Best US cycling training location?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Dec 12, 2013 8:51 pm

by rekemeyer94

Steamboat Springs, Co is ideal for the late spring-fall season. Pretty dry (generally a light rainstorm once a day for at most 30 minutes), the roads are amazing (Rabbit Ears is a fun climb with some more rolling and flat off to the north), it's at elevation (valley floor roughly @ 6,900 ft and the roads go up to 10,000+ on nearby passes), mountain biking (if you're into that as well), and some nice people. Expensive as hell, though! And once the snow falls it gets all sorts of hard to ride (so I hear). All in all it is one of my favorite places to ride, but unfortunately I don;t live there!

by Weenie

Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:43 pm
Location: burlington, vt

by dugster10

Santa Barbara, CA is excellent, though not at elevation. I spent my winters there when I was escaping the bitter Vermont winters as a rider for the Team Type 1 Pro Continental team. It's extra beautiful there, and once you meet someone, you can negotiate a place that's reasonably priced. I found SB to be the hidden gem. They have a handful of pros out there over the winter and not everyone wants to race you as you might find in Boulder or Tucson. Great weekend rides, too. Saturday around Lake Casitas and Sunday Worlds both with decent turnout. Heck, I am talking myself back into it.

Good luck.

Posts: 159
Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 3:37 am

by vdrey

I second the carolinas

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Doctor Who
Posts: 74
Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2008 5:57 pm

by Doctor Who

Reno, Nevada.

It hits all the points:

4,500 base elevation in the valley with climbs up to 9,500 feet at Mt. Rose.
Excellent weather. There will be snow days, but that means you get to XC skate ski at Tahoe Donner. XC will get you FIT on the bike. The summers aren't truly that hot, except for a few weeks, but since it's arid, the mornings are cool (50-70 degree AMs in July/August, even if the afternoon temp is 90).
Did I mention Tahoe? Oh, there we go –– the riding in the basin is exemplary. Riding around Tahoe kind of sucks, but there are long, LONG road and mountain climbs a plenty going up the mountains and outside the basin.
Speaking of mountains, there are lots of them. Get a mountain bike.
The racing scene is incredible –– lots to do in town or in Norcal, which is only a short drive away. Some say it's stronger than Boulder.

For fun? Reno is a very cool, hip city. It's extremely livable with a strong outdoors culture. You can hike in town, get good brews and food, enjoy year-round local organic groceries. San Francisco is 3-4 hours away. I used to make a road trip to SF every couple of weeks.
Patagonia, Moment Skis, Ritchey, et. al. are based in Reno. If you are outdoors-oriented, you can get a sweet job in town if you're persistent and qualified.
Reno is also very cheap. I was living in a pretty cool cottage for $525, all utilities included.

Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2007 10:43 pm
Location: burlington, vt

by dugster10

This actually sounds pretty cool. When I was in Tahoe before Tour of Cali Stage 1 (canceled due to snow back in 2011), I found the riding the riding a few days before the race fairly good with excellent scenery and could feel the elevation. I'd consider it if I was in the game ever again. Good thoughts.

Posts: 33
Joined: Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:56 am

by flipflopper

Could someone elaborate on these two places?

Reno: it seems really good, and maybe a hidden gem that I am looking for. But I'm wary that this place does not have a reputation as a cycling destination. Are the climbs out of town rideable (with regards to snow & traffic) during the winter for the most part? What about variety of rides? Can one do quite a few different routes without having to spend frequent long stretches on busy roads? If anyone has ridden here (particulary in the winter) please give me your thoughts.

San Diego: San Diego itself would be great to live in but there is so much sprawl my routine would be to do i.e. torrey pines on the weekdays and only venture out east early morning on the weekends. Also, mt palomar is pretty far away from downtown SD. Is there a cool city closer to Mt Palomar to live in that isn't all suburby? I'm not that familiar with the area. (For example, with the regards to the bay area, i would be OK to live in Palo Alto or Mountain View. IMO they have nice downtown areas and good food, very educated/healthy population etc. Walnut Creek, OTOH, is more like a suburban complex to me, which I couldn't live in. Or livermore, for example, just wouldn't have enough going on. Maybe sounds nit-picky but maybe someone can get an idea what I'm looking for).

