what more could you ask for?
This is a great workout to build your base miles. It has a little bit of everything; sustained anaerobic efforts, multiple short sprint like climbs, solo efforts into the wind and enough pauses to recover to keep you energized and wanting to work more!
We begin stage 3 in the heart of the Black Forest and work several steep climbs almost right from the start. Within the forest, we battle the monstrous climbs up to 7800 feet in elevation. And then we enjoy a short victory as we begin our descent into the Front Range. Then, our nemesis arrives, Roller Coaster Road, a bonanza of heart breaking climbs one after another until your legs want to simply fall off. And, just when you think it’s over, we dive head-first into the strong westerly winds from the approaching Rocky Mountain storms. The clouds gather in front of us as we battle for every inch!
This is a seriously painful journey with an average heart rate of 86% of max for over 2 hours. This workout provides several very tough interval sets requiring torturous leg strengthening intervals, heart pounding intervals, and out of the saddle climbs.
Welcome to Stage 4 of the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival. Stages 1 through 3 build up to this moment and you are now rewarded with the most spectacular views along this ride. The Rock Mountains gently slope downward and open to huge grassy fields, the thunderstorm has now moved North East and the black clouds crawl violently across the horizon.
From here on we get to descend until our final climb just short of the finish. However, because the winds are kicking and we’re riding on fresh fueled legs, the intensity is up a bit as we share pulls, crank up short climbs and enjoy keeping the pace up.