Mt. Evans Bike Ride

Date of bike ride: Sunday, August, 2, 2016

Trip Details: 
    Distance:               51.3 miles
    Elevation gain:     7,116 ft
    Moving time:        4:43:52

We woke up very early in Golden, Colorado. After a beautiful drive to Idaho Springs, the three of us were pedaling by 7:31am. The morning air was crisp and the sky free of clouds. Weather reports called for 20% chance of thunderstorms after 2pm but we hoped for dry weather through the afternoon.
 

 
Luckily for us, Mt. Evans Scenic Byway was under construction and the road was closed to cars past Echo Lake!
The climb up to Mt. Evans is very gradual, with an average grade of 4.5%. The clouds were building with every passing moment. As we reached Summit Lake, we felt raindrops. It was spittin’ on and off but luckily the clouds broke after 10 minutes. 
As we reached the switchbacks that lead to the top, we ran into a herd of mountain goats. I had never seen mountain goats before today. So great! 

Four hours and six minutes after leaving Idaho Springs, we reached the top of the road. We did it! After a few celebratory pictures and chasing mountain goats, we took off down the mountain. The clouds were building, the wind had picked up and the temperature was dropping.

Our friend Dan pictured above was much faster than us and took off downhill first. He was out of sight after a few corners. Unfortunately Laurie and I forgot to give him the keys to our car – the car we drove to Idaho Springs.
Soon after we headed down the hill too. Laurie and I didn’t think much of the clouds and thought the rain would hold off. 

Boy were we wrong.

First came the thunder and lightning.

Then, past Echo Lake, the clouds opened up and the rains came..hard.

The torrential downpour didn’t stop until we did. I had never ridden my bike in the rain. It was hard work. But I was also learning a lot about my bike in wet conditions – the level of grip, how much raindrops hurt past 30 mph, and how the responsiveness of the bike changes.

But after awhile, my research stopped. There was standing water on the road that upset the rear of my bike. Then the road had washed out. Nothing major, only a 3 foot wide stretch of dirt covering the asphalt.

But then, after turning a corner with only 5 miles left to Idaho Springs, another wash out. This time though, there were big rocks mixed in with the mountain side that now covered the road.

I stopped just short of the washout and thankfully Laurie did too.

Our ride was over.

Luckily, just as we stopped, Dan’s wife Jackie drove up in her car. We gave her the keys to our car, found shelter from the rain under a canopy, and tried to warm up while we waited for her to return.

Laurie’s lips were purple and she couldn’t stop shivering. After 20 minutes or so, Jackie returned with our car – the heater on full blast. We loaded the bikes as fast as we could and got in. The heater felt ah-mazing!

In Idaho Springs, we changed into our dry clothes in the parking lot and went to Beau Jo’s for pizza. Better than the pizza were the 3 cups of hot chocolate and tea Laurie and I drank to warm up.

What an experience. What a ride. One we will remember for a long time!

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