Triple the pain, triple the pleasure
AVON – The suffering. The views. The camaraderie. The sense of accomplishment.Everyone who rode in Saturday’s Triple Bypass had a different reason for submitting themselves to a day of cycling from Evergreen to Nottingham Park in Avon, with 10,000 feet of elevation gain inbetween.”I’ve been in Colorado for six months,” Beth Wyatt, 37, of Denver said at the postrace barbecue. “I’ve been looking for races. The wackier, the better.”Actually, the tougher, the better. Wyatt said when she rolled into the Bypass’s third aid station, fixed atop Loveland Pass at 11,900 feet, she was on the verge of tears. She considered calling a friend to come get her. Doubt was creeping in like a Colorado thunderstorm.She decided to save the phone call and keep going, though. As it turned out, she fell in with a good group of riders who helped push her along. Her skepticism dwindled with each turn of her pedals.And once she crossed over Vail Pass at 10,500 feet, it was all downhill from there. “It was like, ‘Oh yes, I can,'” Wyatt said, when asked for her thoughts after finishing. “It’s awesome. I feel a lot better having finished. You look around and it makes you think, ‘How lucky am I to have the health be able to do this?'”Wade Morrison, 37, of Parker, didn’t necessarily feel lucky after finishing his sixth Bypass, just drained.
He said the sharp headwind riders had to face all day and the unrelenting climbs over Juniper Pass (11,140), Loveland Pass and Vail Pass seemed harder this time around.For him, the more suffering, the better.”It’s brutal,” said Morrison, whose finishing time was just less than 8 hours. “It’s a test to how much you can suffer. I think this ride can crack a lot of people. They get to Loveland (Pass) or they get to Vail (Pass) and they just fold, so just finishing is an accomplishment for a lot of people. I love it, man. It’s an awesome race.”There were those, among the 3,000 or so riders who signed up for the 17th edition of the Bypass, who weren’t as sapped as Morrison or Wyatt Saturday afternoon.Steve Bovey and pal Max Lawler, both 27, of Denver were two, as was Joan Miller, 37, of Lakewood.All three said they used the Bypass as training ride.Lawler and Bovey, who finished in around 7 hours, are both amateur Ironman triathletes who have competed in endurance events around the globe. They have aspirations of turning pro someday because, as Lawler said flatly, “Work sucks.”Miller, who also finished in around 7 hours, said she used the Bypass as a tune-up for the Leadville 100 in August – one of the most grueling mountain-bike races in the country.
“I feel like I could go and do it again,” Miller said afterward. “This year was very easy, yes. I guess I’ve been training good.”While burning lungs and tired legs didn’t make Miller consider quitting, four flat tires did. A motorist threw out a box of tacks on Highway 103 heading up Squaw Pass toward Juniper Pass, Miller said, and the four early flats left her a little fed up.It could have been worse.”There was another guy on Squaw Pass who said he had gotten seven tacks in his tires before he got to the top,” she said. “Someone who doesn’t like cyclists dumped them intentionally. That was the most frustrating part of the ride. Other than that, it was great.”Tack that, cyclist haters.Bovey didn’t mention any tacks, just the challenging climbs which were great for endurance training. He also said the best part of the Bypass – aside from the postcard perfect scenery – was cruising downhill after cresting one of the three climbs. “It’s challenging, yet at the same time, it’s fun,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun to see how fast you can go. The last 20 or so miles through Vail and Avon, charging through the traffic circles, it kind of feels like you’re in the Tour de France yourself. I felt good the whole ride.”Lawler said his only gripe was having to ride on Interstate 70 for 5 miles – a feeling similar to riding a big wheel on the shoulder of a go-cart track.
Otherwise, he said, “the rest of the of ride is just beautiful and relaxing. So many cameras are out there.”Miller echoed Lawler’s sentiments, saying that part of the appeal of a ride like the Bypass is taking a journey in one’s mind while the body cranks out the miles. Spend 7 hours on a bike surrounded by Colorado’s captivating beauty, she said, and there’s a lot to think about. “I just try to think about other things in life and kind of meditate instead of thinking, ‘How many more miles do I have to go?'” she said.Phil Lyle, 63, of Silverthorne said he enjoyed the scenery, too, but most importantly he enjoyed cutting nearly two hours off his time from the first time he rode the Bypass two years ago.Lyle finished in a little more than 8 hours.”I was in better shape this time, so it was a lot easier,” he said. “You get to push yourself above and beyond what you would normally do. I was trying to see how fast I could do it, so I did it by myself. If I was with a group of people, they’d either slow me down or I’d go too fast. I just wanted to do my own thing.”Nate Peterson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via e-mail at email@example.com.
Glance: Triple BypassSaturday’s 120-mile ride started in Evergreen and took riders over Juniper Pass (11,140 feet), Loveland Pass (11,990 feet), Swan Mountain and Vail Pass (10,560 feet), before ending at Nottingham Park in Avon. The first rider across the finish line was Hugh Auchincloss, who finished just under 7 hours. Riders could leave Evergreen as early as 5 a.m. or as late at 8 a.m. All riders were swept off the course after 7 p.m.Vail, Colorado