Yesterday was the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. The Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb includes both a USAC race and a timed citizens ride. The cycling hill climb starts the same place as the auto hill climb. The course climbs over 4,700 feet in 12 miles to the summit of Pikes Peak at 14,115.
I helped hand out timing chips at the start line and then shot photos up on the mountain once the USAC race started. The weather at the start was similar to the past years but ominous clouds were building over the summit.
Once I headed up the mountain, I encountered strong winds and it got worse the higher I drove. Clouds were blowing throw so I was having trouble finding a well lit spot for shooting photos. Riders were getting blown around on the road by the wind gusts.
When I was shooting photos, I was shivering and kept jumping up and down in an attempt to stay a little warmer. At the last spot I stopped to shoot photos just before the summit, there was fog and the rocks were covered in ice.
Although the riders were working hard going up, I could only imagine how cold they were as some of them were in shorts and short sleeves. Although many riders sent warm clothes to the top for the ride down, they didn’t have warm enough clothes and were concerned about get blown around on the way down. The race organizers and whomever could shuttled people back down to the start where the weather was a pretty typical August day.
In spite of the weather, I shot a large number of photos. Prints and digital downloads are available on my Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb photo page. You can also check out my 2013 Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb photos.
I had fun watching and shooting photos of some of the USA Pro Challenge in Garden of the Gods yesterday. I missed seeing one of the laps because of a phone call for work. It’s always amazing to see how fast the pros are when they’re going all out.
Update: Complete set of Pikes Peak Hill Cycling Climb photos are here.
Yesterday was the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb. It climbed the top 12.5 miles of Pikes Peak and had over 4,700 feet of climbing. The fun ride started at 6 AM and the race started at 7 AM. LeRoy Popowski defended his title of king of the mountain. Results are here.
Back when the Pikes Peak Highway was still gravel, we used to race the top 8 miles on mountain bikes. Even that was a tough race but I liked it because of the uniqueness of being above timberline. Now that I’m not in great shape and the highway is open to bikes, I’m happy just to ride my bike up there without racing.
Although I didn’t race this time, I went up and helped with handing out timing chips and then went up above timberline and shot photos. I shot over a thousand photos so it’ll take me some time to get through them all. A few of them are down below.
Once I go through them, I’ll post them on the photo page. As with most of the photos I take, they’ll be available for purchase both as prints and digital downloads.
Update: Complete set of Pikes Peak Hill Cycling Climb photos are here.
Cyclists got a chance to bike the Pikes Peak Highway during September. I took advantage of it and rode from my house to the top of Pikes Peak and then down Barr Trail. I know lots of people who also rode. The’s no reason for it to not be open all the time the Pikes Peak Highway is.
The Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is taking input on allowing bikes on the Pikes Peak road in the future at their meeting tomorrow, November 8th. The meeting starts at 7:30 AM. Bikes on Pikes Peak is fairly far down on the agenda so if you can’t arrive until a little after 8 you should be there in time and give input. The meeting is at parks headquarters, 1401 Recreation Way.
Hope to see you there! You can check out my Pikes Peak photos and ride report here.
The Race Across America (RAAM) has been called the world’s toughest bike race. It is approximately 1.5 times the distance of the Tour de France but has a time limit of 12 days instead of the 3 weeks that the Tour de France takes. That makes for a minimum of 250 miles a day. RAAM racers are on the bikes 20+ hours a day and ride alone instead of in a pack.
I attempted the Race Across America in 2006 and dropped out at the Mississippi after 2,000 miles in 8 day. A movie about RAAM is being used as a fundraiser for the Incline Friends, the group that is working to legalize the Manitou Incline. Bicycle Dreams is a feature-length documentary about the 2005 RAAM. It has won awards at many film festivals over the last few years.
The Bicycle Dreams fundraiser is on Wednesday, March 28 at 7 PM at the Stargazers Theatre. Tickets cost $11 in advance online at imATHLETE or $15 at the door. Tickets are also available at the Colorado Running Company, 833 N. Tejon, and 9275 N. Union, Suite 120; Carmichael Training Systems, 600 S. 21st; Criterium Bicycles, 6150 Corporate Center Dr., and Team Telecycle at 615 S. Baldwin St. in Woodland Park.
There will be 2 RAAM finishers at the movie showing to tell about their personal experiences. They both raced the same year that I did. Fred Boethling set a new record in 2006 for the 60+ age category. He is now the organizer for RAAM.
You can read my Bicycle Dreams review here. If you want to more about RAAM, you can read my Race Across America FAQ here.
It’s great that the USA Pro Cycling Challenge has been showing live streaming of the races with the ShackTracker. They don’t always show the start of the stage but they’ve been showing a good amount live. The ads can be annoying when they cover up the racing at key times but if you use full screen mode, the ads are hidden and you just hear the ad audio.
Sometimes I can’t tell who a rider is but can see their number. Here’s a list of USA Pro Cycling Challenge rider numbers sorted by number so it’s easy to find a rider.
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Monday was a fun day in Garden of the Gods watching the top men in cycling race in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prologue. It was great to see so many spectators out on the course.
Below are a few of the photos I took. I have more USA Pro Cycling Challenge Photos here.
1. Christian Vande Velde, Garmin-Cervélo in 8:29
2. Jens Voigt, Leopard-Trek at :05
3. George Hincapie, BMC Racing at :05
4. Levi Leipheimer, RadioShack at :06
5. Tejay Van Garderen, HTC-Highroad at :06
6. Cadel Evans, BMC Racing at :06
7. Rory Sutherland, UnitedHealthcare at :13
8. Stef Clement, Rabobank at :14
9. Tom Danielson, Garmin-Cervélo at :15
10. Robert Gesink, Rabobank at :16
Dory Holte is known as Horn Guy or Antler Guy since he shows up at big bike races wearing a helmet with either ram horns or antlers and runs beside the racers. He hasn’t missed a Tour of California.
He figured the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was a great way to see Colorado and continue his unique bike spectating. He had planned to make a showing in the Garden of the Gods yesterday for the prologue but had vehicle problems.
Look for him on the climb into Mount Crested Butte this afternoon and on climbs throughout the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
This week is big for cycling in the US and especially as the USA Pro Cycling Challenge kicks off today at 1:15 PM MDT with the prologue. The prologue course passes a few blocks from where I grew up.
Since this is a time trial, most of the riders start 1 minute a part but the last few will be 2 minutes apart. If a rider does manager to catch the rider in front of him, he’s not allowed to draft and must move to the other side of the road and make a fairly quick pass. The start times of the racers is here.
The course is 5.18 miles and overall is slightly downhill so it should be very fast. There is a slight climb in the Garden of the Gods before the screaming descent down Ridge Road.
At the bottom of Ridge Road is a 90 degree left hand turn followed by the road continue to curve to the left. Take the turn too slow and riders will lose valuable time. Take it too fast and they’ll lose skin.
Here are a few more photos of Ridge Road and the turn at the bottom.
Below is a video of the entire prologue course at fast forward speed.