Bicycling mountain roads and passes

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Mount Evans 4,307m
North America's highest mountain road

Mt. Evans is located in the US-state of Colorado in the Rocky Mountains and has its peak at an elevation of 4,350m / 14,264ft. A toll road to the peak leads to one of the highest spots in the world that can be accessed by a roadbike. The 45km long paved road ends at a parking lot close to the summit. There you can actually find: A bicycle stand! Uphill ride is somewhat shorter than Europe's highest mountain road (Pico del Veleta) and has an altitude difference of "only" some 2,000 meters but the total elevation is much higher than in Europe. Thus, this ride becomes even more challenging. Once a year the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb takes place here and some 1,200 cyclists try to reach the summit. Besides US Pro riders there are hundreds of amateur cyclists starting with a 1-day-license in the Citizen-Class. Among the participants in 2010 even a few Italians, two Norwegians and one German :-) Below video and pictures were mostly taken during training rides on the days before the race.

Click here for some further information on the highest passes and mountain roads of each of the continents.

Start: Idaho Springs 2,303m
Altitude difference: 1,909m
Distance: 45km
July 2010

After departure in Idaho Springs at an elevation of 2,300 meters the road routes with an average grade of 4-5% up to the summit. After some 22km you have reached Echo Lake (3,200m) and a short smooth passage follows. Behind Echo Lake the 23km long toll road starts up to Mt. Evans. At an elevation of some 3,900 meters you pass Summit Lake and you even lose a few meters of altitude. Afterwards the grade becomes some 7% and a few switchbacks lead finally to the summit.

Departure is in historic Idaho Springs where the American goldrush began 150 years ago.

Area is named Clear Creek County and this sign shows the route of Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

Start of the Citizen-Class is at 7.30am and some License-classes follow

Departure is close to Clear Creek Ranger Station at the Middle School

Lower part of the road is hardly spectacular

Cyclists are welcome!

The clearly asphalted route leads uphill...

...to Echo Lake at an elevation of 3,200 meters.

Behind Echo Lake the junction to the toll road with its remaining 14 miles to the summit

Even cyclists have to pay an entrance fee at the toll road

Empty promises: Road is neither steep nor has sharp curves. Uphill road has a moderate average grade of 5% and only few switchbacks on the last mile.

Shortly behind tree line at 3,500m the scenery provides phantastic views to several 14,000ft-mountains of the Rockies. Echo Lake can be seen in the below center of the picture.

However, if weather conditions change it becomes rather uncomfortable up there...

View towards South-East

The US-type Marmot shows up alongside the road: Yellow-bellied Marmot is obviously some more confiding than its European relative.

On a level of 3,900 meters Mount Evans summit can be seen the first time. In the dell left of the peak is the parking lot which can be reached by bicycle. The road leads to the back of the mountain and still has some 9 kilometers to the summit.

Here is a short downhill...

...to idyllic Summit Lake!

The road winds steadily uphill...

...and becomes more steeply behind Summit Lake at mile 10...

...and provides gorgeous views to the scenery of the Rocky Mountains!

Several notches across the road cause some troubles only on the descent ride

Only at the very end of the route a few real switchbacks

Finally these scraggy creatures show up alongside the road: The White Mountain Goat is essential part of Mt. Evans area!

And even the young blood appears

Close-by an other 14,000ft mountain: Mount Bierstadt

Summit of Mount Evans: 14,130 feet (4,307 meters asl) / Top of North America's highest mountain road!

In the past there was a restaurant at the summit which is obviously no longer in operation.

Most likely the only bicycle stand in the world above 4,000 meters!

Local Lager beer providing German stereotypes. A St. Pauli Girl wearing a Bavarian skirt!

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