Gravel Touring


Summer has gone by way too fast! Not much else to say about that, other than it always does.

With the realization that there may only be a few more weeks of warm & dry weather, I figured I’d better get out and do something I’ve wanted to do all summer – a little bike tour, mostly gravel, at my own pace, and to some places I’ve never been. Something about going solo, which i’ve never done, also intrigues me. The idea of being checked out and unplugged for a little while is refreshing. It was refreshing. Really refreshing. I did not listen to music or podcasts, especially while riding! I cannot get on board with the headphones while riding trend. I didn’t check email or make phone calls. I texted Brad and gave a couple instagram updates and that was the extent of it. The point was to just ride and enjoy it.

I’ve lived in Colorado for 12 years and never been to Telluride – I know, it’s weird. Probably because it costs an arm and a leg to stay there. I have two of each of those so..?..just kidding, maybe worth the splurge this time. So Telluride was the destination. I mapped a route to get there through some other areas I’ve never been to and did some research to make sure the roads were bike-able and open. Everything turned out to be in great shape, just one little hiccup when I was 10 miles from Glenwood Springs and the Glenwood Canyon bike trail was closed. The folks at CDOT made no detours either. Really?! Considering you can’t ride on the interstate, I was SOL. Luckily I met a nice couple on the bike path that were also disappointed about the random, no detour, closure. They gave me a ride into Glenwood.

Strava Links & Route:

Day 1: Steamboat to Glenwood Springs via RCR 3 and Colorado Rive Road:

87 miles – 4200ft ascent – 6 hours moving time, 6.5 total hours

Day 2: Silt to Delta (caught the bus from Glenwood to Silt since you can’t ride on the interstate) via Collbran and Forest Road 121 up the Grand Mesa. 

90 miles – 7400ft Ascent – 7 hours moving time, 8 total hours

Day 3:

Delta to Ridgway via Dave Wood Road and Dallas Divide

80 miles – 6000ft ascent – 6 hours moving time, 6.5 total hours

Day 4: Ridgway – Telluride via back up Dallas Divide & Last Dollar Road

36 miles – 5000ft ascent – 3.75 hours moving time, 4 total hours


The tour wasn’t super extreme as far as mileage or hours on the saddle, but there was some fairly hefty climbing involved. On that note, I think my Garmin underestimates the amount of climbing, I’ll keep telling myself that at least, ha! Seriously though, It seems I’m always at least 10-15% lower in elevation gain when I compare my stats with other people who did the same ride. It’s weird. Anyway, the climb to the top of the Grand Mesa on Day 2 made my list for one of the hardest climbs I’ve done. The washboard didn’t make it any easier. The climb from Montrose up Dave Wood Road on Day 3 was also no joke. It went on forever and just got steeper with no flat sections for relief. From Montrose it’s about a 20 mile climb to the top of Dave Wood Road and it’s not incredibly scenic on the way up – BUT, that does change when you reach the top. It’s a beautiful descent down to the Dallas Divide Highway. It’s amazing how drastic the landscape changes in that neck of the woods. On day 4, from Ridgway to Telluride the route was only 35 miles, but 5,000 ft of climbing, hello steepness. Sections of the Last Dollar Road are very rocky and bumpy but short enough to make the gravel bike worth it. Ultimately it was a great trip and I’d do it again on the same bike and mostly the same gear.

Some gear but not all of it:

Custom Titanium Bingham Built Cross Bike

2 26oz water bottles + 50 oz Camelbak Race Vest – there were some 50-60 mile stretches with no water stops, 100 oz was plenty. 75oz would have been sufficient.

Specialized Trigger 38 tires – They were fine, got the job done with no flats, but sometimes I feel they are slow rolling on the pavement.

Oveja Negra Seat bag, frame bag, and top tube bag – love these bags. Need to get more.

Garmin 520 for navigation

Velocio Radiator Mesh Jersey & Signature bib shorts – Perfect for hot weather, Radiator Jersey keeps you cool. Love the Signature bibs, super comfy and the zipper in the back (women’s) is genius – so you don’t have to completely undress for nature breaks.

Lodging & dining Recommendations:

Ridgway – Eatery 66

Ridgway – Crumb

Telluride – Baked in Telluride

Telluride – High Pie Pizzeria

Delta – Westways Court motel

Ridgway – Adobe Inn Cantina & hostel


Until next time, 

Hannah Bingham

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