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A Cycling Weekend

Headline: In addition to watching the USA Pro Challenge the past week I also took a ride up Mount Evans.

The USA Pro Challenge

I didn’t follow around the state the way some did, but I did watch most days. And on the final day my wife and I took the time to ride our commuter bikes over to City Park where part of the race route passed. Even though it was a time trial you really got the sense for how fast those professional bike racers can spin those wheels. Truly incredible.

What made me appreciate it all the more was my ride on Saturday. Friday it dawned on me that this was pretty much the last weekend I could ride Mount Evans for a while… As a matter of fact, with travel plans it meant ride it on Saturday 25 Aug 2012 – or wait until next year! I’d ridden up part of Grand Mesa (Cedaredge to the Visitor’s Center) the weekend before, so I felt I was in about a good a shape as I would be this year… So I woke up Saturday and decided to go for it.

Riding Up Mount Evans

I won’t try to make this post a definitive guide for cycling up Mount Evans. Instead I’ll point to several site. One which caused me to even notice the ride and another that gave a good description.

I took notice when I saw the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb. It looked like a real challenge. Of course that was a race and I just ride… But it inspired me. Particularly when I saw that Tom Danielson scampered 27.4 miles up the hill in 1 hour and 41 minutes! If my math is right, he did that at an average speed of about 16 miles per hour!

This site by Mark Andrysiak shows the profile and gives some pretty good information about the ride. I think he left out one little detail that I’ll cover for sure.

My Ride

OK… The stats on the ride are that it is a 6,600 foot elevation gain over 27+ miles. While Tom did that in under 2 hours it took me close to 5 hours! So my average speed was more like 6 miles per hour! It was definitely a climb and as Mark’s site points out there’s not much air up there!

My wife did drive up so I stopped to get some bananas and take on some more water.

Here is a picture when I made it up to the top. If you’ve been up there before you might be asking, “Is the sign that close to the bike rack?” No, it’s not. My wife moved the sign about 20 ‘ so that it would be behind me while I was near my bike. The pictures of me by the sign show little indication that I rode up.

image

Would I do it again?

No – not until the road is repaved. Hitting all the bumps at the top is no fun and really slows you down but at 6 mph it’s not bad. Coming down was a different story. Bone jarring is an understatement. I physically hurt each time I hit one. I tried hitting them at speeds between 5 and 35 mph. There was no speed over 7 mph that made them remotely tolerable!

On top of that, both my derailleurs were knocked out of alignment… the chain rubs on the front in many gears and the back was skipping all over the place in the middle gears making the ride down the mountain a little less fun. Thankfully, most of the ride down after Echo Lake was in the top gear which didn’t skip! I don’t yet know if there was other damage to the bike. I need to have it checked out this week.

I think I would like to ride up to Echo Lake again. That was a lovely ride. My wife really enjoyed the weather and the scenery that Saturday.

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