Conquering Rist Canyon

Since getting the new ride in July, I’ve been on my road bike 2-3 times a week, usually including one long ride (2+ hours). In August, I started tagging along with friends Tracy and Catherine riding Rist Canyon on Friday mornings (6am start, yay!). The ride is only about 35 miles round trip, but it includes a fairly grueling 12+ miles of climbing up to the top. Unaware of the Rist landscape and having a naive pacing strategy, I nearly died the first time even when using every single gear my bike could offer. Rist Canyon is mostly a lot of miles of slow climbing, combining a few short, tough grades with gentler climbs and small bits of necessarily forgiving flats. But then you get to the last couple miles. There’s not much forgiving about these. They’re just flat out hard.

We added to the ride every week, getting nearer to the summit every time and set out a couple Sundays ago to do the full ride. Though fall is closing in, we managed to pick a day with a perfect mix of sun and warmth. It was tough, but I made it to the top. We all did. Here’s the happy trio commemorating the event.

At the top of Rist

I’m not going to lie — I really felt I wimped out on the last big climb when I stopped for about 30 seconds to rest my burning quads. Mad at myself, I attacked Rist on a solo ride last Sunday. I felt great, no stopping, using only two chainrings for most of the ride. Seriously, I killed it. Now I can officially call “Rist season” complete.

5 replies on “Conquering Rist Canyon”

Great job! May I ask where you started and where did you end. I’m guessing you starting from Fort collins somewhere.
Pauline Brown

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