The Assault on the Peak: Race Review

Assault on the Peak = The Pikes Peak Hill Climb, ON A SINGLE SPEED (B.P.R. Style!)
I’ve always wanted to ride up Pikes Peak. Why? Because Pikes Peak is there and it’s a 14er. The only problem – Pikes Peak is paved. Oh well. A little asphalt isn’t going to stop me from grinding up that beast of a mountain. And grind away I did! 
I think this ‘Assault on the Peak’ will turn into the Back of the Pack Ultra High Altitude Championship. I think I’ll add this to the B.P.R. World Championship circuit. (Next year we will hold a stage race for the B.P.R. High Altitude Championships – check out the posting for the race this year – a race that The Judd dominated. Link to: 2010 B.P.R. High Altitude Championships.) 
So, in 2011 we will hold the Back of the Pack World Championship circuit. This race series will consist of the Back of the Pack High Altitude Championships (San Juan Mtns / Southwest Colorado) and the Back of the Pack Ultra High Altitude Championships (Pikes Peak). B.P.R. Championship Points will be award based on a secret algorithm that The Judd develops during the race series. Why a secret algorithm? Because The Judd MUST win the B.P.R. World Championships. It’s a requirement. (Actually domination by The Judd is guaranteed – because no other Back of the Pack racers will show, as history says.)
The Race Summary:
I rolled up to the mass start with my Black Sheep Highlight #2, a new set of commuter tires, the bitchin’ B.P.R. team gear and a smile. Why the smile? Because I clearly didn’t belong in the crowd of spandex clad road bikers. Road bikers are weird – and I’m not, obviously.
I had no idea what to expect of the race. How hard could it be to grind up Pikes Peak? How hard could it be to rack up 8000ft of climbing in 24 miles? Shouldn’t be hard. Right? Well, throw in some wicked wind – like gusts over 40 mph and it gets pretty damn hard. But I did it. And so did 300 dudes and dudette’s in spandex. 
AND just for the record. I have nothing against spandex. I just think it is absurd that all these dudes (and dudettes) think it is socially acceptable to display the massive beer guts wrapped tight in spandex. Damn, there should be a law against that. Oh wait, we live in the United States of America. The greatest country on Earth. Hell, sport the spandex and show those massive beer guts. That’s what freedom is all about – and since we live in a free society I can laugh my ass off when I see those massive beer guts wrapped in spandex. Oh, and to all those foxy mamas out there – keep wearing the spandex! I love it!
Anyway, back to the race. I decided on the 32 x 19 setup. Why? Because I had an extra 19T cog in my garage. No other reason. The setup worked, I guess. I’ll probably sport the same setup next year. 
The roll out was easy – right up main street in Manitou Springs Colorado. Then the climbing started. For the 1st 6.5 miles the course climbed 1637 feet – to 8000 feet MSL. (MSL = Mean Sea Level, dude.) Then it took another 8 miles to break through 10,000ft MSL. Come on! I was about to fall asleep, where’s all the climbing? Actually I was quite worried. I was 14 miles / 3900 vertical into the ride – 10 miles to go and 4000 ft left to climb. (If you’re grinding through the numbers, don’t. GPS is flaky and the course had a bit of downhill thrown in with the uphill. 8000ft to 10,000ft was really 2240 feet of vertical, for a number of reasons – like downhill.) Ok, 4000ft left to climb and I just broke through 10,000ft. This was going to be BRUTAL. And it was brutal – mostly because of the ferocious wind. You think I’m joking? The course climbed from 10,000ft to 12,000ft in 3.85 miles. That’s rough. Then the course climbed from 12,000ft to 13,000ft in 2.1 miles. Worse part – the final 1000 feet of climbing was all on exposed road. So an ‘easy’ cruise up to 14,110ft turned to an insane battle against the wind. But I made it – in B.P.R. record time. (Record? Yeah, it’s the 1st year for the race.)
Overall, it was an awesome race. My conditioning seems to be peaking, peaking at the right time – two big 24 hour races coming up. My legs weren’t really tired, my heart rate was ‘nominal’. I’m feeling good. Aside from the wicked wind, I really didn’t have as much trouble (pain & suffering) as I expected. Then again I was just cruising and not racing – since all the other Back of the Pack racers were home sunbathing, I didn’t put the hammer down – I didn’t need to ‘prove something’.
Next year? Yep, I’m in for the big event next year. And I’ll try to drag out some the the Back of the Pack racers. Yeah. It’s on asphalt. But who cares? Pikes Peak is one of the most famous mountains in the world. So us Americans like to think.

