Peak(s):  Mt. Evans  -  14,268 feet
Date Posted:  06/24/2018
Date Climbed:   06/23/2018
Author:  DArcyS
 Dreams of Broadway (and Mt. Evans)   

A round-trip bike ride from Littleton Blvd. and Broadway to the summit of Mt. Evans -- 122 miles, 11,200' of climbing

About 25years ago when I returned home to Colorado, I was driving down Littleton Boulevard when I saw Mt. Evans to the west and thought, "It would be cool to bike from here to there." Not exactly a trivial ride, I never gave it too much thought because a person needs to be in decent bike shape for the ride. Now that I've had a couple years of good training in my legs, I figured this was the time to give it a shot.

I decided to start the ride from the intersection of Littleton Boulevard and Broadway. With this starting point, in the future when I'm driving about town and I'm to the west of Broadway, I can think, "I biked from here to there." Starting from Broadway also suggests a title for a trip report, but that's more of minor consideration. Trip reports lose their value with time, but personal memories can last a lifetime.

The weather promised to be good, so I didn't need to worry about rain gear. Nonetheless, an early start at 5:00 am was in order so that I could bike the city streets -- and avoid sidewalk biking -- without much concern for traffic. I also recognized that the end of June was the best time to attempt this ride. At this time of year, adequate sunlight is available at 5 am, the weather is somewhat stable, and there is plenty of warmth at higher elevations to allow for the usual cycling garb (i.e., the combination of a short-sleeved jersey in the afternoon and arm warmers for the cool morning).

After stuffing my cycling-jersey pockets with about 2000 calories of "food stuff," I was off. As expected, not too many people drive about town on an early Saturday morning, and the ride from Broadway to Bowles/C-470 went easy enough. From there, I could either take the bike path that parallels C-470 or take on the fast-moving traffic and bike C-470. When I moved back to Denver 25 years ago, I'd bike C-470, but C-470 is a little bit more wild these days. I opted for safety and used the bike path to Morrison. I was not looking forward to repeating this section at the end of the day.

Once at Morrison, the roads are much more bike friendly from here to the top of Mt. Evans. In Evergreen, I stopped at a convenience store and bought a couple bottles of water, one of which I downed and the other I stuck in my cycling-jersey pocket. Obtaining water and remaining hydrated was one of my chief concerns for the day. The two water bottles that are adequate for my typical training rides weren't going to cut it today.

About 4 hours and 15 minutes into the ride, I arrived at the Echo Lake lodge. I felt pretty good, although I ducked inside to stay warm. Perhaps a subtle suggestion I was stressing my body a little. After eating what essentially was lunch, I continued onward towards the summit, with a brief stop at Summit Lake. From the lake, I was beginning to feel it and was thankful the end was near. I use a power meter, and I was only maintaining an output of 140 Watts. In contrast, when I participated in a bike race up Lookout Mountain a couple weeks ago, I averaged 252 Watts (and placed 14/22 with a time of 24'13", for what that's worth).

Some 6 hours and 26 minutes after leaving Littleton Boulevard and Broadway, I arrived at the summit, complete with hundreds of people, a group of big horn sheep, and a few mountain goats, including a cute little "kid" (that's what baby mountain goats are called). I now faced a conundrum -- I could hike to the summit in my bike shoes and leave my bike unattended among the hundreds of visitors in the Mt. Evans parking lot, one of whom might be a thief, or call it good and head down. I decided I didn't want to look to Mt. Evans from Littleton in the future and think, "You didn't actually reach the true summit." So, off I went with the thought in the back of my mind about how I would replace my $3000 bike if it was stolen. And I suppose there was also the issue of getting back to town without a bike.

My stay on the summit was brief. Since I was in bike cleats, I didn't mount the summit block (which was already occupied), but I managed to tag it. Good enough. On the way down, I met three climbers who had helmets dangling from their packs. I asked, "You guys climb the Sawtooth?" They had, and they mentioned it was there first class 3 climb. I offered encouragement for their future 14er endeavors. They mentioned that they might stick more to the 13ers since they aren't as crowded. I thought about telling them I've climbed over two-thirds of the 13ers and will probably finish them in another ten years, but I was to tired to say much else.

The descent from the summit was okay (noting that this road faces tough weather extremes and is a horribly bumpy). I could feel the effort of the ride and the altitude a tad. At the nature center at about 11,000', I stopped to give my hands some relief from all the jarring. Here I noticed a woman putting some sunscreen on a fellow cyclist who was about ready to continue his ride up. I commented to him that I wish I had a support crew like that. We talked some, and I learned that he was with a group of about 15-20 cyclists who started their ride from Greenwood Village earlier in the day, and they were doing this ride to honor a deceased friend (which explained why I was seeing all these light blue cycling jerseys on the road). One notable variation to their ride from mine: they weren't riding back to town -- they had rides waiting for them at the summit. I, on the other hand, needed to bike back to town. So, off I went to get back to my car.

In planning this ride, the part I dreaded the most was the return from Morrison to the start. I envisioned being tired, dehydrated, and facing 90-degree afternoon temperatures. As it turned out, it wasn't that bad, as pouring water on the head and jersey does wonders for battling afternoon heat. After 10 hours and 56 minutes, I arrived back at my car. I looked up at Mt. Evans and thought, "Cool." And then I thought about the nearby Chipotles restaurant and thought, "Even better."

The stats for the ride are 122 miles with 11,200' of climbing. One could capture the essence of this ride by having a support crew that picks you up at the summit. After all, when I look off to Mt. Evans from Littleton in the future, my thought will be, "I biked from here to there." There's not much added with "I biked from here to there and back." It's too wordy. Just remember to finish it off by tagging the summit block.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

Comments or Questions
11/09/2018 12:07
Nice work, sounds like it was a heck of a day! A buddy and I have tossed this idea around for a few years now but haven't had the opportunity to give it a go.

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