Getting out of Central City

Like this? Follow me:

Rode 105 miles on Wednesday, far more than I intended, but happy nonetheless to cover the miles. The original plan was to ride fairly directly to Idaho Springs and follow the, “Oh My God” road to Central City. “Oh My God” is, I think, simply an old dirt road first graded during some gold rush,used before the much larger Central City Parkway was built.

I was to meet someone to take a quick hike up Mt. Galbraith, all the way back in Golden at 2:00pm. It reasoned well with me that I could make it from Denver to Idaho Springs to Central City, back to Golden in 6 hours – it would be close, but still reasonable. And that was a good pressure, no? I was training to race, after all.

I only made it to the terminus of the Central City Parkway at 12:00pm, so Oh My God had to wait another day. Still making it back to Golden in two hours seemed doable, if it wasn’t for that few thousand feet of elevation gain. The elevation profile of the ride tells the story:


Still having to climb a 2,000 feet pass, multiple small hills to crest and 60km to go. Dammit.

Disorienting to be in Central City. The town is not much except a casino and its road design is made so that you continually circle back into the middle of town. Being in a rush, I wasn’t looking too hard for the exit, thinking such a small town will have one main road that makes it easy to, you know, leave. Not the case. I should have known the town would use such a crafty trick to keep you from going elsewhere.

This is exasperated, once I realized where, elsewhere was. One my third attempt to leave town, I climbed up a very steep grade towards the township of, Nevadaville, until that road turned into dirt and veered to the West towards another old pile of tailings. From my viewpoint, the largest man-made object was a towering resort/hotel, not in Central City, but outside and towards where I needed to go.

Blackhawk. All roads pointed to going to Central City and to avoid Blackhawk. So that’s where I went.

Blackhawk is known strangely for their ban on bicycles. I passed the, “NO BICYCLES” sign and gave a little silent fuck you, as I then passed a police officer. They didn’t seem to react to me. I did have my Thoreau Civil Disobedience Fantasy #108 running on repeat in my mind on what I would do/say to the police officer, if I was pulled over, riding a bike, without a license/id and a sincerely sharp tongue. Another day, another day.

The climb out of the valley of these two casino/resorts was difficult. I had run out of energy by this time, having only eaten a small breakfast burrito and muffin on the entire ride. I was planning on grabbing something in Idaho Springs, but the reroute stopped that plan.

It took nearly four hours from being lost to being back in Golden. The idea of going to the all you can eat pizza/salad bar place seemed a good one and I messaged my friend to meet me when they were done with their hike – and, oh, I certainly was going to be staying for a while. Two hours, in fact, eating all the pizza and salad I could manage. Basically, my only meal of the day – money is getting tight and I don’t want to be that guy that pigs out at a buffet, but I must have slipped the radar of the restaurant, weighing what must have been half of its other customers.

Although I my appetite was, well, healthy,  some of the moves by others were starting to disgust me: women eating slices will in line at the pizza bar – like in my face as I was waiting for them to choice, other people dolloping ranch (it’s always ranch) on top of pizza slices. I worked on getting as much vegetables in my body as possible – far more than I’ve had in total all month. The salad bar was, surprisingly good. I think I had 4 hard boiled eggs in total. 

Although my friend offered a ride home, I decided I could make it back just fine and round out the day with a 100 miles. The wind was finally at my back, having wrestled with it all day, until turning finally east.

One of the joys of such long rides is getting more familiar with what surrounds you. Colorado’s terrain in this area is as interesting and diverse as the pockmarks on my forehead and it’s a simple pleasure to learn a little more about the wrinkles in terrain of the local mountains.

Support Justin on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!