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Old 03-05-07, 10:56 AM   #1
FixdGearHead
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Mt. Evans

Mt. Evans...

I've ridden DOWN it, but planning on an ascent this summer. Interested if anyone here has experience on the ride. Still working through the logistics (Wife and Father-in-Law driving up to the summit to meet me, etc), would love to hear from anyone who's ridden up and what advice they could give.
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Old 03-05-07, 12:08 PM   #2
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Logistics are a lot easier if you ride up then, then ride back down. You could either go up the Idaho Springs or the Evergreen side. Heck, if you wanted to make an even more fun day out of it, you go up one side, down the other, then ride around to where you started. (Evergreen into Idaho Springs is probably the easier route.)

If you're looking for something with a bit more structure, maybe consider doing the ascent race: www.bicyclerace.com
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Old 03-06-07, 06:26 PM   #3
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I've done it from both sides. Starting from Evergreen requires more climbing. From a logistical standpoint the only thing I'd say is you might want to take a small Camelbak. I normally don't use one on the road, but once you get to altitude hydration becomes an issue, and once you get past Echo Lake there's no where to get any (or food for that matter). Also, don't get discouraged once you get above tree line and you start to slow down, hurt, and basically start to suck. You're at altitude and it going to feel a whole lot different than riding in the flatlands.

It's a great ride and a real feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top. That's my two cents worth...good luck.
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Old 03-06-07, 06:54 PM   #4
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A group of us are planning to do Evans from Evergreen this summer. No dates yet, but sure to be early August sometime.
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Old 03-07-07, 03:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by ltspd
I've done it from both sides. Starting from Evergreen requires more climbing. From a logistical standpoint the only thing I'd say is you might want to take a small Camelbak. I normally don't use one on the road, but once you get to altitude hydration becomes an issue, and once you get past Echo Lake there's no where to get any (or food for that matter). Also, don't get discouraged once you get above tree line and you start to slow down, hurt, and basically start to suck. You're at altitude and it going to feel a whole lot different than riding in the flatlands.

It's a great ride and a real feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top. That's my two cents worth...good luck.
Thanks! Yeah, decided to invest in a Camelbak...for extra hydration and to pack warmer clothes for the summit (I'm assuming arm/knee warmers, barrier vest and skull cap is good enough for early July?). Turns out the wife ISN'T going to drive up there with me, just dropping me off - so I'm running solo. (Had planned on them being my 'support vehicle' for extra water and clothes at the top).

This will be my first trip back to the area in the last 8 or so years...really excited.
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Old 03-07-07, 08:57 PM   #6
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You're not thinking about doing it on a fixed gear, are you? If so, my advice is: don't.

It's a fantastic ride. If you've never ridden that high before, you may consider starting at Echo Lake, which is 10,600 feet at the start and "only" 14 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing. If that goes well, do it from Evergreen or Idaho Springs next time around.
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Old 03-08-07, 07:02 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Eyestrain
You're not thinking about doing it on a fixed gear, are you? If so, my advice is: don't.

It's a fantastic ride. If you've never ridden that high before, you may consider starting at Echo Lake, which is 10,600 feet at the start and "only" 14 miles and 3,500 feet of climbing. If that goes well, do it from Evergreen or Idaho Springs next time around.
Heh; no...not that crazy. The fixed gear is staying home...this is a trip for me and the road bike (err..and the wife too).

What's the distance from the 'entrance' to the road up the summit?
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Old 03-09-07, 09:13 PM   #8
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What's the distance from the 'entrance' to the road up the summit?
It's 14 miles from the fee booth at echo lake ($3 for bikes; don't forget that, by the way) to the summit. From Idaho Springs to the summit is 28 miles, and from Evergreen, if you start at the intersection of highways 103 and 74, it's about 32 miles.
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Old 03-19-07, 09:12 AM   #9
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I'd like to do this sometime in the summer too. I've never been there yet so I don't have any idea about temperature. I'd like to do it sometime without having to wear any warmer clothing (anything more than maybe arm warmers.) Does it get that warm there and if so when?
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Old 03-19-07, 09:26 AM   #10
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Name the date, I'll hop in. I didn't make the time for it last summer, but it's on the checklist for this year. BF Assault on Evans!
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Old 03-19-07, 10:41 AM   #11
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I'd like to do this sometime in the summer too. I've never been there yet so I don't have any idea about temperature. I'd like to do it sometime without having to wear any warmer clothing (anything more than maybe arm warmers.) Does it get that warm there and if so when?
Eyestrain or Itspd are probably best equipped to answer; it's been a few years since I've gone riding in Colorado. I do know that even during the hottest days (typically late July and August, IIRC), it's still pretty cold at the summit (you are over 14,000 ft after all).

