Thousands survive Triple Bypass |

Thousands survive Triple Bypass

Andrew Harley

The name itself suggested a near-death experience.

The Triple Bypass, sponsored by Team Evergreen Bicycle Club, was an epic, 122.5-mile journey over three mountain passes, from Evergreen to Avon Saturday.

The Triple Bypass took approximately 3,000 riders over Squaw, Loveland and Vail Passes, with 10,310 feet of elevation gain.

“Actually, the worst part was from Idaho Sprigs to Georgetown,” said first-time participant Christian Updike. “It was extremely hot. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it when I reached the Loveland Basin rest stop, but after I reached the top of the pass, I knew I could do it.”

The Triple Bypass is more of a “tour” than a “race.”

The majority of competition throughout the tour occurs between rider and mountain and rider and self.

This year’s first rider to cross the finish line is the same man who finished first last year, Pete Baker.

Baker arrived at Avon’s Nottingham Park at 12:30 p.m., and was greeted by free food, water, lemonade, a live band, beer and a wealth of sympathetic faces.

“I feel pretty good,” said Baker. “I had some beer and some lemonades. I feel best in the shade though, because it’s kind of hot today.”

The ride has been organized since 1988 by the Team Evergreen Bicycle Club, and is the club’s signature event.

“I live in Evergreen, and this race is like the local’s club ride,” said Baker, who has been participating in the event off and on for about 10 years.

And the Evergreen locals were well-represented, but riders from all over the states, and even some from across the oceans, came to participate in the increasingly highly-anticipated event.

“I use this event as an excuse to get my wife and daughter up to the valley for a long weekend,” said Baker.

Baker plans on riding back to Evergreen (on his bicycle!) on Tuesday.

“The ride back’s easier because the wind’s at your back,” said Baker.

The Triple Bypass’s volunteer director Ron Swan began riding the event 10 years ago, but hasn’t had the opportunity in the past couple years because of his responsibilities and desire to make sure the event runs smoothly while it’s happening.

“I used to come up here with our little kids so we could see him finish,” said Ron’s wife Chris Swan. “But since he became director, I’ve been helping him with registration and other volunteer duties.”

Riders of all ages participated in the event, from pre-adolescents to post-menopausals. And, regardless of age, no one seemed to harbor any hard feelings about their experience.

“My daughter Sophie – she’s 4 – wanted to know last night, before she went to bed, whether I was going to win,” said Updike. “She was waiting at the finish line for me when I crossed it at 5:30, and said, “Daddy, you won!'”

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 608 or at

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