The weather started off rather favorable for the very early 4:00 am start as participants were greeted by pleasant temperatures (in the mid-60s) and light westerly winds. The pleasant conditions persisted as riders made the initial climbs (nearly 7,000 feet in the first 50 miles) up Deer Creek Canyon/High Grade Road and US-285 to Kenosha Pass. After descending the western slope of Kenosha Pass into the "Kansas-esque" South Park Valley, however, the pleasant weather conditions rapidly deteriorated. From the time participants reached the town of Jefferson, they were throttled by constant barrage of 25 mph southwesterly headwinds, gusting much higher than that at times. The demoralizing westerly winds persisted for the duration of the event, even as riders finished in Woody Creek!
Weather conditions continued to deteriorate as the day progressed. Bright blue skies that had greeted riders earlier in the day rapidly became obscured by a shroud of clouds which engulfed the spectacular alpine peaks surrounding Independence Pass. Temperatures also continued to plummet, paving the way for Old Man Winter to leave his wrath upon Denver-to-Aspen participants. Riders who departed from the Twin Lakes checkpoint before 2 p.m. generally escaped the wrath of Old Man Winter; however, this was not the case for participants who left Twin Lakes after 2 p.m. Riders departing Twin Lakes later in the afternoon "took in on the chin," getting caught in a freak summer snowstorm during the climb to the top of the pass. Riders initially encountered rain showers, which rapidly turned into snow as temperatures dropped to near freezing conditions. Trying to stay warm as they ascended the pass, may Denver-to-Aspen participants were forced to take shelter in support vehicles, waiting for the snowstorm to pass. Other riders decided to abandon on Independence Pass, unable to tolerate the frigid weather conditions. For participants who persevered through the treacherous conditions, there not a lot of smiling faces at the conclusion of the ride! The constant barrage of wind and the early summer snowstorm left many Denver-to-Aspen participants feeling a bit throttled and frozen. Indeed, the adverse weather conditions were demoralizing for all of this year's participants!
Congratulations to all of the participants for attempting this challenging route. And additional kudos to all 21 riders who successfully completed this year's Joe Lookingbill Denver-to-Aspen Classic!
- 179 miles, 13,500 feet of climbing. (With corrected Garmin altimeter readings, the Denver-to-Aspen course may have over 14,000 feet of climbing!)
- 5 categorized climbs:
- Deer Creek Canyon/High Grade Road: Cat. 1
- Kenosha Pass: Cat. 3
- Red Hill Pass: Cat. 4
- Trout Creek Pass: Cat. 4
- Independence Pass (from Twin Lakes): HC
- Approximately 56 miles of rollers (and punishing wind) through the South Park Valley from Kenosha Pass to Buena Vista
- 39 preregistered riders (our largest number of pre-registered riders ever!)
- 35 ride starters, 2 late withdrawals, and 2 no-shows. Of the 35 riders who started, 33 were men and 2 were women.
- 21 official finishers (60%), including 21 riders who finished in less than 15 hours to pre-qualify for the other events of the Colorado Triple Crown.
- 14 DNFs (40%), our largest number of DNFs ever. Weather conditions made this ride much more difficult than usual!
- RMCC rookie, Walter Zitz (1st Denver-to-Aspen) and Mark Lowe (7th Denver-to-Aspen) completed to course with the day's fastest time of 10 hours, 25 minutes.
- Corinne Warren was our first and only female finisher with a time of 14 hours, 48 minutes. Congratulations, Corinne! Your hard training early this spring definitely prepared you for the difficult conditions!!
Special thanks to the following individuals for providing event support for this year's ride. We could not have done this without your help!
- RMCC president, Charlie Henderson
- Penny Nelsen
- Diana Shannon
- Rick Melick (provided roving support from Buena Vista to Twin Lakes)
Note: Complete results (with splits) will be posted on the new RMCC website later this year!
