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ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado – Big Mountain Passes

August 01, 2016

ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado – Big Mountain Passes

Inaugural ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado – Big Mountain Passes.

by Patricia Schwager, ALP Cycles Coaching

Our first tour of Colorado was limited to 3 days of riding big mountain passes through beautiful scenery.

The staff included coaches Alison and Paddy plus van driver Kristen. We traveled together to the tour start in Carbondale. We stopped on the way for some big Costco shopping. The van got loaded with lots of ride snacks and food. Cyclists eat a lot especially as we would spend 5-6hrs riding our bikes every day. In the evening we met with our 19 athletes and gave them instructions and info for the next 3 days. For each of the 3 days we handed out route cards to make sure everyone knew the directions.

Day 1: Carbondale – McClure Pass – Kebler Pass – Crsted Butte Mountain Resort 77.5mi and 7570ft of climbing

The first day wasn’t the longest day but it included the most amount of climbing. We started the ride in 2 groups; a slower group and a faster group. The van stop to refill bottles and grab more ride food was at the bottom of Kebler Pass. The heat was a big challenge today…we went through a lot of water. THe 23.5mi climb up Kebler Pass was the longest climb of our tour. After the nice descent down to Crested Butte we still had to climb up to Crested Butte Mountain Resort. The wine, crackers and cheese we offered before dinner was well deserved!

ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado

Day 2: Crested Butte Mountain Resort – Cottonwood Pass – Buena Vista 71.0mi and 4988ft of climbing

After the experience form the day before, we decided to ride in 3 different groups today. The ride started with a nice downhill to Crested Butte. The route then followed Taylor River up to Taylor Park Reservoir. That was also our van stop and turn off up to Cottonwood Pass. The road up to Cottonwood Pass was again a gravel road but with 13.5mi it felt a lot shorter than the long climb the day before. Upcoming thunderstorms and strong side winds made the 2nd part of the downhill to Buena Vista tricky. Everyone made it safe and sound to the hotel though. We finished the day with more wine, crackers and cheese followed by a nice Thai/Sushi dinner.

Day 3: Buena Vista – Independence Pass – Carbondale 91.2mi and 5114ft of climbing

This was the longest day of riding. We again had 3 groups (slow, medium, fast) to make sure that everyone found a good pace. A challenge was the strong headwind from Buena Vista all the way up to the turn off to Twin Lakes/Independence Pass. The weather on top of Independence Pass wasn’t great, clouds and rain reminded us why we had those rain jackets in the van. The long descent down to Aspen was fun; some parts are very fast, narrow and technical. We used the Rio Grande Trail (bike path) for the final stretch from Aspen to Carbondale. Everyone made it to the finish. Some people were faster, some people were slower. Our goal for this Tour of Colorado was to have 3 days of great riding in the mountains but also challenge people and to make them understand they can accomplish a lot more than they think.

Thank you to everyone for coming to our first ALP Cycles Tour of Colorado! We are already thinking about the next edition in 2017. With all the experience from this year’s tour it will be even better and we may extend it to more day.




Patricia Schwager began cycling in 1998, racing as a junior. After racing on the domestic level and completing her Diploma as Pastry Chef, she got her first pro contract in 2006. 2015 will be here 10th year of professional racing. Patricia has a lot of experience racing in the European peloton. In 2013 she started working with Shawn Heidgen (Current ALP Cycles Coach) as her personal coach. In 2014 she changed her focus to racing in the US. Patricia is a 6 time national Swiss champion and has represented her home country, Switzerland, at the World Championships 12 times.

For 2015, Patricia will race for Team Tibco. Along with racing she’s looking to share and pass on her knowledge in her new role as an ALP Cycles Coach. Visit her online at

About ALP Cycles Coaching

ALP Cycles Coaching is located in the mountains of Colorado, and is a cycling coaching company with over 25 years of professional sports experience. ALP Cycles Coaching is unique in that we have 4 coaches, Alison Powers, Jennifer Triplett, and Patricia Schwager who each brings her own coaching strengths and personal experiences. We work together to create a training plan that works for each and every person. Visit them online at

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