Aug 28, 2011 2:49 PM by James H Egbert
August has been a month of preparation and anticipation over the US Pro Cycling Challenge which began last Monday to become the biggest professional bicycling event in Colorado. Today the whole event culminates in Denver, but a small group of bicycling enthusiasts wanted to rise to another challenge for the 2nd annual Assault the Peak, road race to the summit of Pikes Peak.
They arrived early Sunday morning to register for what might be seen as one of the local area's biggest challenge with a more than 24 mile continuously uphill race to the 14,110 summit of Pikes Peak. Starting in Manitou Springs at Memorial Park, riders rode through downtown and up to Highway 24 heading west to the entry of the Pikes Peak Highway with an escort from the Colorado State Patrol.
Riders were not limited to the pure muscle powered bike either. There were a group of 9 riders who rode a new breed of electric bikes that assisted in the assent to the Peak. The Average time from the 2010 race was just over an hour and a half in total. This year 9 riders hope to shorten that time significantly.
One rider might take longer, and he may not be on a traditional bike, but he may clearly face the toughest challenge of all riding a hand cycle. After being paralyzed 6 years ago Drew Will took on the challenge of living his life unable to do many of the things he had done before. "It's a challenge, you know, for me... I enjoy trying to find challenges that push me and maybe it is just the idea of not wanting to fail," said Wills, "I think you also find yourself out there too." Wills faced the challenge last year with a time of around 6 hours completing the summit race using his determination and upper body strength. With only a third of the over all muscle power of legs, the challenge for Wills and others riding like him is certainly one that staggers the imagination. Riders return back down the Pikes Peak Highway at a far more leisurely pace as only the up hill portion of the race is timed.
No matter what your physical fitness level or riding ability, when a race begins at just over 7,700 ft above sea level and ends at 14,110 feet, you can say it will be an up hill battle all the way. For more on this story and possible results from the race, see us on KOAA News 5 at 5:30.