Northwest Colorado Springs
Tucked away against the mountains, in the northwest corner of Colorado Springs, there lie foothills littered with homes of the affluent – and rightly so: these views should not come cheap. Fortunately, unless your far east in Colorado Springs, there is no lack of scenery around town. It just so happens, that these views are the most secluded and probably least visited.
The road: West Woodmen Road. Cornering off a section just south of the Air Force Academy, this road at one point was probably the best place to ride in Colorado Springs. It probably still is, though I don’t think it should be – I’ll get to that later. Equipped with a bike lane for about 3 miles, the road winds this way and that, with gun-killing climbs and blinding descents. After enduring the torture of these climbs, you’ll be rewarded immediately with some stunning photographs.
Mind you, this view is still in winter mode. These hills turn green when the grass and oak shrub come to life in the spring and summer. Still, the view goes on forever. If you blow this picture up, you can see bits of Colorado Springs in the background.
One thing worth noting, all of Colorado (except maybe Denver with it’s wonderful traffic pollution) has the deepest blue sky. Photos can’t do it justice, and anyone who’s visited Colorado can tell you the same. It just turns out, I enjoy the blue sky more when I’m surrounded by mountains.
So, if you fancy some climbs, there are 2 ways about tackling Woodmen. First, there’s the West-East route.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the crossroads to show at this level. The start is at the crossroads of Centennial Blvd. and Vindicator Dr. and ends at Woodmen and Rockrimmon Blvd.
This route has a much smaller climb total, but the hills tend to come at a higher grade, so depending on how you roll, going West-East might be more appealing. Either way, you’re up for some hard word and great rewards!
I’ll say this a lot while I’m writing about Colorado Springs – the roads are horrendous. Years of maintenance ignored thru snow storm after snow storm has left sections on the West-East descent terrifying. Prepare to slalom the potholes! If you’re running 23mm tires, you may want to think about changing out for Colorado Springs, especially this section of road. I ride 25mm, and am a bit heavy for the road, and every time I descend here, I pray for true wheels and inflated tires the entire way.
It’s also not uncommon that you’ll outpace automobiles on the descent, which, combined with the road conditions, makes a dangerous situation. In my opinion, best to keep your distance and brake to keep from passing or even coming close to autos here.
That being said, the descent on the East-West route is quite amazing asphalt. If you don’t mind climbing out of the saddle most of the way up to save your rear the punishment, this is the better way to go. The descents are steep and smooth as a baby’s bottom. Hitting 50 mph is no problem! Just be prepared to corner well and with traffic around if you do hit 50!
There’s no shortage of Colorado Springs’ most abundant wildlife on this route. Always keep your eyes to the periphery for deer coming out of the fields and neighborhood backyards and driveways!