When I was investigating biking routes here in Summit County, I took note of this bucket list ride, Mt. Evans. In a moment of clear insanity, I emailed it to Hillary asking if I can ride this as a training day between races. As if Hillary would ever say no to something like this!
So we picked a day. Unfortunately fellow TeamHPB-er, Sam, had to take care of some military obligations and that left me to tackle the mountain solo. I am a huge fan of long climbs – in fact my favorite day at Tucson camp is Mt Lemmon day where we get to race to the top! Mt. Evans has some similarities to Mt Lemmon – they are both ~28 miles of climbing and they are both pretty much straight climbing. Okay, so basically they are both mountains! There are a few differences as well…..Mt Lemmon goes from ~2,500 feet to about 8,000 feet of elevation. On the other hand, Mt Evans starts at 8,000 feet and ends above 14,000 feet! Mt Evans also has the last 4-5 miles of switchbacks, whereas Lemmon is more of a straighter road for the ascent. The biggest difference though in my mind, was at the top! At Mt Lemmon you’re rewarded (spoiled) with a Cookie Cabin, pizza, hot chocolate, whatever you want – assuming you’ll pay the crazy prices at the top for it! At the top of Mt Evans there’s…..rocks. And a LOT of people who think they “climbed” at 14-er. It’s a bit depressing that there isn’t even some water to fill up! I made a chart comparing each climb. Definitely study this before you attempt either:
The descent at Lemmon is also a bit easier in my mind – better road conditions by far, and the switchbacks make keeping off your breaks really dicey at Mt Evans.
Despite the lack of oxygen and cookies though, Mt Evans is a really fun and GORGEOUS ride. I’m not sure I’ll be itching to go back up anytime soon, but I think I thought that after my first time up Mt Lemmon too!