On the Road: Take a pass | AspenTimes.com

On the Road: Take a pass

Tim Dudley

I’ve already got a goal for next spring/summer.Normally, I don’t take to setting any goals, but I’ve been looking over some maps. Some aim to climb every fourteener. Some want to ski all the resorts in the state. I want to bike up all Colorado’s paved mountain passes.Pedaling passes is to cycling what peak bagging is to hiking. There’s a destination. There’s a sense of accomplishment when you reach the top that’s not quite there when you complete a loop or reach the end of the pavement and retrace your way back home.And the scenery is usually pretty good.There are at least 35 of these in Colorado. I’m sure many people have biked up and down all of them many times, but I haven’t. I haven’t even heard of many of them, like 7,888-foot Raton Pass near Trinidad and 11,361-foot Slumgullion Pass near Creede.And then there’s the staples that we’ve all heard of – Independence, Vail, Loveland, Tennessee.I’ve got two – Independence and McClure – done already. And plan to get Loveland and Tennessee in before it gets too cold.But what should be the standard? Where does the ride start? It’s easy to decide for some, like Independence’s beginning in Aspen or McClure’s in Carbondale. But passes like Cameron west of Fort Collins, if memory serves, really has no discernible end save Fort Fun, which is a long ways away down a dangerous road full of speeding cars on a twisting road.And should you have to climb up, over and back down the other side? Or could you choose the easier side and bike up and down from there?Ah, but that’s the beauty of noncompetitive cycling. It doesn’t matter unless it matters to me. There are no standards.In fact, if I get through 10 or so and decide it was a stupid idea (more than likely), I don’t even have to finish it. That’s the beauty of goals.