Has anyone ever done this ride? If so, can I pm you asking for suggestions, tips, etc. I am considering doing this in another month. The rode is closed to traffic this summer and seems like a good time to attempt this.
I did this in 2018. Definitely do it.
To get the whole climb, start from Idaho Springs. There is a free parking lot just south of I-70 that you can use. It is across the street from Clear Creak Middle School.
I did it on a Monday with traffic and I did not mind the cars. Probably a weekend attempt would be sketchier. If you can do it without traffic it will be great.
Make sure you can carry plenty of water, as you will only be able to refill at Echo Park, which is about halfway. Past that there are restrooms at Summit Lake Park (about 5 miles from the top), but not water fountains there (I guess you could dip your bottles in the lake tho).
It’s not a terrible difficult climb, but it is long and the altitude is significant. I live at 500ft above sea level and I did it without too much trouble. I didn’t really notice the effect of the thin air until I came back down and got a massive headache. I also took a lot of Ginko the weeks before the climb because i heard that helped (who knows).
The road conditions are nice until you get start getting close to the top. The freeze/thaw cycle creates latitudinal cracks in the road surface. They don’t cause too much trouble on the way up, but you will need to take it slow on the beginning of the descent. Make sure your brakes are up to snuff.
I had to stop twice on the way down because there were mountain goats in the road. So, watch out for that too.
Do this. you will not regret it
A big concern is the amount of water I will need to carry. According to this article Echo Lake is closed, so no refilling water bottles. https://theknow.denverpost.com/2020/06/10/biking-mount-evans-2020/240346/
I can carry two on my bike and bring a hydration pack with me, it’s extra weight, but better to be safe than to have no water.
I got by with two big bottles and I did not refill anywhere. But I was cutting it close. I did the 2nd half of the descent empty.
One thing i forgot to mention is gearing. I did it with 52/36 and 11-28. Never had to use the 36-28.
Here is my Mt. Evans / Bob Cook story…from 1993.
Lived in Demver at the time, so we drove up to Idaho Falls that AM, got out of the car and it was 51*. I had jersey / shorts, arm warmers, a Gore Tex vest and knit gloves (the kind with the rubber dimples on the palm). By the time we got to Echo Lake, it was starting to rain a bit…then it was sleet…as we cleared the tree line, it turned to snow and the wind kicked in HARD. Temps dropped (not sure how much, but definitely around freezing, plus wind chill) and I was frozen solid. Could not shift my STI because my hands were blocks of ice. I wanted to quit, but the only way I was getting off that mountain was to get to the top…if I had turned around, I would have died because I could not operate the brakes.
Past Summit Lake and the wind was brutal. I came around one switchback and it knocked me off the bike. had to unclip to catch myself…luckily an official on a motorcycle came by me just then and stopped in front on me long enough to block the wind and let me get back going. Otherwise, I never could have started again and would have had to walk to the next switchback. once I was pedaling, he took off and I swear I did not know I could go that slow on a bike and stay upright (I saw 1.2 mph on my bike computer!)
Finally get to the top and I must have looked bad because a volunteer came up to me immediately to give me a blanket and get me into a van. I had to have been hypothermic…still have no idea who took my bike or how it got back down the hill. It took me ~10 minutes to warm up enough to start shivering…and when it started, it was full-body, violent shivering. Think it last ~20 minutes.
The date was July 8.
Moral of the story - be prepared for bad weather. Be smart. Don’t be afraid to turn around if you get hit by a mountain storm…you do not want frozen hands descending down from the top.
We used to ride this for training back when I was at school in Boulder. I agree the weather could potentially be the trickiest part.
If you can’t refill at echo lake you could always park up there, ride down to Idaho, ride back up and have all your supplies right there at echo. That’s what I’d do. 2 bottles from Idaho Springs would take away from the ride.
I did this as a Cat 4 race in 1981. I hope the summit road has been repaved. I momentarily took my eyes off the road about 100 m from the finish and rode into a pothole that bent my front forks. Ran to the finish, but missed the downhill back to the start
I’m planning on riding this on July 11th. My wife is going to drive the car up to Echo lake and hang out. I will have a camelback and extra water in case I need it, but won’t pick it up until I reach echo lake. Planning on 2 20 oz bottles, one with Nuun caffeine sport and the other with just H2O.
I will let you know how it goes. Fingers crossed for good weather!
I’m thinking about trying this ride the first week of August. I’ll be in CO for two weeks to acclimate. I plan on riding some of the Leadville course, the Triple Bypass route and maybe Evans if I still feel up for it.