Outdoors

Cyclists Test Grit and Lungs in Race to Top of Mount Evans This Weekend

Mountain Goats are a common sight along the highway leading to the top of Mt. Evans.
Mountain Goats are a common sight along the highway leading to the top of Mt. Evans. Facebook / Mt. Evans Hill Climb

On July 15, one of Colorado's more famous (and some might say masochistic) bicycle races is set to take place on the highest paved road in North America.

The annual Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb sends cyclists 27.4 miles straight uphill from an elevation of 7,500 feet in Idaho Springs to the peak of Mount Evans, at an elevation of 14,130 feet.

click to enlarge COURTESY: RACE ORGANIZERS
Courtesy: race organizers

This year's race marks the 52nd year of the hill climb, which kicked off in 1962 and has run consecutively except for three gaps. It was named after Bob Cook in 1981, after the six-time winner of the climb (and member of the U.S. Olympic Cycling Team) tragically died from brain cancer at the age of 23.

Today the race has a national reputation as one of the most prestigious hill climbs in cycling, and draws professional racers and amateur cyclists alike. For the pro racers, it has also been designated the Colorado State Hill Climb Championship.

FACEBOOK / MT. EVANS HILL CLIMB
Facebook / Mt. Evans Hill Climb
This year, I'm reporting on and participating in the classic cycling event (in the Gran Fondo, a race against the clock), and will be broadcasting a Facebook Live video for Westword at the awards ceremony, set to take place at Tommyknocker Brewery in Idaho Springs. Keep an eye out on Westword's Facebook page for a video to be broadcast around 1 or 2 p.m. tomorrow, when you'll meet the men and women who will be crowned this year's champions.

In the meantime, you can get a sense of what the ride down from the summit of Mount Evans is like by watching a Go-Pro video that I took during a training ride on June 18. (It also happened to be the same day as the annual Mt. Evans Ascent, a foot race, which explains why there are so many runners.) Enjoy, and be sure to watch tomorrow's Facebook Live!
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Chris Walker is a freelancer and former staff writer at Westword. Before moving to the Mile High City he spent two years bicycling across Eurasia, during which he wrote feature stories for VICE, NPR, Forbes, and The Atlantic. Read more of Chris's feature work and view his portfolio here.
Contact: Chris Walker