Monday, July 28, 2008

Mt Evans Hill Climb July 19, 2008

Mt. Evans Masters 55+ Report or Alpe D’Huez Aint Got Nothin’

Race day last Saturday was one of the hottest in Denver, about 99 degrees, and we couldn’t have hoped for better. The translation is perfect conditions for racing up to 14,000 feet. Our 55+ Masters group lit up with a bang at about mile ½, after two out-of-state riders pulled away. Hmmmm, for an important race the only allowed stragglers should be off the back, yes?. Our two leaders rudely never came back. The early break dictated the rest of the race, as the higher-paced peleton thinned and broke up over the ensuing 5K.

It’s amazing what altitude can do, over 28 miles and 7,000 feet of raced climbing. At about 13,000 feet before the final switchbacks, I felt as if all it would take would be a spectator blowing on me, and I would have fallen over. By 13,500 after those brief downhill respites I strangely felt much stronger, all the way to the top. At the 14,000 foot finish, the sun was so warm and strong it would have been easy to lay out until lobster red was the color of the day. Through an energy-drained haze I remembered though, that last time I rode down in similar weather it felt like my bike frame was broken…. My two layers of jackets left me shivering. Paul Mack and I both put on clothes to match a 35 degree Winter ride including Paul Mack signature Lobster gloves, kindly ferried up by volunteer drivers, and that was just enough. The ride down finally allowed enough time and energy to take in views from the most gorgeous road in North America.

- Bill (lessons {re}learned) Simmons 3rd, first for the Colorado Masters Hill Climbing Championship.
- Jonathan (I’m back) Montag, excellent ride, 9th.
- Paul (valiantly chasing early) Mack, 10th.

Beth Wren-Estes put together a fantastic race, with challenges most promoters never face. Additionally this year financially strapped sponsors pulled out. Beth and her cadre of volunteers truly deserve our gratitude for a race that puts Alpe D’Huez to shame.

Bill Simmons

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