Saturday, June 23, 2012

2012 Mt. Evans Challenge Recap

RMCCers prepared for the start of the 2012 RMCC Mt. Evans Challenge, Colorado's hardest hill climb!

A small (but hardy) contingency of RMCCers lined up for 2012 edition of the Mt. Evans Challenge. This RMCC Challenge Series event features over 9,000 feet of lung-searing climbing to an altitude of 14,127 at the top of Mt. Evans, North America's highest paved road. Event participant Steve Rudolph summed up the Mt. Evans Challenge best, "[This] is a hard climb! I alway forget how difficult this climb really is!" Challenge series organizer, Mark Lowe added, "the Bob Cooke Mt. Evans Hill Climb is a very hard race, especially when it is ridden at a 'race pace' effort! However, I think that this event is potentially even harder! It's 20 miles longer and has about 2,400 more feet of climbing. Since the ride takes most riders four to six hours to complete, it definitely involves more careful attention to nutrition and hydration." All participants would agree that this climb is not to be taken lightly!

RMCCers begin the Mt. Evans Challenge with an early morning jaunt up Lookout Mountain in Golden, CO

The Mt. Evans Challenge, which typically falls on the RMCC calendar in June, is essentially a 48 mile, draft-legal time trial from Golden to the summit of Mt. Evans. The event, which has a six hour time limit, serves multiple purposes for RMCC members. For some riders, the Mt. Evans Challenge is a chance to prepare for the upcoming Bob Cooke Mt. Evans Hill Climb race in July. Other participants used the event to fine-tune their climbing skills for next weekend's Colorado Death Ride in Ridgway, the second stage of the Colorado Triple Crown. And with temperatures expected to be well over 100 degrees in the Denver area, the event marked an opportunity for all participants to escape the unusual June heat in eastern Colorado to the much cooler temperatures at the Mt. Evans summit.

Mark Michel with his stealth, new Calfee Design Luna Pro at the summit of Mt. Evans, after 9,000+ feet of climbing!

Congratulations to all this year's riders! Event results will be posted on the RMCC website in the next few days.

No RMCC course records were broken today, but the event did feature perhaps the best comeback of the year! For the first time since 2011, RMCCer Mark Michel participated in his first Challenge Series event. For those of you who are not aware, Mark was involved in a horrific bicycle accident last summer. During a club Tuesday night hillclimb, Mark was struck by a turning vehicle who did not see him as he innocently passed through an intersection in Morrison, CO. The accident left Mark with internal injuries and numerous broken bones on the left side of his body. Mark was in the intensive care unit at St. Anthony's Hospital in Lakewood for several weeks and had several surgeries on his left knee, left arm, and left clavicle before he began the long road to recovery.

However, in spite of all his broken bones and injuries, the accident did not break Mark's mind, his spirit, or his enthusiasm for cycling. And after many surgeries and many months of physical therapy (and a few unfortunate set-backs along the way), Mark decided to choose the Mt. Evans Challenge--Colorado's ultimate hillclimb--as his comeback event. My hat's off to Mark for his courageous comeback ride after conquering a personal challenge that would have had many of us "throwing in the towel" on life and cycling all together!

It's good to have you back out on the road!!!

Mark hoists his Calfee Design after conquering both Mt. Evans and numerous injuries from his accident in 2011. Welcome back, Mark! (But don't drop that beautiful new bicycle! :)
Steve Rudolph cruises into the checkpoint at Echo Lake.

Tom Groves arrives at Echo Lake. Tom is relieved that he only has another 3,400 feet of climging to reach the Mt. Evans summit.

Tim Miller making the ascent up Lookout Mountain as the heat of the sun begins to bake the Denver area. Temperatures reached over 100 degrees in Denver, unusually hot for June! Riders were relieved to find temperatures in the low 60s on the Mt. Evans summit.

Special thanks to Will deRosset who drove down from Ft. Collins, CO to provide event support for this ride! Unfortunately, it turned out to be a somewhat disastrous day for Will. While driving over the permafrost-damaged pavement at Summit Lake, the oil pan on Will's vehicle was damaged, leaving Will stranded at 13,000 feet. Through some trials and tribulations, we did manage to get Will safely back to Ft. Collins!