Hello, Rocky Mountains. Nice to meet you.
After putzing around Denver and trying out the B-Cycle program, the time finally arrived for me to be reunited with my baby. We drove over to Golden, CO, picked up the Cervelo, and gorged on a high-carb breakfast.
Since Mount Evans would be the major climb of the weekend, I wanted to test the bike out on a local climb just to make sure everything felt right. The object of my attention was Lookout Mountain, Golden’s signature climb that begins just outside of downtown.
This would be my first climb in the Rockies, and would be an out-and-back climb up to Buffalo Bill’s gravesite. I thought the climb would be somewhere around 4-miles, but based on my starting location, it ended up being closer to 6. It was around 11am when I started, right when the heat was bearing down. This and the higher altitude made it a far more challenging climb than it should have been, but I was fine. This was more of an excuse to get my overly tapered legs warm while taking in the local sights.
The climb was extremely scenic. The name of the mountain is apt, because from almost every switchback, there was a clear view of either the mountains above or the city below. The Coors brewery remained recognizable for awhile up the climb. The football stadium with a large ‘MINES’ letters in the end zone was visible for the entire climb. The rest of the town blurred as the route ascended, but there was plenty of eye candy to be had above.
It was not very steep. It seemed to range in the 4-6% vicinity, with the occasional section that popped up to 8%. I believe it maxed out at around 10%, and that was probably not a long, sustained section.
Traffic was something else to deal with. Not just car traffic, but also bicycle traffic. There were quite a few riders on the road. A lot of hot shots gunned by me, while I passed some people who only hoped to finish in one piece. There were criss-crossing mountain bike trails, which I saw a lot of people navigating, but for some reason I saw a lot of mountain bikes on the road too. Whatever it takes, I guess.
It was tempting to stop by the Buffalo Bill museum while at the top, but the last thing I wanted to do was to leave my bike outside unattended. Not to mention, my wife and her friend were waiting patiently at the Safeway below. A reader shared some historical details and it might be worth checking out on the way back.
The descent was nice. There were a few tight switchbacks, but the light grade made them easier to maneuver through. The view was even better on the way down because you could see the road snake around below. I stopped a couple times to try and get some good pictures, which unfortunately didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.
That was a nice test. I didn’t set any KOMs (and won’t during this entire trip), but I realized I could climb without significant issues in the Rockies.
The next day would be the true test, as I would attempt Mount Evans, the highest paved road in North America.
Speaking of those little B-Cycle things, a local told me that someone rode a century in one of those rinky-dink bikes, and even climbed up Lookout Mountain. Now that is impressive!
July 30th, 2012 at 12:17 pm
Super Jealous!! Nice work. Can’t wait to get there!!
July 31st, 2012 at 11:38 am
To get here or out of Kansas? Godspeed, my friend. You’ll love it here.
July 30th, 2012 at 9:41 pm
That’s a very cool, first-day, warm-up, test climb…congrats! My brother-in-law and family live in Golden, so I can just imagine you riding up that hill! Not that I’ve ever done anything more than look at it from the town…
July 31st, 2012 at 11:39 am
It probably compares well to climbs in your area. Similar profiles, just different experience. You might try renting a bike next time in town and trying it out. Very nice cycling community in Golden.