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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Peeps,

I'm going to be taking a vacation to CO. over 4th of July weekend. I was thinking about climbing pikes peak on my road bike but wasnt sure how long this takes? Anyone know roughly how long this would take? I have a pretty good bike and I like to think I'm in pretty good shape but, have never rode in this kind of elevation....

Thanks,
Scott
 

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No experience here, but I've read a little about it. The whole toll road is 19 miles long, climbing about 6700 feet, but the event uses about 12 miles/4700 feet. The time limit for that event is 3 hours; the pros do it in 1:20 or so. It's about 7% grade. You should be able to estimate your time from that.

You say you haven't ridden at "this kind" of altitude. How low do you live and ride? Starting at 7000 and finishing at 14,000 you will seriously feel it if you're a sea-level guy, unless you have some time to acclimate. I climbed the Haleakala volcano on Maui on a family trip about 10 years ago (10,000 feet). I live near sea level now, but I grew up at about 5,000 feet, so I acclimate pretty fast, but I felt that thin air the last few miles.

But, heck, you should go for it. Worst thing that happens is you feel awful, you take a break, you coast back down the mountain at 55 mph. That's worth something.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I live in Iowa! No mountains of course, but we do have some hills just not that big of elevation gain. If I get time i will give it a go. Thanks for the input! Hopefully I dont pass out...
 

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CS Local guy here. I live at 6200 feet.
Quite a bit different at 14,000 feet, actually quite a bit different at 12,000 feet.You can make it with perserverence but if you are not acclimated you will feel it. SOme of the switchbacks in the last 3 miles hit 15% or more. It is truly an accomplishment when you finish.
Best advise I can give would be to take your time - dont try to set any records. Your ability to take in oxygen will probably force you to do go slow anyway, but realize when you need to rest.
 

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I think you should go for it, if you don't have time to acclimate it's best to do it as soon as you can. Have fun!

I'm quoting you because I want to hear about the ride up the volcano, always been a dream of mine :)


No experience here, but I've read a little about it. The whole toll road is 19 miles long, climbing about 6700 feet, but the event uses about 12 miles/4700 feet. The time limit for that event is 3 hours; the pros do it in 1:20 or so. It's about 7% grade. You should be able to estimate your time from that.

You say you haven't ridden at "this kind" of altitude. How low do you live and ride? Starting at 7000 and finishing at 14,000 you will seriously feel it if you're a sea-level guy, unless you have some time to acclimate. I climbed the Haleakala volcano on Maui on a family trip about 10 years ago (10,000 feet). I live near sea level now, but I grew up at about 5,000 feet, so I acclimate pretty fast, but I felt that thin air the last few miles.

But, heck, you should go for it. Worst thing that happens is you feel awful, you take a break, you coast back down the mountain at 55 mph. That's worth something.
 

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I've climbed Pike's Peak twice, on an organized ride from Manitou Springs, in 2010 & 2011. The 24 mile trip up took my lowlander body 5 hrs to accomplish (I'm another Iowan). Pacing and proper gearing allowed me to cope with the decreasing oxygen levels with each pedal stoke. It wasn't easy by any means, but it was worth the trip!

I arrived in Colorado the day before the ride, so never acclimatized. Since I've experienced mountain sickness in the past, I've premedicated starting the day I leave Iowa. Have fun!
 

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Check out the times on Strava...then add an hour for being a flatlander. Strong locals are taking about 2:30-2:45 from the tollbooth at the bottom. A lot will depend on how your body responds to the altitude, especially above treeline. I'm also planning on riding it on the 4th. FYI, the ride down is no picnic...hand cramps from constant braking,
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wouldnt call myself a flat lander. You hear the word "Iowa" and you automatically think "flat" not the case...Alot of hills just not as big and not as steep. Plus we have some pretty humid, sticky days here which makes you sweat off about 10lbs! I'm pretty positive i could knock it out in under 3 hours. We will see if I get the chance, any locals know of any group rides i could jump in on on Saturday 7/6??
 

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I'm quoting you because I want to hear about the ride up the volcano, always been a dream of mine :)
Haleakala was really an experience. As a bike ride, it's demanding, but unusual in being so constant. For most of the nearly 40 miles it climbs at a very steady grade, not terribly steep (between 5 and 6%), but almost completely relentless: I think in the 25 miles of the main climb, gaining about 8000 feet, there are 2 or 3 spots where the road flattens (or almost flattens) for a couple of hundred feet, but otherwise it's always up.

What's so spectacular is the scenery and the way it changes. You are in tropical forest at the bottom, and emerge into grasslands, and the view constantly widens. You can see a little of the ocean, then more, and more of the shoreline, and by the top you're looking at almost 360 degrees of distant horizon -- you can easily see the peaks of the Big Island almost 100 miles away. I really felt I understood why the ancient Hawaiians called the mountain the House of the Sun, and considered it the center of the world.