Last time I rode it, I rode DOWN and not UP, so it wasn't as much an issue having just arm warmers...but considering the fact that I'll be sweating the way up, I'm planning on packing a vest, arm warmers, knee warmers and skull cap for the initial descent.
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Old 03-19-07, 10:41 AM   #12
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Hey, count me in, Zin.
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Old 03-19-07, 04:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FixdGearHead
Eyestrain or Itspd are probably best equipped to answer; it's been a few years since I've gone riding in Colorado. I do know that even during the hottest days (typically late July and August, IIRC), it's still pretty cold at the summit (you are over 14,000 ft after all).
A rule-of-thumb for estimating summit temperature is to take the day's temperature in Denver and subract roughly 40 degrees. Therefore, if it's a hot 95 degree July/August day, it will probably be mid-40's at the summit.

Both times I've summitted on a bike, I wore tights and shorts, a long-sleeved polyester base layer, a long-sleeved wind breaker, and full-fingered gloves. Regular helmet and shoes worked fine for me. Riding up was not a problem as far as keeping warm is concerned, but the descent was really cold until I hit treeline. The road is rough is spots, and when it's 40 degrees and you're hitting potholes or cracks at 35+ mph with high psi tires it tends to send a painful jolt which echos all the way through your shoulders and into your spine.

My hope this summer is to have my wife drive and meet me on the summit where she'll arrive with 1) warm clothes; and 2) a mountain bike outfitted with slicks. That way I can simply put on really warm clothes and ride a plush full-suspension bike all the way down.
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Old 03-21-07, 08:17 AM   #14
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So why don't you guys race up it? Road is closed to vehilce traffic!

http://www.bicyclerace.com/
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Old 03-21-07, 09:16 AM   #15
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I've done the race twice and would look at the route in two parts: from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake is just a nice, steady climb that would remind you of many Rocky Mtn climbs. Everything changes at Echo Lake. You have 13 miles to the summit and the altitude will mess with your cartiovascular system and your brain. First, go to the Bob Cook Memorial Hill Climb site and check out the mountain profile. It is not all up hill and not all smooth surface. Make sure your lungs are in good condition because if you overdo it, you will be battling dizziness. The last 3-4 miles is switchback city and gearing and momentum are key. Be in good condition, pick a good day, stoke your furnace, drink plenty, bring layers and enjoy one of the most unique climbs in the world. BTY, we want pics!!!!
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Old 03-21-07, 11:28 AM   #16
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I've done the race twice and would look at the route in two parts: from Idaho Springs to Echo Lake is just a nice, steady climb that would remind you of many Rocky Mtn climbs. Everything changes at Echo Lake. You have 13 miles to the summit and the altitude will mess with your cartiovascular system and your brain. First, go to the Bob Cook Memorial Hill Climb site and check out the mountain profile. It is not all up hill and not all smooth surface. Make sure your lungs are in good condition because if you overdo it, you will be battling dizziness. The last 3-4 miles is switchback city and gearing and momentum are key. Be in good condition, pick a good day, stoke your furnace, drink plenty, bring layers and enjoy one of the most unique climbs in the world. BTY, we want pics!!!!
Will do (Re: Pics)

I'll be in Colorado for a few days prior to my ascent - but I doubt two or three days at 7000-8000 ft will really do anything to acclimate myself to the altitude, right? I'm planning on starting from Idaho Springs, based on the assumption that those first 14 miles at a lower grade will help in my warmup before the steeper climb begins.

I'm in excellent shape (not bragging, just matter-of-fact) but I am worried about my lungs once I'm up in the thin air...been practicing some deep breathing (no clue if it actually helps in any way)...will be interested to see how my body reacts.

I don't plan on breaking any records going up the hill; I'll be happy with an avg speed of around 10 mph and make it under 3hrs...so considering my fitness level, I like to think I'll be fine...relatively speaking.