User avatar
in the industry
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: Ruidoso, NM

by WMW

So you want:

Good accessible routes.
City with a lot going on. Would I be correct in thinking that a college town that is fairly small might suffice?
Lots of athletes.
Good year round climate.

Reno might be ok, but it is fairly cold in winter (avg high mid 40s) and occasionally could be pretty wet in winter. The rest of the year will be dry and warm. No idea about the roads, except that there are many routes that look decent on the map. Traffic might suck though.

Silver City NM is pretty awesome for climate and routes... has a college and is fairly artsy and touristed, but population is only 10k and it's 110 miles from a bigger town.

Albuquerque might be decent. Climate is better than Reno in winter (and a little hotter in summer with PM showers possible), altitude is a little higher, and some great climbing is accessible east of town, including a HC climb.

Some of your desires tend to work against each other. It's tough to find the best cycling if you also want to live in a great city with altitude and a good year round climate.

Just saw this in an earlier post: "Tucson just doesn't have the cultural factor we're looking for". If Tucson doesn't have "it", then I doubt Reno or Albuquerque do either. You need to describe that a little better.
formerly rruff...

Posts: 246
Joined: Tue May 05, 2009 2:43 pm
Location: Clermont, FL

by emorydptt

Not 'mountainous' but I really enjoyed Monterey, CA. Good climbs and the 17 mile drive through Pebble Beach has some great scenery.

I live in Clermont, FL and really enjoy the training here. A couple pro continental US teams have come here to train and some of the best US triathletes (my training buddies) call Clermont their home.
my YouTube channel- keep the grams down and the watts up!
-2014 Cipollini Bond EPS | 2017 enigma echo SR11 | 2011 Time RXR ULTeam SR11 | 2010 Colnago EPS SR11 | 2013 Colnago C59 SR-EPS | 2011 Colnago Prestige Di2 | 2013 Specialized Shiv TT SWorks SR11

Posts: 2196
Joined: Tue Nov 11, 2003 9:47 pm
Location: Santa Cruz, California, USA

by eric

Livermore's revitalized the downtown in the last 5-10 years. It's much nicer than when I grew up there.
When I lived in Mountain View the downtown was kind of dead but it's been revitalized too.

If you live in Walnut Creek and want culture or a nice downtown you go to Danville.

You can get to SF pretty easily from anywhere in the bay area for cultural events, resturaunts etc. (the peninsula has plenty of those also).

Of all the places I've been to, most of the western US, the bay area is one of the better ones for cycling. Lots of roads, lots of riders, relatively well accepted by the normals. SoCal is as good and it's warmer, but the greater LA/Orange County/San Berdoo county complex is quite large while the bay area's populated zone is smaller. So it is easier to escape. For example I live in a very rural area yet it's 10 min drive to the nearest Silicon Valley town.

But it's expensive to live in the bay area, and there's not many places to live or train at elevation. When I do races or events in the Sierras that go to elevation I drive there the day before and just accept that I will not be acclimated.

Posts: 297
Joined: Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: Location Location!

by BrianAllan

Tucson. Just leave between June-September

Lots of mentions, but I'll throw in my two cents.

For me it's the:
Blisteringly fast group rides
Amazing mexican food!
Tremendous amount of training options
The Sonoran Desert is *f##k* magical!

And hey, it's fun to "race" the random pros on the group rides. Sometimes they wear Garmin kits, some of them have done the Giro, some of them have been in pink at the Giro, some of them have medaled in the Olympics. Pros live, train, and have team camps here for a reason.

Was that a coyote? Javalinas, roadrunners, gila monsters, saguaro cacti, bobcats, giant beetles.

I could list 10 amazing training rides in the area. It takes a LOT of base miles to get sick of riding here.

