I did this ride in the summer of 1998, and it was one of the hardest rides I’ve done. I lost my original web page but some people had archived it, so I decided to resurrect it. I called it the Boulder Big 8 as CU Boulder at one time was in the Big 8 Conference. It’s also been called the Crazy 8 (I can’t understand why).
I did this ride from north to south, taking about thirteen hours, and surviving a near crash with a car as I was coming down Sunshine Canyon, where I had to brake so hard that I bent the rim of my rear wheel. I was able to get back to my car, drive home, switch out the back wheel, then return to where I’d left off.
I parked at 4th and Mapleton, leaving some water and food in my car so that I could refuel. At the time I had no idea how far the ride was, or the elevation gain, as I didn’t ride with any type of cycling computer. I’ve since created a route map (shown above) using dynamic.watch and this shows that the ride is 116 miles with 16,720 feet of climbing. The map is slightly inaccurate in how it shows riding through Boulder, and it doesn’t go far enough up in Four Mile Canyon. but it is probably only off by a couple of miles and a few hundred feet of climbing.
- Lee Hill. Out north to Lee Hill Road then up and over to Left Hand Canyon (make sure you turn left on Lee Hill and don’t go over Olde Stage Road).
- Super-Jamestown. Down Left Hand Canyon then turn left up to Jamestown. Continue past Jamestown to the very top of the climb, at Sparn Way (This is what we call Super-Jamestown). Back down to Left Hand Canyon.
- Ward. Up Left Hand Canyon to Ward. Continue to the Peak to Peak Highway. Back down Left Hand Canyon and over Lee Hill Road back into Boulder.
- Sunshine Canyon. Back to 4th and Mapleton, then up Sunshine Canyon to where the dirt starts (at the junction where the road to Sunshine goes off to the right). Back down to 4th and Mapleton.
- Four Mile Canyon. Up Boulder Canyon to Four Mile Canyon. Up this to the church in Salina. Back down to Boulder Canyon.
- Sugarloaf. Up Boulder Canyon to Sugarloaf Road. Up this to the very top (to where the road starts descending and where the road to the Switzerland Trail goes off to the right). Back down to Boulder Canyon.
- Magnolia. Down Boulder Canyon a few hundred yards then turn right up Magnolia Road. Climb this to the very top, where the road turns to dirt and it starts a long gradual descent. Back down to Boulder Canyon, and back to Boulder.
- Super-Flagstaff. Up 6th Street to Baseline Road, then up Flagstaff Mountain to the mailboxes on top. (This is what we call Super-Flagstaff, and the straight, really steep section up near the top we call the Highway to Heaven.) Back down to 4th and Mapleton in Boulder.
Links and Other Clicks
Rocky Mountain Cycling Club at one time put on a slightly easier, but still fearsome, ride they called the Fearsome Five. It covers much of the same ground but includes some gravel by continuing up to Gold Hill from Salina, then down Sunshine Canyon. There’s also a page for the Fearsome Five on RideWithGPS.