Rapha Continental – The Dirt on Phantom Canyon

Out of the Shadows

Phantom Canyon is all about dirt; 25 miles of it after the pavement runs out just off Highway 50 from Colorado Springs. Ride host John Philips, who sports a Fabian Cancellara like build, did a good bit of pulling on the long line of highway rollers leading up to the canyon and the road that was cut and blasted to route trains destined for the gold mines of Victor and Cripple Creek. It climbs at a steady 3-4% grade through two rock tunnels and over several bridges before it arrives at the quaint historic town of Victor, Colorado.

Once committed to the journey there's no escaping the heat and the dust (from numerous passing cars) as the steep canyon walls engulfed the intrepid band of Continental riders, and our two following vehicles. Shooting out the back of the video car, Dave Christenson's video camera eventually succumbed to the fine choking dust and it needed a good cleaning to become fully operational again. The images that follow don't really capture the true grit of the place, but they are the best on the day. Powering down 50 on the mend Ink Back seat Kansas in the Canyon sporting flowers Helping hand Dave Climbing out of Victor

12 Responses to Rapha Continental – The Dirt on Phantom Canyon

  1. Tim says:

    Pro job on that silhouette photo, Michael. I can’t even begin to think how you set up for that to ensure the balance of DOF and accurate focus…

  2. Hey Michael, Sweet photos! It was a pleasure to meet you and see you work. And do the ride too! cheers, John

  3. Christopher says:

    great photos as usual. Cole’s leg looks really torn up in the photo. even more so than the bloody photo from a few days ago. ouch!

    • Chris,

      it was a real mess, but Cole just sucked it up and rode hard, as usual.

      • Christopher says:

        isn’t that what riding a bike is all about? dealing with the pain and pressing on. i have way more respect for someone who is in pain and continues silently versus someone who complains and wimps out.

  4. robert says:

    Dude those are great pictures. I really look forward to opening up your page.

    very nice.

    It’s funny but Cole’s leg there looks oh so eerily like mine did a few weeks ago. Looking at the picture make me cringe and grab my shin.

    nice shot.

    thanks for sharing…look forward to more


  5. john says:

    I’ve really enjoyed these last few sets of photos. Do you have cue sheets you can post for the AZ/NM/CO rides?

  6. john says:

    Thanks, I’ll keep my eyes open for them.

    It looked to me like the road journal entries weren’t getting the maps and cue sheets like the regular rides but I probably just wasn’t being patient enough.

    • Birddog says:

      John, I think it will be awhile before the cue sheets are posted. The reports are just trailers for now. It is my understanding that the complete reports with cue sheets will be posted sometime after the current tour.

  7. kurt says:

    I just read Rapha’s account of this ride. sounds like they left a piece of their soul in Phantom Canyon.

    Is it me or did you intend the tunnel shot to look like a skull?

    Stunning photos on the series.

  8. Stephen says:

    I can attest to the fact that Phantom Canyon is a terror of a climb. It’s not steep, but it goes on forever, and while the heat and dust can be bad, try freezing rain and hail over the summit! Great photos — thanks.