Riders pass Triple ByPass with flying colors
July 14, 2018
AVON — And that makes for a memorable first-date story.
Teri and Nick Slenkovich's first date was the 2015 Triple ByPass.
"In fact, in 2015, it was one of our very first dates," Teri said. "I chased him up Loveland (Pass), and we got married in 2016."
And the Littleton couple was back on Saturday, July 14, for the 30th edition of the ride, along with a cast of 3,500 cyclists participating in the annual event that takes those who chose it on a 120-mile ride over three 10,000-foot mountain passes (Squaw, Loveland and Vail).
New for 2018 were double-pass rides over Loveland and Vail or "just" Vail Pass.
Whatever route the racers choose, it's an accomplishment, finishing in Avon's Nottingham Park and it keeps people coming back year after year.
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"I still like chasing her up the mountain," Nick Slenkovich said.
Breckenridge's Greg Rosin completed his 14th triple on Saturday.
"It's a great ride," Rosin said. "It's a great course. It's a challenge."
One of Rosin's favorite memories was back in 2006 when it actually snowed during the Triple ByPass. With few clouds on Saturday, a repeat was unlikely.
Rick Hagge, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, completed the race for the fifth time, and considers it his annual physical.
"If I can compete this 120-mile ride, I'm still healthy," he said.
Jason Janz and Allyson Holgard were riding for CrossPurpose, a Denver-based nonprofit that works to raise people out of homelessness and/or poverty.
"The reason we do this ride is the theme of bypassing barriers," Janz said. "There's three passes to simulate as best we can — getting over the barriers of poverty and they're really hard and they take endurance."
While the Triple ByPass is not a race per se, it is an internal competition within each of the riders.
"It is a beautiful suffering," Teri Slenkovich said. "It's all about the mental challenge of talking yourself through something like this."
However many passes are in a respective ride, there is a point for everyone when it tests resolve.
"I sometimes count my pedal strokes," Janz said. "Count to 100 and then start again, so that I don't think about the pain."
And take it from a guy who's done this 14 times now, one can't view the Triple ByPass as monster 120-mile ride.
"By the time you get to Loveland Pass, which is the lunch area, you only have three-and-a-half miles until the top," Rosin said. "Really that's not too bad. You break it up into pieces. You don't look at it like I'm going to ride 118 or 120 miles. You break it up into pieces and you get there."
Hail Vail Pass
While the finish is at Nottingham Park, the last major obstacle of the ride is getting up Vail Pass. From there, gravity is pretty much the rider's friend.
"The words I used cannot be repeated," Terri Slenkovich joked about what she said at the top.
"Hallelujah Chorus," said Janz.
And though everyone's a bit tired after finishing, there is euphoria and a sense of accomplishment in finishing.
"I'm amazed. I almost want to ride back and get my husband, but he's a couple hours behind me," Holgard said. "It's just amazing. The people are so encouraging on the ride. Anything is possible. You just have to believe in yourself."