I'm in Colorado for a week of riding with folks from another forum (Bikejournal.com). Wednesday we climbed Mt. Evans, just west of Denver. At 14,131 feet, it's the highest paved road in North America.
I've worked on climbing all season, and had a reasonable plan for the climb. It worked beautifully.
I arrived in Denver on Monday to try to acclimate to the altitude. (My home altitude is 500 feet or so.) We SAGged to the entrance at 10,000 feet. From there it was 14.5 miles to the parking lot at the top.
I rode in the granny ring and big cog most of the way. Although my max heart rate is in the upper 170s, I set a limit of 160 BPM and rode along at that pace. It worked out to between 70 and 75 RPM cadence most of the time. I planned two hours ride time and an hour of rest sprinkled in. I'd hoped to ride two miles, rest, then ride two more. As it worked out, I rode one mile, rested for just a little bit, then rode another.
As expected, wind (mine, and no, not that kind) was the limiting factor. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised I wasn't really Hoovering it, although I was breathing harder than usual. It wasn't uncomfortable. My heart rate recovery time was also far better than I expected too. Each rest stop was only a couple of minutes, and my rate wwould be down to the 80s or 90s.
All in all it was an enjoyable ride. A lot of work, but enjoyable nonetheless. At the top, the view was magnificent, well worth the climb. And I found myself crying tears of joy twice on the descent. I was just overwhelmed with that "I did it!" feeling.