Monday, July 7, 2008

Mt. Evans Hillclimb Reconnaissance Trip

On July 19th I'm going to race the Mt. Evans Hillclimb with my friends Evan and Scott. For those unfamiliar with Mt. Evans, it has the highest paved road in the US, topping out at 14,135 feet. The race starts in Idaho Springs, CO and winds its way up from 7,500 feet to the summit over 28 miles with a pretty constant grade of around 5 or 6 percent.

It's one thing to look at a course profile or a course description and imagine what riding a 14'er peak would be like, but it's another thing to actually do it. On Friday on my way to Silverthorne I stopped in Idaho Springs to ride up to the summit. I got started a little bit late and the thundershowers that usually roll in by afternoon convinced me to turn around after 15 miles at around 11,000 feet, just below treeline. From riding the first part, I can say that this is a completely unrelenting climb. It just keeps going up and up and up without letting up at all. The elevation didn't seem to bother me, but once it started raining, the ride down was miserable. I ended up hitching a ride down with a really nice couple from Denver. They earned a few good karma points for picking me up, thanks!On Sunday I returned to Mt. Evans to ride the top sections, but it was raining in the morning, so I decided to drive instead. It started snowing at about 12,000 feet and by the summit, the snow wasn't even sticking to my windshield! There were three people riding up to the summit in the harsh weather, including this guy who turned down the ride that I offered to continue towards the summit (I was trying to earn back some of those karma points!).

On the way down, I stopped at Summit Lake which sits on a spur of the mountain at 12,000 or so. I met two really nice guys from Minnesota who I joined for a short hike that turned into a longer hike as the views drew me onward. Here are a few pics from the hike below. I was really tempted to break out my skis and take a few turns on the slushy snow, but decided against it since I don't have any poles and the pitches were pretty steep.
Finally, I took a few videos while driving down Mt. Evans to give people a sense of what the terrain and views are like. This is my first experiment with video editing, so bear with the amateur editing. The video is a bit long (8 minutes), so Mom and Dad, this might be of more interest to you than everyone else.


gwadzilla said...

I have never ridden it
but the ride from the west entrance to the east entrance of Estes Park looks sweet!

that could be a good ride
(words from someone whose legs are fried from wakefield)

Loren said...

I've heard that's a good ride too. I'm not sure if I'll have a chance to check it out or not 'cause there are so many good rides out here, but might be something to check out later. Good to hear that you're showing 'em who's boss at Wakefill Gwadzilla!