Tag Archives: golden

Colorado Wrap-Up

Summit Lake from the top of Mount Evans.

A few times while I was riding above the treeline, I recalled the movie Contact. Towards the end, when Jodie Foster’s character discovers the beauty of space, she sighs and says “They should have sent a poet.” I’ve thought of this as one of the cheesiest lines in film, but it made sense to me while riding in solitude surrounded by overwhelming mountain scenery. The fact that I achieved these sights under my own power made the experience that much more special. It reinforced and reinvigorated my love for climbing.

In my week of cycling, I achieved 280 miles, 25k feet in climbing, conquered eight mountain passes, and the highest paved road in North America. It far exceeded my goals and aspirations.

That may seem like a lot, but I had plenty of other activities. I attended a Colorado Rockies game, a concert at Red Rocks, a Denver Goth club (!!), toured a number of breweries, and ate my weight at local restaurants. I spent the trip with my lovely wife and some good friends.

The website now has new content areas: There is a new Photos section for the Colorado trip, a new Colorado Climbs section, and there are a lot of new additions to the Conquered Photos section.

Here are the blog posts from the week:

Day 1: Lookout Mountain
Day 2: Mount Evans
Day 3: Hoosier Pass
Day 4: Copper Mountain, Vail Pass
Day 5: Loveland Pass
Day 6: Independence Pass
Day 7: Copper Triangle

And here are some pictures of the adventures I had off the bike.

Lookout Mountain, Golden, CO

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!

Strava GPS Link