I've heard some accounts of the climb prior to this day, seen garmin data (today's data here), and read a recent blog post by someone who just rode up this "thing" earlier in the week. So I think I was prepared. Really I was prepared to stay in my easiest gear (36x27) for about 4 hours to the summit. And that's pretty much what happened!
Bryan, Matt and I left the parking lot of this park and immediately you are in a climb. 9mph or so. That was it for the next 15ish miles. Topped out here about 11,200ft, then a nice 3mile or so descent to Echo Lake. The skies were blue and the scenery Colorado-tastic!
|Matt and Bryan (and my bike) about 15 miles into the ride|
|refueling stop at Echo Lake (nice scenery, eh?)|
|Bryan, my bike, and Matt about to keep climbing!|
A little over half-way to the top, someone comes by me and says 'Hey!' or 'Hey woman' or something like that. It was Joe! His car didn't start in the morning so he got a later start but still mananged to haul booty up the mountain and pass me (ok so I'm not that fast) and get to the summit not much past Bryan and Matt!
There were a few moments of headwind, well more than a few, on some of the switchbacks at the top. I'd go from 5.5mph to 7.0mph. woohoo! This climb is a mental challenge as well. You are above the treeline (12,140ish ft) for most of this climb so you can see forever. The road has no guardrail. It's easy for the little voices to tell you you can stop at the next turnout. But I wasn't going to stop - I could still breathe and my legs weren't aching (tired, yes, aching, no).
I tried to get a picture of the view while climbing but it didn't turn out so well...
|at times the road did feel this steep!|
|cell phone camera, but that's me on the left with Bryan, Joe and Matt|
|and how cool is this...a 14er with a bike rack on the summit!|
Six and a half hours later after we departed we arrived back at the cars! Successful trip! Now I know what to expect for the big day on the 28th....if I keep a steady pace and keep breathing, I won't have any trouble!