A lot of our ride names are simply based on whatever town they end in, as is this one which we call Jamestown because, as you may have guessed, it ends in a little town outside of Boulder called Jamestown. Jamestown is a great ride to become familiar with because a number of other rides branch off of the route, and its a good longer distance ride that does not take all day.
The ride overall is a fairly gradual uphill, with the steepest part being near the beginning; the climb up Old Stage Road. For some reason the Old Stage climb is where people are all about attacking. I do it, my friends have done it, other bikers do it. Because it is one of the steeper hills, Old Stage is a good gauge of cycling fitness. There is nothing like having a 60 year old grandmother destroying you up the hill to remind you that its time to put some serious time in on the bike. My fitness gauge is usually our friend Craig – if I am able to keep up with him I feel pretty good about my conditioning. Unfortunately Craig has taken to riding more than Max eats, so I am feeling a bit out of shape these days.
After the summit of Old Stage is one of the better descents in the Boulder area – steep and straight, with a few curves to navigate. My high speed down is about 56 mph. You have to watch out though; as with a lot of these rides there often deer hanging out by the side of the road. Nothing like plowing through a deer to get the day started.
After the descent you will come to a stop sign, at which you will take a left, up Lefthand Canyon Drive. This road is newly paved and has a really wide shoulder – great for riding. The road winds along a creek, gradually climbing along the way. There are a number of hairpin turns in the early sections (watch out for loose rock in the turns). Along this early section you will also pass a shooting range. You’ll know it because there are usually gigantic trucks parked along the road. This is my favorite part; charging past the range and wondering if anyone in there is so drunk that the sight of brightly colored moving objects will draw fire.
A little under 3 miles up the canyon there will be a sign for Ward and a turnoff to the left, where Lefthand Canyon Drive continues. Avoid the turn and instead bear slightly right. The road at this point is now called James Canyon Drive and will bring you the rest of the way to Jamestown. Once you roll into the little town (population: unknown, but lots of dogs) there is usually Gatorade containers filled with water, and I believe a little convenience store where you can buy food if need be.
The descent back down the canyon is a ton of fun, very fast and curvy (like one of the bad girls from high school!). We usually take a right at the Ward turnoff (onto Lefthand Canyon Drive again), and then a left onto Lee Hill Drive, which winds back down to Old Stage and completes the loop.
Distance: 14 miles from downtown Boulder. 28 Miles roundtrip, including Lee Hill
Directions: You can take Broadway up from downtown Boulder like the map below shows. But for a more scenic route try this one: From downtown Boulder, Pearl Street to 4th Street and take a right, and then a left, and another right (its all 4th Street baby!). Continue north on 4th until it deadends at a driveway/bike path (driveway on the left, bike path on the right – the map below does not show it, but it is there). Continue on that until it ends and then cross the road onto Wonderland Hills Ave. Take a right on Poplar Avenue and then a left onto Broadway Street (you can also just take Broadway Street from downtown, but its heavily trafficked, not as scenic, and there is not a bike lane the whole way up it). After taking a left onto Broadway there is a wide bike lane. Broadway will interesect with Lee Hill Drive. Take a left and then continue up to Old Stage Road.
Note: the map below shows full ride, with the Lee Hill Route, but does not show the “back” way most riders usually take (described above).