Plus we have Eegees & Cactus Cooler. Discussion over ::drops the mic::

User avatar
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

by AGW

Eegees! And Luke's...

Posts: 1170
Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 7:28 pm

by kulivontot

Luuuuuuuuuke's! Best gut busters around

Posts: 334
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 4:40 pm
Location: Beer City

by cmdr199212

I would say Western NC. I've been going to school here for the past three years, and I've found it to be great. Last winter was really rough, although previous winters haven't been nearly as bad. Decent amounts of climbing, Mitchell is near me, ride along the Blue Ridge parkway, and Greenville, SC, is close. Air is fresh, scenery is beautiful, and there is a thriving cycling community. Best riding I've ever done, although I'm coming from MD/DC/VA area, so there is generally substantially less traffic and far more climbing here.

Posts: 105
Joined: Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:17 pm

by barsook77

Been to all the places you've asked about.

Boulder gets cold AND miserable in the winter. So it's hit and miss. Great rides up into the mountains and front range provides great high altitude training.

Done the whole San Diego thing. Great rides, the best weather year round ... but no altitude. You can go to Palomar but that's a big ride from the beach.

Ditto on Santa Monica Mountains. Great rides and weather but you are still at ground zero. Lance and all the guys would ride out there at times.

Done Aspen so that's out. Weather severely limits your climbs and the town dead ends at the base of Independence Pass (Closed in Winter). Although you have the altitude and Maroon Bells, you will get bored pretty quickly unless you go down to Carbondale and beyond!

Ditto on Big Bear and Lake Arrowhead. People are not used to seeing cyclists and the only place to go is DOWN.

Austin? Well, my buddy is telling me that the traffic is NOT friendly out there these days with poor road surfaces and heavy highway flow just to get out of town. Although there are very sharp hills in the back country... you are still at low elevation. The big rides are all out east from there ...

So ... where to go?

Besides San Diego having the best all around weather for riding your bike, to fulfill your request there is no perfect answer.

However ... having travelled around the entire country and living in the western states for over 30 years, the one place that stands apart from them all is Mammoth Lakes, Ca. @ 7880 MSL You start at altitude and go up from there to 9175 Minaret Summit! The scenery is fantastic with many climbs punctuated throughout the region. Low humidity and perfect spring, summer and fall weather. Big rides with plenty of scenic back roads and large stretches of flats to work on your time trialing. Conscientious drivers and sparse traffic (you might see a pickup or two during a 60 mile Green Church ride) make this a no-brainer. You are also on the backside of the Yosemite climb (Tioga Pass) to 9943 which is just up the street from the highest paved road in California - Tom's Place northwest of Bishop (elevation approx. 7,500 feet) which climbs southwest into the High Sierra along Rock Creek. The road dead ends around 15 miles later at Mosquito Flat, elevation 10,300 feet. Mammoth has a great cycling community and club with some VERY qualified riders out there. A couple of good cycling stores for supplies and repairs. It is the mecca for elite athletes with great medical support and an airport right down the street which takes you to LA or San Fran daily. June lake ...mind-blowing mountains surround this community with plenty of smooth roads. You can always pick up a rider or group somewhere. Mono Lake is just around the corner.

Downside? Yep SNOW. However the last three years ... virtually nothing. When it does get too cold all the riders head down the road to Bishop for MASSIVE climbs @ Route 168 W of Bishop. That and the 20 mile grind to Bristlecone hits 11K. Still too cold? Head for Death Valley for the most challenging rides in the west. If you want to get in shape ...THIS is The Place! When you go back down to sea level, you'll be moving better than you ever have before.

Hope that gives you another option.

by Weenie

User avatar
in the industry
Posts: 855
Joined: Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:59 pm
Location: Ruidoso, NM

by WMW

I like Mammoth... but you have to be kidding to recommend that as a year round *cycling* location.

Avg snow... 206 inches per year!
Avg high is <50F for 6 fricken months of the year! Great in the summer though.
It's also a town of only 8k people and it's a very long way from a larger one.
formerly rruff...

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post