Vernon Smith and I had the pleasure of riding Andrea Koenig's Evergreen Escapade earlier this November before the snow started to fly. In fact, two days after our ride the roads were covered in snow. At the outset of our ride, I was simply hoping to finally finish an R-12 series after my third attempt. Little did I know that we were to be the first to complete the Evergreen Escapade as a permanent ride, other than Andrea.
This ride has great variety as it starts near downtown Denver, climbs to the Peak to Peak highway, passes through the gambling towns of Black Hawk and Central City, stops in Conifer, and finally returns to down town Denver via Evergreen and Golden.
We had a nice warm up through the streets of the Highlands neighborhood of Denver and Wheat Ridge before starting the long climb up Golden Gate Canyon. I was surprised with how this climb felt to be never-ending, with only some mild undulations for temporary relief. Fortunately, we had great weather with favorable winds up the canyon.
Passing through Central City, we had been warned about streets that banned cycling and worked hard to avoid these. I even went so far as to seek directions from passers by on the street, but they were visitors from Canada and thus offered no assistance. We avoided any citations from the local law enforcement despite the steep climbs through Central City.
Moving on toward Evergreen involved generally rolling terrain, prior to some very steep climbs heading up to Conifer. The road to Conifer was quiet but steep in many a section.
We were rewarded for all our work to this point with a long down hill back to Evergreen and down Bear Creek Canyon to Morrison.
As the sun was setting, we returned through the Highlands neighborhood and finished with a celebratory dinner at Subway.
In summary, the Evergreen Escapade is a challenging 200K with enough climbing to keep one honest, but rewards of great downhills and a central starting location. Even before we had our bikes in the car, Vernon was questioning when we would be able to ride it again. I guess we will have to wait for the snow to clear.