Documentary: Inside the cycling heartland of Boulder, Colorado

We follow ex-pro road cyclist Ruth Edwards around this diverse cycling heartland and meet some of its most beloved characters

Clock15:11, Tuesday 31st October 2023

In the United States, Boulder, Colorado is synonymous with endurance pursuits. Whether that be in cycling or running, Boulder, set against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, is the place to be if you are an athlete in pursuit of a professional career.

Which is why it is the adopted hometown of Ruth Edwards, a professional gravel racer and former pro road racer in Europe. In the most recent instalment of the GCN+ Heartlands documentary series, Ruth takes us on a tour of the diverse terrain and natural beauty that makes this town such an attractive proposition to its rich sporting community.

First up, Ruth heads to Flagstaff Mountain with local nutritionist Dr. Allen Lim who runs Skratch Labs and has worked with many of the top North American cyclists over the last couple of decades.

Flagstaff is a mountain with pitching switchbacks, wide panoramic views and tall Ponderosa pines. Allen joined Ruth to give her a breakdown of his time in Boulder, why he thinks Flagstaff is one of the best interval climbs on the planet and what it's been like to see the changing tides of American cycling history through the Boulder lens.

Speaking of American cycling history, Ruth is later joined by Connie Carpenter-Phinney who has called Boulder home for decades. Carpenter-Phinney was not only an Olympic champion in the women’s road race in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics but also won four cycling World Championship medals, and 12 US National Championships.

While Olympic Gold was the pinnacle of her career –  at the time there were no other professional opportunities for women – Connie has also been able to experience professional cycling through her husband, Davis Phinney, and son, Taylor Phinney. That wealth of experience allowed her to explain to Ruth what cycling in America has looked like, from the women’s Coors Classic to the dearth of racing now.

And of course Connie was able to talk about her beloved Boulder and why she loves to live there. When it comes down to it, the best part about Boulder for Connie and many others is one simple thing:

“I love the sun, you know, 300 days of sunshine can't be matched really anywhere. I like winter, but I like sunny winter.”

In the documentary, we also hear from fellow WorldTour roadie turned gravel racer Alex Howes, a renowned sommelier and restaurateur Bobby Stuckey, and Ruth's sister and husband take her on a canoe adventure on the beautiful Boulder reservoir.

With a session at Valmont bike park with the locals girls of Boulder Junior Cycling to round things off it's not difficult to see why Ruth loves living and riding in and around Boulder.

Cycling heartlands: Boulder is out now on GCN+. Watch on demand and explore our extensive collection of exclusive and original cycling films.

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