After transferring from Breckenridge to Woodland Park, Colorado, riders were reunited with their bikes and they rolled out for a unique cycling experience on Pikes Peak. For the first time ever, Haute Route secured access to a private road that created a route to the Pikes Peak Highway that was more direct than the traditional route. This scenic road took riders past beautiful mountain lakes and provided rarely seen views of the mountain before bringing athletes out onto the Pikes Peak Highway at the traditional starting line for the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb auto race as well as the annual cycling hill climb event.
The 12.2-mile (19.6 kilometer) timed segment to the summit of Pikes Peak ascended 4756 feet (1450 meters) to the summit at 14,114 feet above sea level, the highest point ever reached in an Haute Route event. The twisting road to get there featured sustained grades of 9-10%. Although the weather on The Peak can be extreme, riders enjoyed a sunny and relatively warm trip to the top, with summit temperatures around 55 F (13 C).
The reward for seven days of climbing and a total of more than 53,000 feet (16,000 meters) of climbing was a 26-mile (42-km) descent that lost about 8,000 feet (2438 meters) in altitude on the way to the scenic Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.
Skip Thurman – Denver, CO
About Skip: Skip and Jen Thurman rode the 2017 and 2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies events together. A strong cycling couple, the Thurman’s were part of Team CTS and also participated in the CTS USA Pro Challenge Race Experience that used to ride every stage of the race before the pros.
“This is my second Haute Route. I did this one last year, and they’re getting better and better and better and I can’t wait for next year. This is such a totally unique experience. I mean the camaraderie, with people from different countries; it’s not just people showing up at the starting line, and getting a medal at the finish. You’re this tribe that travels across Colorado for seven days. You race across the top of the Rockies and you forge friendships… it’s amazing.”
Joep Schreurs and John Montulet – Netherlands
Two of “The Dutchies”
“I hate the Americans. They are not enthusiastic. They are not sympathetic. They always ride behind you, never in front,” said Joep, before he and John both broke out in laughter. “In the end we can say the result was plus, plus, plus, plus. It was a great experience. The volunteers at the side of the road and feed zones… they were so enthusiastic. When you come by they just are waving and cheering. Maybe that’s typical for the Americans, but normally for the Dutch… they’re enthusiastic, but not like this.”
“In one week you will become a big family. In 2-3 days you’re separate people. In seven days you’re one big family,” John added.
Asked about their experience on Pikes Peak, John said, “In the south of France we have Mont Ventoux. We thought a little bit, Pikes Peak would be like that. But it was harder. I thought the mountain wouldn’t end. It’s still going on. Steep. Steeper. It was incredible. It’s the most difficult climb there is, and I’ve ridden many, many climbs in Europe.”
Joep had the final word, concluding, “Pikes Peak was a very nice dessert after all we had this week. It was a pretty tough dessert. We’re definitely coming back to America.”
Frank Overton – Boulder, Colorado
About Frank: Founder of FasCat Coaching. He says he these days he primarily coaches masters road, time trial, mountain bike and cyclocross athletes who want to take their training serious and have fun along the way.
“We’re up here at Pikes Peak. It’s over 14,000 feet. I can barely make 150 watts towards the top! I’m so glad to get up here. I feel like I’m on top of the world!”
Russell Finsterwald – Colorado Springs, CO
About Russell: A professional mountain bike racer for Clif Bar, Russell’s palmares include an Elite Short Track National Championship, USA Cycling U23 XC National Championship, and Pan American XC U23 Championship.
Russel Finsterwald, munching on one of the famous “summit donuts” served in the summit house, said, “I’m from COS, so I’ve ridden this climb, but I haven’t ridden it six days in. It was a lot harder than I remember. I’m happy to make it to the top and get myself a summit donut. It’s been a great week getting to share my home roads with people from all over the world. Even for me, growing up in Colorado, there are a lot of roads I haven’t seen, so it was a real treat for me as well.”
STAGE AND FINAL RESULTS
Canadian Olympian Lyne Bessette and American Russell Finsterwald both led the General Classification from wire to wire and today earned the title of 2018 Mavic Haute Route Rockies Champion. In the women’s race, Jaime Brede and Kate Ligler rounded out the final podium in second and third, respectively. On the men’s side, Ryan Petry maintained his second place position on the final podium and 2017 Mavic Haute Route Rockies Champion Matthew Busche moved up to claim third place overall.
With finishers ranging from 27 years old to 65+, the Mavic Haute Rockies is proud to congratulate our age group winners:
Women 34-44: Lyne Bessette
Women 45-54: Nancy Porter
Women 55-64: Marni Harker
Men 24-34: Russell Finsterwald
Men 35-44: John Bocina
Men 45-54: Colby Pearce
Men 55-64: John Clark
Men 65+: Richard Mull