|Name||Age||City, State||Total Time|
|Lowe, Mark||40||Arvada, CO||10:25|
|Zitz, Walter||28||Lakewood, CO||10:25|
|Nelsen, Eric||42||Evergreen, CO||10:54|
|Franz, Ryan||36||Boulder, CO||11:18|
|Rudolph, Steve||54||Westminster, CO||11:27|
|Miller, Tom||45||Denver, CO||11:32|
|Cannon, Tim||51||Telluride, CO||11:59|
|Baker, Chris||43||Firestone, CO||13:02|
|Hulett, Jeffrey||54||Golden, CO||13:02|
|Pfeil, Mark||46||Boulder, CO||13:03|
|Rupel, Ray||59||Centennial, CO||13:18|
|Smith, Vernon||56||Colorado Springs, CO||13:23|
|Howell, Craig||36||Littleton, CO||13:42|
|Nelson, David||60||Greenwood Village, CO||14:11|
|Schroer, Steve||46||Littleton, CO||14:19|
|Turek, Michael||47||Longmont, CO||14:42|
|Warren, Corinne||46||Monument, CO||14:48|
|Eckenroth, Jason||37||Boulder, CO||14:49|
|Smolarkiewicz, Pawel||39||Louisville, CO||14:49|
|Barnes, Graham||43||Boulder, CO||14:59|
|Cameron, Don||51||Golden, CO||16:55|
|Gehlert, Dave||50||Denver, CO||DNF|
|Briere, Philip||48||Denver, CO||DNF|
|Lemon, John||50||Golden, CO||DNF|
|Miller, Tim||44||Castle Rock, CO||DNF|
|Shannon, Kelly||53||Denver, CO||DNF|
|Benoit, Diane||56||Morrison, CO||DNF|
|McDonald, Dan||60||Denver, CO||DNF|
|Turner, Jason||39||Monument, CO||DNF|
|Cole, Charlie||47||Denver, CO||DNF|
|Ratcliff, Dave||42||Littleton, CO||DNF|
|Robbins, Craig||46||Centennial, CO||DNF|
|Torrey, Jacob||24||Greenwood Village, CO||DNF|
|Borgsmiller, Ken||47||Elizabeth, CO||DNF|
|Saville, Ian||50||Elizabeth, CO||DNF|
Photos at the conclusion of the ride at the Woody Creek Tavern:
|Mark Lowe and Walter Zitz at the Woody Creek Tavern, glad to have escaped the snowstorm that engulfed many |
of this year's Denver-to-Aspen participants in Independence Pass.
|Eric Nelsen had an excellent first "long" ride of the year! Congratulations, Eric, on completing another D2A!|
|In spite of being overwhelmed with parenthood duties at home, |
Ryan Franz successfully completed his third Denver-to-Aspen! Great having you out there, Ryan!
|Steve Rudolph endured the tough conditions to complete his fourth Denver-to-Aspen|
|Celebrating his recent state criterium championship, Tom Miller finds a balance |
between road racing and endurance riding. Congratulations, Tom!
|Tim Cannon drove to the Denver Front Range from Telluride |
to complete his first Denver-to-Aspen. Congratulations, Tim!
|In spite of the frigid conditions on Independence Pass, Jeffrey Hulett, Mark Pfeil, and Chris Baker successfully completed Denver-to-Aspen. Congratulations to all three of you! (Mark...I'm glad the monkey is off your back!)|
|Chilled at the end of the ride, Ray Rupel is glad to have survived the frigid conditions |
on Independence Pass to complete his first D2A since 2009!
|RMCC distance veteran, Vernon Smith, arrives at the Woody Creek Tavern, completing the first stage|
of the 2014 Colorado Triple Crown and his first Denver-to-Aspen in many years.
|Not a stranger to adversity, Colorado Triple Crown veteran, Craig Howell, successfully negotiated the adverse weather conditions on Independence Pass to complete his third D2A. Excellent ride, Craig!|
|Arriving at the Woody Creek Tavern, Steve Schroer questions the sanity of endurance riding. (FYI...we all have second thoughts from time-to-time!) Congratulations on completing your second Denver-to-Aspen!|
|Exhausted and chilled at the finish, Mike Turek successfully completed his first Denver-to-Aspen! Great ride, Mike!|
|Exhausted and frozen at the end of the ride, Jason Eckenroth, Pawel Smolarkiewicz, and Corinne Warren successfully completed their first Denver-to-Aspen. Congratulations to all three of you!!|
|Graham Barnes...what do you call a rider who finishes in 14:59?? A Denver-to-Aspen finisher!! Congratulations on finishing within the 15-hour time limit to prequalify for the other events of the Triple Crown!!|
|Thanks to RMCC president, Charlie Henderson, Penny Nelson, and Diana Shannon (not pictured) for their fabulous support of this year's event!!|
|Spectacular views of the mountains as riders approach Twin Lakes. The blue skies didn't last for much longer!|
|CO 82 pitches up nearly 3,000 feet from Twin Lakes to the top on Independence Pass.|
Up next: the Colorado Death Ride!!!