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Highest paved road features unique bike race

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The Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill climb is an incredible bicycle race that takes place on Mount Evans, Colorado. The first competition was in 1962. The race renamed in 1981 in honor of five-time race winner Bob Cook, who died of cancer at the age of 23. The climb is 27.4 miles long and leads to the highest paved road in the United States. Starting at an altitude of 7,540 feet the course follows state highway 103 to Echo Lake, which sites at 10,300 ft. Here, the race turns an procedes to the paved high point of 14,130 on the summit of Mt Evans.

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the race has attracted significant professional riders during the past 50 years that the race has been conducted. Riders come from all over the United States and has an international participation with riders from France, Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. The age range of the participants is from 9 to 85 years of age. The event includes categories for all levels of racing and encourages riders of all abilities.

The present record holder is Tom Danielson, set in 2004 with a time of 1:41:20. The Senior Women's course record is held by Jeannie Longo from France with a time of 1:59.19

The starting line in Idaho Springs is about 40 minutes west of downtown Denver and one hour east of Vail.. The course immediately begins a steady climb from 7,524 ft. all the way up to 14,100 ft. At 10,000 feet, the road gains steepness. By 12,000 feet, most participats experience the thinner air and breath heavily to maintain their oxygen.

There a a couple of short breaks during the climb. At Echo Lake there is a brief flat section. Later a slight downhill just before Summit Lake. Grades to Echo Lake average 3.5% for 6.7 miles and 5.8% for 5.8 miles. Echo Lake to the summit averages 5.6% for 5.5 miles, then 4.1% for 2.7 miles and finally 5.7% for 4.25 miles to the top. Maximum grade is 10%. Once the racers have reached the summit, they are awarded with a view of the11 switchbacks that can be seen in their entirety.

For more information and to register, visit the Mt Evans Hill Climb web site.

Photo by Peter Wayne Photography