Would love to do the race...unfortunately timing doesn't work out for when I'll be making the trip.
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Old 03-21-07, 11:53 AM   #17
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the few days prior will help with acclimation, actually, so take stock in that. Definitely plan on riding those days too, to gauge how your lungs react to the altitude while under stress. I haven't climbed Evans, but done a few other climbs around here so far (Fremont, Tennessee, Vail passes, Trail Ridge Rd in Rocky Mtn Natl Park) and I'd speculate that 10mph avg on the way up is pretty aggressive. 6-8mph would be more realistic IMHO, especially when you get past 10, 11,000 ft. You'll be amazed how lack of oxygen affects energy.

What kind of climbing are you doing in preparation?

I don't want to sound like a sourpuss --you are in excellent shape, afterall-- but Evans is a tough climb even without the elevation. Compare it to other Colorado climbs: http://www.rmccrides.com/ClimbDB/climb_frame.html
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Old 03-21-07, 01:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by superdex

What kind of climbing are you doing in preparation?

I don't want to sound like a sourpuss --you are in excellent shape, afterall-- but Evans is a tough climb even without the elevation. Compare it to other Colorado climbs: http://www.rmccrides.com/ClimbDB/climb_frame.html

No...I hear ya; that 'excellent shape' note came across a little cocky when it wasn't meant to be...I expect to struggle up the climb, no question.

But I'm distinguishing between "struggling up the climb" and "not being able to make it at all"...claiming that my fitness level leaves me to believe that I'll be able to make it up the climb (struggling all the way, to be expected). 10mph avg might be a little aggressive...I'll set aside any expectations in my mind, beyond just making it to the top and down again in one piece.

"Climbing Preparation"
I live out on the East Coast (NYC) best I can do are long rides up to a place called Bear Mountain...the climb is only about 4 miles long, but the route there and back is slightly over 100 miles and has some rolling hills along the way
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Old 03-21-07, 01:53 PM   #19
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Reading that, you'll make it. No land speed records, but you'll make it. Heck, when ya coming out? I'll struggle with ya
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Old 03-21-07, 02:11 PM   #20
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I cut 10 minutes off my 2005 time by simply watching my heart rate rather than MPH. If you concentrate on your HR comfort zone and don't red line too much you'll be able to cope with the altitude better.
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Old 03-21-07, 02:20 PM   #21
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I cut 10 minutes off my 2005 time by simply watching my heart rate rather than MPH. If you concentrate on your HR comfort zone and don't red line too much you'll be able to cope with the altitude better.
Good advice;
Question: anyone know of any particular breathing techniques that may help in prep? (for some reason, the wife has scoffed at my idea of purchasing an altitude tent )
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Old 03-22-07, 06:57 AM   #22
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BMC - You can only come along if you promise to wait for my fat a$$ at the top! Trust me, I'll be on my 5200 for this one! No more bombing on downhills on the touring bike for me!
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Old 03-22-07, 09:33 AM   #23
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I'll be on my.... well, I guess I'll be on the only road bike I own. Hopefully with a few decent upgrades by then. MAYBE I'll be able to get a new(er) bike by then... we'll see.
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Old 03-23-07, 03:38 PM   #24
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ive done trail ridge from both sides, neither of them hurt much... jsut long steady grinds...

how much worse does that extra couple thousand feet of thin air up at mt evans hurt? how much harde is it? its on my radar for thissummer.
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Old 03-26-07, 11:55 AM   #25
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Cool thread. I've ridden Mt. Evans twice.

The first time I did it in - I think - '99 with a small group after Labor Day. We started out in Idaho Springs at the ranger station. Our strategy was to go after after labor day and avoid as much vehicle traffic as possible. That part worked really well. Once we got above tree line - that's about 11,500' - the wind nearly took us off our saddles. That part wasn't so good. So not only did we battle the oxygen deficit for another 2,500' we also pressed hard against the wind. The other discouraging factor were the few rivers of ice flow across the road that had to be portaged across going both up and down. Those weren't a huge deal, but I'd rather not give up the physical and mental momentum by dismounting.

The second time I rode Mt. Evans was in '05 by myself. This time I cherry picked a day in August that was warm and with a relatively calm breeze. I started once again in Idaho Springs. This time there was hardly any wind above tree line and there were no ice flows to deal with either. I had a much better experience this time overall. But there was a lot more vehicle traffic to contend with and having some company along for the ride would be nice too.

Timing is everything. I'll keep an eye out on this thread for the date. It would be fun to do as a group again. Maybe a pre TBP ride?
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