Race Report: The Aspen Fifty
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Organized and run by Youphoria Productions and WEDŪ, the Aspen Fifty covers some of the best single track trails and most stunning scenery Aspen and neighboring Snowmass have to offer. Josh Colley, Youphoria's event director, puts on several outstanding events, and each year I go back for seconds and often add 1-2 more events to my calendar. I’ve always wanted to attend this event, and 2019 was the year it happened. If you're planning your race calendar for the year, pencil in the Aspen Fifty. Beyond the fantastic course layout, the event proceeds benefit the Roaring Fork Mountain Bike Association. The organizers and volunteers do a fantastic job, and executive director Mike Pritchard was on hand to answer any questions from the riders.
Pre-Race & Packet Pick-upFrom the Denver airport, we made a quick stop in Leadville to pick up my fat bike before heading over Independence Pass and down into Aspen. Topping out at 12,095 feet, we couldn't miss the opportunity for a quick stop to take in the views and shake out our legs. From the pass, we headed down into Aspen to pick up our race packets from none other than Lance Armstrong's house. Lance started WEDŪ and hosts its two podcasts, The Move and The Forward. The Move provides an insider perspective on the Tour de France, cycling, triathlon and endurance events, while The Forward features a more eclectic range of guests and topics from the world of sports, politics and entertainment. After completing the event, I can attest that WEDŪ lives up to its reputation and promise to forge breakthroughs of the body and mind. The single track course was a pleasant yet challenging surprise for me. In hindsight, riding my fat bike wasn’t the best choice, but I still appreciated the extra cushion and fat tires when rolling over some of the rock gardens and rougher sections of the course.
Post-RaceWe enjoyed a delicious post-race meal at Home Run BBQ. The casual yet intimate venue made it easy to socialize and meet riders and volunteers on a different level for a truly rewarding evening.
Exploring Aspen & SnowmassAspen's bike trail system is second-to-none, but don't miss the opportunity to see more incredible scenery by foot.
HikingI hit the trails with friends and have plans to go back and explore more of Aspen's hiking and biking trails:
- Maroon Bells
- Crater Lake (extension from Maroon Bells)
- Hunter Creek Trail
- Grottos Trail
- Rio Grande Trail (bike path connecting Glenwood Springs and beyond)
- Linkins Lake Trail
- American Trail
- Lost Man Trail
- Difficult Trail
- Cathedral Lake Trail
Good EatsRefuel before or after a day of riding or hiking with these delicious, local options:
- Over Easy - casual breakfast
- Big Wrap - casual lunch
- HOPS Culture - plenty of beer options and great mac-n-cheese
- Whitehouse Tavern - casual and family friendly
- Woody Creek Tavern - an absolute must
- Pyramid Bistro
- Hotel Jerome - check out the J Bar and Ellina restaurant
- Jimmy Bodega - casual Mexican/seafood with nice patio dining
- Matsuhisa - Japanese/sushi
- Element 47 - upscale with great American/contemporary food
What to PackWhen I wasn't in my racing kit, I was ready to explore in my favorite KÜHL gear:
- MØVA Pant - perfect for travel and lounge wear
- Splash Roll-up Pant - great for hiking
- Akkomplice Krew - great as base layer or standalone top
- SKÜLPT Hoody - comfortable zip-up
- Flight Vest - luxurious layer
Jill Cederholm is a member of KÜHL's Cycling team. She's a former collegiate swimmer and professional triathlete. She resides in Mendota Heights, Minnesota with her husband.