Somehow I got a wild hair and decided about a month and a half ago that I was going to do a ride that I've had in the back of my head for a while. The idea was to ride from my house (close to Bowles & 470 for you Denverites) to the top of Mt Evans and back. Mt Evans has the highest paved road in the U.S. so I thought that would be kinda cool. I decided this was the weekend to do it and had an excellent weather forecast. I started out from the house at 6:30 Saturday morning. The 470 bike trail looking north along the hogback ridge. The route I chose was fairly simple. Up Bear Creek canyon to Evergreen, then get on 74 and ride up to Squaw Pass road just outside of Bergen Park. Up Squaw Pass road to Echo Lake, and then up Mt Evans road to the top. It was a stellar morning, just warm enough that I didn't have to have long sleeves starting off. Once I got into Bear Creek canyon all the cold air coming out of the mountains cooled me off enough to put on sleeves. The ride up through the canyon was uneventful. My legs were not falling into a good rhythm though. I was worried a bit about that, and being alone the brain has a tendancy to obsess about small stuff. I kept on hammering away and figured that they would eventually start working okay. I got through Evergreen and up to Squaw Pass road. I had 24 miles in and about 2 hours of riding. I wasn't slacking, but not exactly cruising either. At the bottom of Squaw Pass. Sign says Mt Evans 32 miles. I started up Squaw and still wasn't feeling the love from my legs. So, I figured I would ride up to the top of Squaw and make a decision there. I was downing a pack of goo an hour and had Accelerade in my camelback, so I was getting enough fuel. It was a gorgeous day in the mountains and I had all day, so I just took it easy and kept on pedaling. The leaves are starting to turn up high I hit the top of Squaw and was actually starting to feel better so I pressed onward. As I rounded a corner I got the first glimpse of what I wanted to ride to the top of. The top of Evans is actually a little in the trees, but you get the idea. I had to ride downhill to get to the road that goes up Evans which was a bummer. Not that I was having a lot of fun climbing for the last 38 miles or so, but every foot I dropped I knew I had to climb back up. I got to the gate and found out that the NPS charges bikers to ride up the road. DOH! I got lucky and scrounged enough spare change from my camelback to get in. I started the 14 mile climb to the top and actually was feeling pretty good. There was not a lot of traffic so I had a pretty quiet ride up. I got above treeline and went from hot to cold to hot depending on which side of the mountian I was on. The west wind was pretty chilly, but I was sweating when out of the wind. I had my sleeves that make any jersey long sleeved on, so it was cool I could just pull them down to my wrist or up depending on the wind. Pretty soon I busted through treeline and was out in the open. It has been a long time since I've been up high so it was really nice. You can see a couple bikers coming down.... The gate at Summit lake was closed but everyone just ducks underneath it and rides/walks. I was soon on the last 4 miles to the summit. The road practically switched back on itself to get up the steep sections. It was really nice riding without ANY traffic what so ever. I had the road to myself for the most part. You can see the summit in this pic. There is a white Astronomy dome up there. I wasn't sure what to expect riding above 13k feet, but I was expecting it to be a lot harder than it was. I was down in my small chainring (yes, I ride a triple) and 3rd in back almost the whole time. So, I wasn't going fast, but I never felt gassed or like I just couldn't ride. Heart rate was fairly high, 80-90% of max but still not breathing really hard. I hit the top and put my jacket on because the wind was blowing pretty good. I could not quite pick it out in this pic, but above my handlebars where the mountains end is about where I started. I saw a couple of hikers up on the summit, so I hiked my bike up the trail so I could say I 'summited' Evans. I got them to take the cheesy summit shot of me. Summit!! It was 56 miles (almost exactly) to the summit. It took me about 7.5 hours to get up there. I jumped back on the bike and started heading down. The road was steep enough that I was hitting 35-40 mph just coasting, but had to keep speed in check to make it around the switchbacks. Once I was past summit lake I could pretty much let the bike go because the turns were not so tight. The 14 miles down to the base of the road went by super fast. The rest of the ride was really fun. Screaming down Squaw Pass was absolutely awesome. I could do without some of the surprise pot holes at 30 mph, but managed to avoid most of them. The ride down Bear Creek was kind of a pain. It's not that steep and the heat in Denver was causing a blast furnace wind to blow up the canyon. I made it home in 3.5 hours from the summit. I immediately inhaled almost a whole bag of BBQ potatoe chips and a few huge glasses of gatorade. I felt remarkably good considering I finished 112 miles, and somewhere between 9k and 10k feet of climbing. My HR monitor said 6250 calories burned, but I'm pretty sure it was more than that because there were a few times it lost signal during the ride and I didn't notice it. What a killer ride!