On Friday 17 September, I was on my second trip to Boulder, Colorado. The first trip took place in July of this year and it reminded me so much of home. The weather and the beauty of it all. Both trips were thanks to work, but I decided to make the most of my second trip and come out a few days early than needed.
Why? Well, I was in one of the most beautiful parts of the US (IMHO) and it would be silly not see the place. And secondly, thanks to the team at Pez Cycling News and this image, I just had to had to experience what it would be like to ride up the highest paved road in North America – Mount Evans.
In preparing for my trip, the biggest thing I was deliberating was whether to take my new Basso with me, or hire a bicycle while I was out there. As I had just bought the bike, I didn’t want to risk it being man-handled by the British Airways baggage handling crew. So, this left the only option of hiring a bike while I was out there. I figured that if it was going to cost me £60+ to pay for the extra luggage needed for the bike, I could instead spend the money on a bike rental.
Still being undecided about it, my good friend James loaned me his bike box. He brought the box around and gave me the instructions on how to pack the bike. Wow, with all the additional cladding and packaging I was going to need, the hire option became the sensible answer to all of this.
Before I departed, I decided to take in stage 5 of The 2010 Tour of Britain. The stage finised in Glastonbury. On my way home after the stage, I had the privelage of spending the drive back with the director of marketing for Team Garmin Transitions. Anyway, to cut a long journey short, I was offered the chance to ride a team issue Felt as the team’s service course was based in Boulder.
So that was my trip sorted. All I had to do was get to the hotel and the bike would be waiting for me. And it was! I couldn’t believe my luck – a $6000 team issue bicycle waiting for me to ride it. A Felt F1-SL. Ths was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
The following morning I loaded the bike into the car and made my way to Idaho Springs, the start location for the trip up Mt Evans. When I got there, I changed and got the bike ready. However, the tyres weren’t quite pumped up and the hand pump just wasn’t able to get the pressure up to the 10bar mark. So I took a short ride down the high street and found a little bike store – Mountain & Road Bicycle Repair. If you are ever in Idaho Springs, please drop into the store and say hello. Inside, the shop owner – Jerry – gave me a hand and helped me pump the wheels up with a proper pressure pump.
Once done, I made my way along the 29-mile ride to the summit. I am proud to say that I did make it to the summit. However, having only arrived the day before from the UK and not being used to the high altitude definitely took its toll on me that day. For example, from Summit Lake to the top (approximately 7 miles) took me just under two hours to do. I was so dizzy that I had to walk the last two miles. But I can proudly say that I rode to the height of 14,260 feet (4,346.5m).
So, here are the pictures from my ride on that very hot day:
The view on the way up Mount Evans
Only a third of the way up at this point
So beautiful, yet so hot!
Getting closer to the top
Looking down to the entrance of Mount Evans road (it's the small lane at the bottom right hand side). 16 miles to the summit from the entrance
From the brochure that you are given at the entrance of Mount Evans road, it says that the sun is 5% stronger for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained. However, temperatures drop 3.5 – 5 degrees F (that’s just short of 1 degree C) for every 1,000 feet of elevation gained. So, it get colder as you get higher, but you do manage to get a tan. I know – I managed to get knee warmer tan lines. A very odd look when wearing shorts.
Looking up from Summit Lake. This is 7 miles from the top of Mount Evans
This is the view that inspired me to take a ride up Mt Evans
Here you can see the switchback in more detail
Team Garmin's Felt that helped me get to the top. Awesome riding machine!
The views from the other side of the mountain
Above the tree line. You can see how desolate it is up here
At the top of Mt Evans - 14,260' (4,346.5m)
Looking back down towards Summit Lake (to the left by the cloud's shadow) where my car was parked
Crest House and the highest observatory in North America
Back down at Summit Lake by the car
Driving back down towards the entrance of Mount Evans road by Echo Lake
One of the many repetitive signs on the way up and down