Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bob Cook Memorial / Mt. Evans Hill Climb / Colorado Hill Climb State Championship, July 24, 2010

One of the benefits of living in Evergreen, Colorado is that the highest paved road in the United States is in our backyard. Colorado Route 5 winds to the summit of Mt. Evans at 14,264', and there's a road cycling race to the top. It's the Hill Climb State Championship, and I decided to give it a shot this year.

On the morning of July 24th, 6,700 vertical feet and 28 miles from the summit, racers warmed up against a cool breeze and overcast skies in Idaho Springs. The weather looked grim, and I was expecting rain and cold at the top. As my group, Category 3, ascended, however, temperatures rose and we broke into the sun just below Echo Lake at the halfway point.

From there, the racing heated up as we climbed above treeline, with a pack of five riders working together to catch one man who had broken away miles earlier. We did finally catch him, and it was every man for himself rising up the final five miles of switchbacks from Summit Lake. After losing contact after one surge, I regained myself and passed two riders to finish fourth in approximately 2:01. The next man to finish was a 15-year-old sophomore from Cherry Creek High School who rides on the Garmin Transitions farm out for this guy in the future!

Racing the road bike uphill was a fun experience. I was happy with the performance, and the dizziness due to an anaerobic effort above 14,000' made for an interesting afternoon.

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