The Triple Bypass

Thank you again to everyone who contributed to Big Brothers Big Sisters on my behalf.  Because of your generosity we exceeded the original goal of raising $1,500 by almost $1,000 as of last night.  For my commitment, I promised to contribute $500 and cycle 120 miles over Squaw, Loveland, and Vail passes this past Saturday in The Triple Bypass cycling ride.  The road was long, the passes high, the sun hot, and the rain cold, but I am happy to report that I successfully completed the ride in about ten and a half hours.

Starting around 6AM with Squaw Pass, 3,500 cyclists climbed for 16 miles from 7,800 feet to 11,000 feet.  I had a breakfast burrito before I started and piled on shot bloks, Powerbars, Goo, Gatorade, water etc. during the climb.  At the summit I took a few minutes to enjoy the views and gear up for the 14-mile white-knuckle coast down to Idaho Springs.

From Idaho Springs we made our way to Georgetown where the fun began.  Most riders would agree that the second leg of the Triple is the hardest.  You’ve just finished a long climb up Squaw with a nice, although short, break before climbing for the next 30 miles to the summit of Loveland Pass with an additional elevation gain of around 4,200 feet.  During this leg you never stop climbing – it’s always uphill, and a good portion of it is on the I-70 highway.

At Loveland Basin I realized that I had underestimated the Triple.  I felt pretty spent when I sputtered into the aid station, and in front of me I saw a series of steep switchbacks, and thought, “that can’t be part of this ride.”   On closer examination I could see little dots moving in one direction along the switchbacks and a few expletives raced through my head.  I devoured ham and cheese sandwiches, watermelon, and chocolate chip cookies, threw down some Gatorade and water, and jumped back on my bike.  The short break at the aid station really turned me around, and the switchbacks started falling behind me as I made my way to the summit around 12,000 feet and an easy coast down the backside through A-Basin and Keystone.

Driving into Vail is always a joy, but riding down as the last part of the Triple was a near spiritual event.  The ride ends in Avon and you can feel the adrenaline pumping as riders pick up the pace for the finish line.

Again, thanks to everyone who contributed to Big Brothers Big Sisters, and to Lindsay Brown for his advice along every step of the way, and especially to Lisa for supporting me and encouraging me to train, and setting such a great example with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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