Denver: Whit Bazemore preview

BAZEMORE AND FRIENDS TO MAKE 14,200-FT. TREK TO TOP OF MT. EVANS MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2006) - It's apparently not enough for Whit Bazemore to experience an extreme adrenaline rush while enduring a maximum of 6.5gs accelerating down a ...

BAZEMORE AND FRIENDS TO MAKE 14,200-FT. TREK TO TOP OF MT. EVANS

MORRISON, Colo. (July 12, 2006) - It's apparently not enough for Whit Bazemore to experience an extreme adrenaline rush while enduring a maximum of 6.5gs accelerating down a quarter-mile dragstrip to over 330 miles an hour in under five seconds. He'd rather add some muscle-crunching, brain-cramping torture into his already exciting life as a professional drag racer by attempting to conquer Mt. Everest on a power-free (except for a pair of legs) two-wheeled vehicle.

OK, so it's not Mt. Everest he's planning to attack, but it might as well be, as Bazemore and a group of his buddies aim to pedal to the top of 14,200-ft.-high Mt. Evans in Colorado, just outside of Morrison, where he'll compete this weekend in the Mopar Mile-High NHRA Nationals, driving the Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Charger Funny Car in the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series.

A small group, including Bazemore, ESPN race analyst Mike Dunn, former ESPN reporter and race-car driver Parker Johnstone, Matco Tools' motorsports marketing director John Torok and perhaps some other unsuspecting victims, will make this 28-mile attempt Thursday morning (July 13) in advance of this weekend's NHRA event at Bandimere Speedway.

"We're going to ride from Idaho Springs up to the summit of Mt. Evans. It's 28 miles and about 7000 feet of climbing. It's the highest paved road in North America," explained Bazemore, who along with one or two of his companions on the trek, rides a Custom Seven Bicycle.

"It's an extremely challenging bike ride, simply because the altitude is so high. 14,200 feet is higher than a lot of private airplanes fly and we're riding our bikes that high. There are mountain goats and probably mountain lions up there. It's very challenging, a very difficult ride. The landscape up there is surreal. It's beautiful."

And it's like experiencing the ultimate Zen moment, according to the avid cyclist, who took up the sport for therapy after nearly crushing his legs in a motorcycle accident in 1996. "It's not about speed," said Bazemore. "It's about finding yourself. It's quiet, (the scenery is) barren, you're pushing yourself, you're just suffering and making yourself do something that you really don't want to do while you're doing it.

"When you do it you really feel like you've accomplished something."

While Bazemore has made this attempt before, he has yet to reach the summit of Mt. Evans. "I didn't make it last year," he said. "There were three reasons I didn't make it: One, I didn't feel great; that was the main reason. Two, I had a time constraint. And, Three, the weather turned bad."

So, will this be the year that he will conquer Mt. Evans? "I'd like to do it in three hours, but maybe it will take four," said Bazemore. "There's no time limit. It's been snowing up there, and because it is so high you really have to use some mountaineering sense. If the weather doesn't cooperate, you can't go on. It can be very dangerous if the weather's not good.

"It's also a difficult descent. It's 28 miles downhill, at speeds as high as 60 mph."

-dsr

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Series NHRA
Drivers Mike Dunn , Whit Bazemore