Climbing for Conservation

“Good morale in cycling comes from good legs”
Sean Yates from cycling quotes at UC Santa Cruz SCIPP

I dove in and registered for the Mt. Evans hill climb this Saturday.  How hard can it be…it’s only 24 miles?  It is pretty hard since those 24 miles take you from around 7,000′ to over 14,000′ on the highest paved road in north America.  Mountain goats are typically milling around at the top.

Mt. Evans logo

In addition to the race, the promoters offer a casual ride open to all.  Registration is open through Friday at noon 7/22.  Cyclists who love climbing mountains must make this pilgrimage at least once in our life.  Each time I ride Mt. Evans I am awed by the open spaces and swayed by the Rocky Mountain high above Denver.  About half the ride is above tree line.  The last trees you pedal past are silent and ancient Bristlecone pines.  The vistas opening as you climb upward make you feel like you’re part of the sky.

One climb I have not done is the Mt. Washington Hill Climb in New Hampshire.  It ascends nearly a vertical mile over 7.6 road miles.  Steep pitch!  The Mt. Washington climb benefits a conservation nonprofit called the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, whose mission is to “to promote appreciation of the natural environment…through hands on programs…”.   Pedaling up Mt. Washington is definitely hands on, a holistic way to be engaged!  If the Mt. Washington hillclimb is too extreme Tin Mountain also promotes a century ride July 30 through the beautiful New England countryside.  That might be a better option if you actually want to be able to talk while you ride.  Riding everyday helps me pay more attention to where I’m at and what’s going on.  A special event like a hill climb, grand fondo, or century ride elevates the experience.  To couple a ride with a social benefit bringing together diverse people and great places makes it especially good.

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