Cyclists conquer the Triple ByPass
AVON, Colorado – A few gathered for a group shot of tequila. Others posed for photographs. Some met up with families holding signs or clanging cow bells.
“I feel really good,” Evergreen’s Ted Evans said. “I want a beer and piece of barbecue chicken.”
Bring that man the entire bird. Make it two chickens.
Evans and his fellow 3,500 cyclists started at around 6 a.m. Saturday down in Evergreen and 120 miles and three 10,000-foot mountain passes later – Squaw, Loveland and Vail – each celebrated in his or her own way after completing the Triple ByPass at Avon’s Nottingham Park.
For some, it was training for bigger things. For many, it was for a charitable organization. For others, it was just a good workout.
“My friend brought my kids up here from Denver and so I was looking for them and I was fired up to see them – frosting on the cake,” said Denver’s Patty Braun. “It’s a really big day and it’s a really big climb and it is a definite sense of accomplishment.”
Just warming up
Evans and his friend Bob Brown of Evergreen rode the ByPass together in preparation for the Leadville 100 on Aug. 15.
“This is good preparation because there’s no substitute for being in the saddle for 9 or 10 hours,” Evans said.
Ryan Roundtree, soon to be a junior at Castle View High School down on the Front Range, just wanted to challenge himself.
“Not a lot of people my age do it because I’m 16,” he said. “I like to challenge myself and do something new that not a lot of people like to do. It’s good exercise. It’s fun and I’m going to start racing this year.”
And just like Evans and Brown, Roundtree has his sights set on something bigger – doing the Copper Triangle to celebrate his dad’s 50th birthday. Instead of getting a power saw or some golf clubs, Dad, aka Russell, and Ryan will be doing the loop from Copper, to Vail up to Tennessee and Fremont passes and back twice around Aug. 2.
Amy Dohr of Evergreen had watched her husband do the Triple ByPass the last two years while she was driving their two young children up to Eagle County. This year, they traded places.
“I always thought that (driving the kids) was harder. But it turns out this is much harder than I anticipated, especially the front half,” Dohr said. “I just was jealous. I thought it would be a great experience and a good challenge. It definitely was.”
Hitting the wall
Understandably, there were times Saturday when riders questioned themselves.
“In a super long bike ride like this, there are always times when something goes wrong,” Roundtree said. “Loveland Pass was probably the hardest part because it’s right in the middle and you go over Squaw Pass and then you have to climb all the way. The heat was excruciating.”
By the time a good portion of the cyclists reached Vail Pass, the heat broke with traditional afternoon showers and hail.
“It felt pretty good most of the way,” Braun said. “It got pretty rainy on the way down. We had to put our rain jackets on and grunt and bear it. That last little roll into Avon is a little long, but it feels good to be done.”
By and large, the weather held. Riders rode with the wind, which is the exception to the rule for a westward route through the Rockies.
“Three years ago, I got rained on seven out of eight hours,” Edwards’ Nate Goldberg said as showers began to fall at Nottingham Park. “This is nothing.”
For Eagle County locals, the top of Vail Pass was a welcome sight.
“It’s pretty cool,” Goldberg said. “You know when you get on top of Vail pass, you know every little hill, every little bump. It’s pretty neat finishing up.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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