For the second year in a row, I’ve been able to participate in the Mavic Haute Route Rockies and have used it as a major kickoff to my training and late summer season prior to the big cyclocross season.
Last year the front of the competition was sharp and this year was a slightly more select crew but no less powerful. The main contenders at the front of each timed section were Russell Finsterwald, Ryan Petry, Jamey Driscoll, Matthew Busche, Colby Pearce, Jon Bocina (climbing very strong!), and Matt Cooke among others.
Images shown throughout the post captured by the talented Dejan Smaic.
Following the second toughest day (Boulder to Winter Park over Berthoud Pass) is one of my favorite stages. Winter Park to Avon features the beautiful Cotton Wood Pass and then onto Trough Road between Kremmling and Wolcott. Trough road is a rolling dirt road that’s incredibly scenic with low traffic and crosses the divide trail. Very cool.
Although both Kathryn and I were able to participate, we still needed to carry on with everything else we had going on in our lives. Kathryn graduated from residency in Emergency Medicine at Denver Health on Monday night (in Denver) and so we hitched a ride back down from Avon following the stage, showered and donned our best attire in 20 minutes and headed to Denver. Early the next morning we packed back up and rallied up I70 to make it to Avon in time for the time trial start! Have to admit I just rolled out of the truck and up to the start line for the time trial which I used more as a recovery day, if that’s possible with over 2k ft of climbing in 40 minutes.
The most challenging day was easily the Breckenridge loop of stage 6. Loveland Pass, Guanella Pass, Kenosha Pass, and Hoosier Pass were all timed segments across a 115 mile day with just under 12,000ft of climbing. I believe they’ll reroute this day for next year and avoid some of the Hwy 285 stretch which, having a block headwind, was particularly tough after all that climbing. However, the climb up Loveland and Guanella Passes and their subsequent descents were absolutely incredible. The ‘sleeper’ highlight of of the day was actually the bike path between the east side of Loveland Pass and the Georgetown where Guanella Pass starts – I would describe it as singletrack for road bikes.
Wrapping up on Pikes Peak on the last day was both torture and treat in one. I ran a 36/52 semi compact crank with 11-28 cassette and was in that 36-28 almost the entire climb. Especially on the final day with tired legs…I would’ve loved a 30 or even 32 as Ryan Petry and I believe Russell were running in the back.
If you’re looking for a race experience with the Mavic neutral support team, traversing the Rocky Mountains and high altitude passes, I’d take a look at this event as there is no other in the area that offers the same for it’s competitors.