The Media:

Click on this Link – = A good article on the ride

The results – Right Here Dude!

Lessons Learned:
  1. Road bikers don’t like to stay right. They ride down the middle of the road, like they own the road. Oh wait, us mountain bikers already knew that. But I quickly adapted to this road lifestyle and I soon ‘owned’ the middle of the road.
  2. When the race info says ‘6.7% average grade’, ignore it. Prepare for 500ft of vertical / mile – at least for the miles over 10,000ft MSL.
  3. Don’t forget ‘The Cream’. A few Back of the Pack racers strongly endorse “DZNuts”
  4. Just when you think the road must level out, it gets steeper.
  5. Just when you think you will have a tail wind, the wind shifts.
  6. Averaging 4mph is cool! Yeah, right!
  7. Above 13,000ft you will always have a head wind – even if you finally have a tail wind. Confused? I’m not. Go ride up to 14,000 and you will definitely agree with that statement. Good luck with that, there probably aren’t too many, or any, other rideable roads / trails in the world that go up to 14,000ft. (Ok, correction – check out the Bob Cook Memorial / Mt Evans Hill Climb.)
  8. Commuter tires on the Black Sheep Highlight #2 look funky. I need some wider slicks – just for the cool factor.
  9. It’s OK to laugh and laugh hard when you see a road biker with 27 gears walking up a hill. Come on dude, grind it out! Then again, when running in 1st gear the average speed is probably around 1.5 mph – therefore it was probably too difficult to stay upright in the 40mph gusts. Ok, keep walking dude, I’ll lay off and keep my mouth shut.
  10. The Padre knows how to deal with The Judd’s ‘vulgar’ music – Korn, Static-X, Mudvayne, Linkin Park, etc. The Padre just takes out his hearing aids and ‘tunes out’. Sweet. Ancient dudes always know what the easy solution is.
Quote of the Race:
Some ‘spectator’ cheering on the racers – near the start: “Way to go, only 1 more hill to climb!”
Moronic Thought of the Race:
As I rolled through 13,000ft, ‘Damn, 24 Hours of Leadville (next weekend, Labor Day weekend) will be a piece of cake, it tops out at 11,000ft.’
The Data:
Lap 1 = Start to 8000ft MSL, 6.46 miles & 1637ft of vertical
Lap 2 = 8000ft to 10,000ft, 8.06 miles & 2240ft of vertical
Lap 3 = 10,000ft to 12,000ft, 3.85 miles & 1904ft of vertical
Lap 4 = 12,000ft to 13,000ft, 2.09 miles & 1089ft of vertical
Lap 5 = Devils Tower and a cruise down and back up to 13,000ft
Lap 6 = 13,000ft to 14,110ft, 2.81 miles & 1095ft of vertical
Lap 7 = Cruising from the summit over to the ‘Summit Hut’

And don’t question the numbers. GPS is screwy. I can tell you why, if you really want to know.

Looking South
Looking East
The Data, Dude!
The Video:

The Assault on the Peak from Judd Rohwer on Vimeo.
The Ride Down Pikes Peak

The Pics:
Pikes Peak – in the 6:30 AM Sunrise

The Start : The Spandex : The Mountain

Who you calling Big Foot?

Damn, that’s a long way to go – straight up!
The Judd and The Summit – I’m headed way up there, dude!

At the top – Pikes Peak = 14,110 feet – I guess
Looking Down on Colorado Springs. Like 8000 feet down!
Like the Commuter Tires on the Wicked Sheep?
Yeah – real cool, real cool!

Clouds are Cool!

4 thoughts on “The Assault on the Peak: Race Review

  1. Hey Cindy. Glad you're digging the info. Hey, how do you have the blogger links automatically sent to (displayed / added to) your Facebook page / wall. I do it the old fashion way – cut / paste. Links to your blog automatically show up on your Facebook site, right? So, what's the trick, if there is one.

    BTW, I have the tabs going – I'll ready to set up a tab for the east coast chapter of B.P.R.


  2. Judd

    Great review, especially all the data and the video. Appreciate your outlook and enthusiasm. BTW you got a brief shot of me and my wife on the climb while you were going down. We are 2:38 min in on the video but still a long way from the top. We did finally make the summit in a little over 6 hours. Brutal. First ever, and maybe last, assault on the arms. Drew


  3. Hey Drew,

    I'm glad you found this blog. Glad you made it to the top. It's definitely an accomplishment. I'll definitely ride the race next year, assuming I can drag some of my teammates to the race. I would love to see them suffer. Thanks for the comment.



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