12 July 2011

Triple Bypass 2011

On Saturday I rode the legendary Triple Bypass. Although this is the 23rd year of the event, this was my first year to participate and I completed it in 8h 10m riding time and I actually felt pretty good afterwards.

The weather forecast called for thunderstorms throughout the day along the entire route. But I had a good run of luck and it didn't rain for nearly the entire day save for some sprinkles here and there. This was my biggest worry because once you are soaked your core gets cold, it's very difficult to warm it up again (I've experienced this before and the only thing that can warm me back up again is a big, hot cup of tea in my water bottle).

The Triple Bypass begins in Evergreen, CO (elevation: 7,220ft) and goes over three mountain passes:
  1. Juniper Pass, elevation: 11,130ft
  2. Loveland Pass, elevation: 11,990 ft
  3. Vail Pass, elevation: 10,617 ft
These make for over 10,000 feet of elevation gain through the day. Although I had a riding jacket with me, on both Juniper and Loveland passes, I could see my breath and I was shivering, so I stayed only long enough for a bio break, bananas and water, then I took off again (except for Loveland Pass where there was no aid station). The ride ends in Avon, CO making the total mileage 120 miles (check out the route map).

By the time I made it to Copper Mountain and started the ascent up Vail Pass, I realized that my time was cutting short -- I had paid for a shuttle ride back to my car in Evergreen and it was scheduled to depart Avon at 5pm. So I didn't take it easy going up Vail Pass and I made it to the top at 3:55pm still with about 32 miles to go. After waiting in line for a bio break, and refueling as quickly as I could, I left the top of Vail Pass at 4:09pm. I pushed it all the way down the west side of Vail Pass and continued all the way through Vail, CO. I was lucky enough to hook up with another dude and we wound up taking turns drafting for one another, hammering the entire way. Just beyond Vail but before Beaver Creek, CO, my legs began to give out a bit, so I had to ease up some. At that point I tucked in with a group of four other riders and drafted again. But to keep up with them I had to muster the last ounces of power I had left in my legs to raise my cadence a bit to keep up. As we sailed through Beaver Creek, I was counting down the miles, just hoping that I was going to make it (I hadn't checked the time since I departed Vail Pass). We pounded on to Avon, around the corner to the finish and I stood up to drive it home.

I immediately saw the transportation tent and headed there. Upon checking in, to my surprise, I found that I had actually made it - the bus had not yet departed back to Evergreen! As I checked in I looked at the time and it was 5:11pm. I had covered just over 30 miles in 1 hour! Although it was mostly downhill, it was still a tremendous amount of work after a long day, but I made it! I only had time to grab my bag from the luggage truck, no time for a bio break or even to grab water or food and the bus was off, headed back to Evergreen.

As we crested Vail Pass, all of us on the bus were noting the number of riders that were still coming down the west side of Vail Pass and still climbing up the east side. Just then, the clouds suddenly opened up and it was an utter downpour. One bus companion said, 'Better them than me, dude!' My comment was, 'Oh that sucks bad, I've been there before!' because I have been caught in the same spot in another event twice during a downpour, so I know from experience that that meant downright misery.

After dozing on the bus ride back, I picked up my car, stopped to gobble down a burrito and headed home. My wife was sorry that she and my girls could not be along the route at various locations throughout the day for mental support as they usually are, but I understood and knew ahead of time that they couldn't be there. She asked me if I'd do it again and my response: 'Yes, definitely!' What a ride in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains!

BTW, there were many riders I spoke to during the day who were doing the inaugural Double Triple Bypass. That is, on Saturday you ride 120miles from Evergreen to Avon and then on Sunday you turn around and go back. Maybe I will consider doing that next year, we'll see.

1 comment:

  1. man, I'll have to visit you and ride in Boulder after everything I heard you say (after getting in shape)