The descent is nothing short of awesome, but challenging too. I did not make the climb fast, and it was afternoon when I started down, so the winds were coming up, and there were some fun moments turning steep switchbacks.

On the way up, you see a lot of cyclists descending, but almost all of them in the tour groups that are driven to the top, dressed in what look like space suits, put on fat-tired comfort bikes, and led down by the mountain by a guide who makes them keep the speed under 25 mph. Most of them looked terrified. The guides were cool, though - always gave me the "hang loose" sign.

Most people ride from Paia, the closest place you can start at sea level. It's about a 75-mile round trip. I rode from the condo we were renting in Kihei, so it was about a 95 mile day.

It was unforgettable. And then the next day, you're still in Maui, lying on a beach in the warm sun stretching the muscles, and life is very good for a while.

If you do go, you should make at least one trip up the mountain by car, to watch the sunrise. That was astounding. We actually drove up another time on our last night, to watch the sunset.
https://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Hana+Hwy&daddr=20.8775891,-156.3347632+to:Unknown+road&hl=en&ll=20.792708,-156.335449&spn=0.426237,0.614548&sll=20.908531,-156.347466&sspn=0.212955,0.307274&geocode=FSIkPwEd4cat9g%3BFRWRPgEdVYWu9inXYe-KqMxUeTF8XM3Gi_vo6w%3BFc7vOwEdzZav9g&mra=dpe&mrsp=1&sz=12&via=1&t=p&z=11
View attachment 283129
 

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I wouldnt call myself a flat lander. You hear the word "Iowa" and you automatically think "flat" not the case...Alot of hills just not as big and not as steep. Plus we have some pretty humid, sticky days here which makes you sweat off about 10lbs! I'm pretty positive i could knock it out in under 3 hours. We will see if I get the chance, any locals know of any group rides i could jump in on on Saturday 7/6??
I guess I should have said "lowlander". :D And heat will be the last thing you have to worry about going up Pikes Peaks. Hint, bring a long sleeved something or other. It could be cool on the top, as well as the first few miles of descent. You'll find out quickly once your above the trees how your body reacts to the altitude. And start off in the morning, so that you don't have to worry about afternoon thunderstorms.

The Acacia Park group ride goes off both Saturday and Sunday mornings at 10:00AM from the Starbucks across from Acacia Park in downtown Colorado Springs. I think it's the corner of Bijou & Tejon. Saturday is mostly flat for 45 miles, then turns into climbing for the last 10-15 miles. You can shortcut out of the climbing and finish with just over 50 miles, if you know when/where to do it. Sunday's ride is all about climbing. These are the fastest group rides in COS. You get some national and international level talent at times that drive a hard pace. Most are probably off racing this time of year, but it'll still be plenty fast for 98% of riders. You *MUST* have an ID with you on both these rides, as they pass through Fort Carson (army) and the Air Force Academy, respectively.

Bicycle Village on N. Academy has a ride that goes off at maybe 9:30 or so on Saturdays, a pretty mellow ride. Cafe Velo up on the north end of town has a ride that falls somewhere in-between. You can call them up for exact details.

A few of us locals are talking about maybe doing PP on 4th of July. You're welcome to join us, if it comes together.
 

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life is so much more exciting when you're feeling like you're about to die. do it
Absolutely! I'm doing the same trip late August. To make matters worse, I'm coming from Texas. I did live in Colorado many years ago, and the higher altitudes didn't seem to affect me much, but I'm quite a bit older and in not as good of shape.
 

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Me three Peanya! You're from Houston too right? When/where you going?
We're leaving Friday 8/16 and will be at Pikes Peak Saturday. Then on to Fort Collins for a week of bikes and beers. Hoping to hit at least two stages of US Pro.

Redlizard - any advice for spectating the Bachelor Gulch climb of US Pro?
 

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Normally I ask folks coming in from below 5000 foot if they've done a full route of Mt. Evans to gauge their altitude (and above treeline weather) cycling experience. Mount Evans climbs 6,575 feet in 27.4 miles with a max grade of 6.4 percent. Pikes ascends 7,710 feet in 24.5 miles, with an average grade of 6.4 percent including sustained grades of 10, and a few ramps that approach 20...and is taller than Evans. That said, enjoy the unique challenge as I'm sure you'll do so with proper respect paid to the mountain, weather, yourself and others to make it one of your top cycling achievements.
 

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Me three Peanya! You're from Houston too right? When/where you going?
We're leaving Friday 8/16 and will be at Pikes Peak Saturday. Then on to Fort Collins for a week of bikes and beers. Hoping to hit at least two stages of US Pro.

Redlizard - any advice for spectating the Bachelor Gulch climb of US Pro?
Sorry, Durt, but no advice. I had to google Bachelor Gulch to just to get some clue as to where it was. I'm not familiar with that area at all.
 
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