The Morgul-Bismark Loop: A Colorado Classic

View Larger Map

Morgul Bismark Ride Details

Length: 13.35 miles
Climbing: 653 feet
Ride difficulty: medium (hard if you do multiple loops)

Starting at Hwy 93 and Marshall Rd going clockwise
See Map My Ride for greater detail

Circa 2007 - Boulder Beer Race, cat 4/35+

History abounds in this popular cycling loop once raced as part of the Red Zinger and Coors International Bicycling Classic in the 70s and 80s, and filmed on-site in the 1985 bicycle cult movie American Flyers. It’s still a popular training route for cyclists and was brought back into competition in 2010 as part of the three-day Superior Morgul Classic.

Named after a cat (Morgul) and dog (Bismark) the undulating route is 13.3 miles in length and features steep inclines that include the hump, the wall, and the feed hill that range from 6% to over 10% grades.

A good starting point is in Marshall at the intersection of Hwy 93 and Marshall road. There is ample parking at either the Marshall Mesa trailhead (see photo), or in the car pool lot across the road. Starting on Marshall road and riding in a clockwise direction - the same way the race route travels - the first few miles are a series of gentle rollers on smooth pavement with a good-size bike lane.

The first climb, the hump, begins immediately after the right turn onto McCaslin Blvd. It is not long but it is the first taste of what’s to come: the leg busting, lung searing section of the circuit. McCaslin Blvd. has a generous bike lane to counter the heavier traffic in the town of Superior. Immediately after a short descent and European-like traffic circle begins the climb to the infamous wall and finish line of the race. Just imagine trying to sprint for the race finish as you grind you way over the steep gradient!

Turning west (right) onto W 120th ave (Hwy 128) towards the mountains there is one hard climb to go. This is the scenic part of the route, the mountains rise majestic in the background as the road sweeps down then up through the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. As you climb the feed hill the large wind turbines (hopefully dormant) loom tall in the foreground. Yes, they are here for a reason: it can be extremely windy in this area.

Turning north onto Hwy 93 the shoulder narrows and finally disappears over the top of a small climb before you head down the two miles into Marshall. Although the panorama of Boulder is wonderful it is a very heavy traffic section and best to exercise caution as you fly down the backside to the completion of the loop.

News Item: