Mt. Princeton Hillclimb TT, Colorado

I thought my hillclimbing racing season was over after Mt. Washington, so I have been a slug, mostly anyways. But… I found out about this Hillclimb TT close to home so I asked Logan if he would do it with me, a reason not to push so hard, (so I thought). He said yes w/o any questioning, was he on something? The event was the 1st annual Mt. Princeton Hillclimb TT put on by a Yeti Race Team here in Colorado. They run lots of other events during the season, mostly DH events. The profile is 4000’ vertical feet gained in 7.3 miles, kinda of frickin steep, and all DIRT. The finish elevation is 12,000’ above sea level. Annie, Logan, the dog, and I drove over in the motorhome Saturday, race was on Sunday due to the conflict with the big Bike race in New Mexico. The big bonus for us was the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, a natural hot springs at the base of the mountain. The resort is very low key, and has a couple of swimming pools, and multiple rock pools that are next to the creek that comes out of the Continental Divide. We spent a few hours pool hopin Saturday night, which was a blast. The sky was clear, so the stars at 8000’ elevation with no lights was spectacular. We saw a few satallites speeding across the sky and then they would disappear into the milky way. We jumped in Chalk Creek, water temp around 50 degree’s, then jumped back in the hottest pool, around 110 degrees, what a rush!
They had Logan and I go first, and everyone followed us. We got passed by the last person at around mile 4. Between being a slug, the elevation, double fall line road, and pretty steep pitch, I had a hard time. Logan and I rode together after a couple of miles, I wanted to set a fast pace for the first two miles, then ride the rest with him. We walked a portion of it, to keep moving, then would ride some. I was wanting a bail out gear for the technical steep sections. We could see the top road cut across the huge basin above us between miles 4-5, but it seemed so far away. The one aid station was at 10,800’ where they had water. We glady took some, as our 100oz camelbak’s were filled with cytomax. There in the distance was the long traverse across the huge basin, about a mile to go. Ride some, walk some, ride some, walk some. The thin air was taken effect by now, so riding for very long was hard. We passed an enormous avalanche path, the biggest one so far, and I had to stop and take a picture. The starting line was visible, way down below, incredible view from there. Logan and I rode across the finish line together with the huge crowd, (15 people) going crazy for us. We had done it, a father son adventure completed together. I was so proud of Logan for hanging in there, hell, he pushed me on more than one occasion. Even though we suffered allot, it was an incredible accomplishment for both of us. High fives were exchanged, photo’s taken, and then the whole group headed down. Quite a few of the racers had gone down before we finished, so just a few racers were left. The EZ up finish station almost blew away at 12,000’ as the ridge top winds picked up to 40 mph. Logan opted to take a ride down in a truck, a smart move, as he has hockey and soccer games/practices all week. I had to ride down this mountain, so I spun my way down. No brakes, still don’t believe in em, and my 24" took me down the mountain in half the time. I stopped a couple of times to take pics and once to eat, but no UPD’s. It was sooo much fun to ride all the way down from that elevation. I arrived at the awards tent just in time to change and receive our awards. Logan and I both received some nice swag for our efforts, which we were very appreciative. The race was run very professionally, and I see it becoming big in a few years. It’s a very tough course, but the scenery is world class. It is Tuesday and I am still sore from the smokin ride down, well worth the pain! Cheers :sunglasses:

looking down at start line, can you see it?

WOW, that is some climb. 4000’ in 7.3 miles on dirt! Way to go. Aren’t father/son adventures the best? Tell Logan I said he’s awesome. Wish I could do those events with you guys but it makes no sense at all to fly out for a race that goes to 12000’ - since I live at 490’… I would keel over.


As always Mike, very inspiring write-up. It reminds me that I’ve been so obsessed with distance training the last six months, I haven’t spent any time on muni, where I can ride with my son on his 20". Time to saddle up the Hunter this weekend and get out on the trail with Miles.

The average grade for that climb works out to about 10.4%. That’s evil for a long climb on a dirt road with what looks to be loose rock. And at altitude.

Twice I’ve attempted a dirt road climb that has a similar grade but only gains 2600 feet. I start out OK but can’t sustain the climb for that long on that steep of a dirt road. Loose rocks and washboards become significant challenges. I’ve needed to end up walking parts of the climb and end up walking more of the climb than I would like to admit. Doing that for 4000 vertical feet would just prolong the abuse.

I don’t think I’m going to get around to trying that climb this year. I’ll have to see how the weather holds and when my ankle gets better. I know for sure that the climb will get the better of me again.

Congrats on another climb. Looks like a doozy.

Nice one Mike. Bit more impressive than my “Mt Princetown” :smiley:
As always, I’m very jealous of your local scenery.


Great story and, as always, great photos! Keep both coming!


Prolonging abuse is good for the soul, but only if you know there is reward at the end. It was a doozy of a climb/race. Thanks

It looks like you guys rode a 29 and a 26, is that right?

One is a 24" ,the other is a 26". Both were difficult to keep moving for long distances the top 3 miles.

Wow, nice job Mike!

I’ve driven/hiked that road a couple times and can definitely appreciate what it took to ride up!

Was the race this last weekend? I was in Buena Vista Saturday night.

Congrats to Mike and Logan. You’re both huge!

Nice ride guys!

Can I come train with you guys?

Awesome stuff from the Aspen gang!

Great job.

Anytime Scot, you would love riding this stuff: but you better hurry for this year though, as it has snowed twice in the valley already with another dump heading this way.

Yes it was, we were sitting in the hot springs just a few miles away.

Yes, family adventures are the best. Nothing like suffering with your son or daughter.:smiley:

Thanks steveyo, how’s your hillclimbing coming? Keep suffering, it will pay off in 06’!

Here is another photo, of me trying to catch Logan at about mile 4, with the Arkansas River Valley below. I called this the “SunTorcher” section, as the aspect turned south and the temperature increased dramatically. He had just powered ahead of me in a really tough section.

Now that is one awesome photo. If you have the full-res copy, maybe crop it a little like this and print up a big one and frame it!


Mike have you ever been on the Colorado trail by the hot springs?,its sweeeeet!!

VERY NICE NATHAN, I do have the full res! I do like how you cropped it, it takes the dirt out, and brings Logan and I closer, thank you.

No, I have not, where’s the best 15-20 mile stretch of MUni?

No stretch that big without alot of hiking but theres some very smooth stuff by Chalk creek where the trail crosses the road up from the hot springs…