As far as cycling is concerned, a good thing about this mountain is that even though it's the highest paved road in America, the grade is very kind to cyclists. It's only about 5% at the steepest and on average throughout. It is one of Colorado's 14rs which means one of the peaks over 14 000ft in height. Mt Evans is one of 58 of these Fourteeners in Colorado. While cycling up this climb, you will feel the effects of altitude here in the real world.
From the summit of My Evans, one can take in a massive panoramic view: the entire Front Range of Colorado, the far-off eastern plains, South Park, the Continental Divide and the vast expanse of the Rockies. Here is a unique experience recorded by two locals on a car free day, who have a passion for riding up this iconic climb and where you'll be able to see the fantastic 360-degree view at the top.
The road kicks off from Echo Lake at the Mt Evans Welcome Station from the Idaho Springs side. After the first kilometer, you turn right onto the steady incline that begins snaking its way upwards. Enjoy views of the forests flanking both sides of the road consisting of tall pines, giant spruce, and aspen characterizing most of Colorado. Further along, you'll encounter subalpine forest at the treeline. Some ancient bristlecones can be dated close to 1700 years old.
Once you break above the tree line at 3400m in altitude, the vista opens up onto barren and rocky mountain slopes, the road peering over the edges providing you with a clear view over wide-open expanses of magnificent panoramic scenery. The landscape evolves from this point to display lichens, grass, wildflowers, pristine lakes, pika, chirping marmots, bighorn sheep, elk and many mountain goats closer to the top (look out for them in this route video).
Team Evergreen (the most popular and charitable bike club in the state of Colorado (up the "hill" from Denver) runs an annual event; the Mt Evans Hill Climb. Starting in Idaho Springs, the race is about 48km and about 2100m climbing. Tom Danielson, a previous World Tour racer from the US who conquered it in a time of 1:42:09, holds the record. For the women's achievement, the rider, Jeannie Longo, is the record holder. She set the record time in 1998 with a smoking 1:59:19.
How to ride it
Begin with a 10-minute warmup and spin the legs until you break a sweat. You'll need to pace yourself effectively, feeling as though you saved enough energy for the duration. The distance is 22,5km, so you can divide it into three bite-sized chunks to pace yourself. Be patient while finding a steady rhythm and stay within your fitness limits. Break it up: the first third at 70% of your FTP, the second section at 80%, and the final at 90%. Or, if a beginner, take it at a leisurely pace, riding conservatively around 60-70% in your Endurance Zone 2 power with a high cadence of 90-95rpm from start to finish. Relieve some pressure by riding in and out of the saddle. If you are disciplined enough, this excellent slower endurance training will build up your base fitness, stamina, and strength. Always wear good quality, well-fitting cycling shorts and smear on some shammy cream for the hot spots.
From the start to 10km, it is consistent climbing. You then have an easy section for 1km to catch your breath. From 12,8km to 14,4km, you'll have a bit of downhill recovery. Enjoy a snack break and remember to drink every 15 minutes. From this point until the end, you are back to steady climbing, where you can pick up the pace gradually, allowing your heart rate to rise to its maximum once you are a couple of kilometers closer to the top.
Enjoy the journey to the summit!