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2020 Virtual RAGBRAI Day 2

Broomfield, Colorado , United States
July 20, 2020
75 mi




ft elev +


Day 2 of the 2020 virtual RAGBRAI was going to be the second-longest of the week. I had ridden to Boulder and gone north on Day 1, so I needed a different direction for Day 2, and I knew there were a lot of miles of trails extending into the Denver metro that I'd never ridden. My primary concern was that these trails were going to slow me down, as it's difficult to keep up a high average speed when trails involve a lot of stops and waiting to pass people. I figured I'd just do the best I could and hope to return home in time for an afternoon meeting.
The Highway 36 Bikeway is a lifesaver (probably literally) for cyclists trying to move between Boulder and Westminster. Some of it is quite close to the road, but nicer stretches like this are more open.
I'd biked to Denver quite a few times before on my way to work, which involves linking the 36 Bikeway to the Clear Creek Trail and then the Platte River Trail. This time, instead of following the Platte River downtown, I'd skirt the north side of the city on the Sand Creek Trail, which would take me into Aurora.
The South Platte River north of Denver is kind of a mixed bag. It's a bit of nature in the middle of an urban, industrial environment and it supports a lot of birds and other wildlife. But depending on the day and prevailing winds, the odors from the wastewater treatment facility and the oil refinery can make this area rather unpleasant.
I used my time in Aurora to visit my mother, whom I hadn't seen in person since February. I didn't stay long, and I stayed well clear of her and kept my mask on despite knowing that both of us have been extra cautious to not expose ourselves to the virus. After leaving her place, I had a couple of miles on city streets before getting on the High Line Canal Trail. This trail was completely new to me, but it was nice, offering some fairly long, fast sections mixed in with a few stops at street crossings.
Expo Park in Aurora seemed nice. It featured one of at least three different disc golf courses I saw along this ride.
Eventually the High Line Canal Trail led me to the Cherry Creek Trail, which I knew would lead me into downtown Denver. It's a very well-known trail because of its location and because it's often on the news when Denver experiences flash flooding.
Seeing a Primal van made it feel more like RAGBRAI! Primal has made the RAGBRAI jerseys in recent years and I was pleasantly surprised to see their location here along Cherry Creek.
The Cherry Creek Trail through Denver features some great art. I particularly liked the classic feel of these pro-Denver graphics.
Major Taylor! Great to see a tribute to one of America's first great cyclists.
Confluence Park in Denver is where Cherry Creek meets the South Platte. I crossed here and then headed west into Denver's Highlands neighborhood.
After crossing the Platte River for the second time in the day, I had to navigate some neighborhood streets before linking up again with a trail system. What I found wasn't great, but wasn't terrible. There weren't many dedicated bike lanes but traffic was reasonable. Eventually I reached the Clear Creek Trail again, but this time farther west than I'd been on it before. This linked to the Ralston Creek Trail in Arvada, which I hadn't heard of. Parts of it were very nice, but some construction caused me to detour and lose some time as I found my way around.
This is where Clear Creek meets Ralston Creek, which I'm not sure I'd heard of. Going over this bridge would take me on another great network of trails into Arvada.
Standley Lake was a welcome sight! My routefinding needed work, though, as I ended up on gravel that was too loose to be fun on road bike tires. Next time I'll stick to pavement and enjoy the view of the lake from afar.
After slogging through some loose gravel around Standley Lake, and running into an asphalt paving operation shortly after, I just had a steep climb up towards the Rocky Mountain Airport and then a few extra miles to reach my target for the day before getting home just a bit late for my afternoon meeting.




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