No, it wasn’t heart surgery, it was a bike ride!!
I’m a 77 year old guy that wanted to see if I still had it in me to do this.
It’s a grueling 120 mile, single day bike ride in the mountains of Colorado with over 10,000 feet of climbing. During the day you traverse over 3 mountain passes, Squaw Pass, Loveland Pass and Vail pass.
It departs from Bergen Park, CO and finishes 120 miles later in Avon, CO.
They advertise 10,000 feet of climbing. I take issue with that as I used my MapMyRide app on iPhone and it records the climbing. Unfortunately they battery and backup only lasted until I got to Frisco and I still had to climb Vail Pass. At Aid Station 4, my MapMyRide show I had climbed 11,201 feet and I still had Vail Pass to climb. Frisco is elevation 9042 and top of Vail Pass is 10560 so that’s another 1518 feet of climbing. So by my calculations the amount of climbing was 12,719 feet for the day.
Here’s my GPS for 72 miles before the battery gave up:
I’ve ridden a lot of bike rides, Ride the Rockies, Elephant Rock Century, and others but of all the rides I’ve done, none have given me the feeling of accomplishment that completing the Triple Bypass does.
I rode my first Triple Bypass in 1991, and have ridden it 8 times now. Before today, I last rode it in 2000, but that’s 15 years ago. I realized the body ages in 15 years, so my only goal was to finish. I wasn’t concerned on keeping up with anyone or passing anyone. To top that off we have had a very rainy spring and early summer, that coupled with our business left me with very little training time.
This year, my training for the last 3 months was, May-26 miles, June – 340 miles, July before Triple – 102 miles. I’m not proud of the training but it is what it is.
For me, the hardest part of the ride was the bike trail from Silver Plume to the base of Loveland Pass. It was an undulating trail that seemed to be going uphill all the time. I spent a good part of my day looking about 10 feet in front of my front tire because every time I looked up, all I could see was a string of bike riders going uphill. I didn’t need the reminder.
Arriving at the top of the 2nd climb – Loveland Pass – Elevation 11,990 ft. About 2 PM
Click on Image for Larger View
I knew time would take it’s toll on my body and performance. But experience helps. For instance, as I recall the last time I rode it in 2000, there were 1500 riders and when I got to the top of Vail pass, the last climb, I was about the 750th rider there, about the middle of the pack. I started the ride about 5:30 AM and as I recall, finished about 5 PM, about 11 ½ hours.
Arriving at the top of 3rd climb – Vail Pass – Elevation 10,560 ft. About 6 PM -
Avon Arrival – 30 miles and 2 hours later- last hour in the rain
This year I started at 5 AM and finished at 8 PM, but I made it. That’s 15 hours with probably 1 hour total in rest stops. I wasn’t last in as there were riders still coming in. We were flirting with rain all afternoon so it was only fitting that the last 20 miles was ridden in the rain. I actually felt kinda good. I had a course worker take this picture. I asked her if I looked FINISHED, and she said YES. Take that anyway you want to.
I talked about experience. Here’s what I mean. When you start out everyone is “gung ho” to show everyone how good they are. People are talking to each other constantly, talking about work, trips, biking etc. A lot of folks really push the envelope, they pound the pedals and accelerate past you and up the hills. But at the 60 mile mark, no more idle chatter. At that point it was just enduring to the end.
But the trick is this, its a long ride and there’s only so much energy in your body. If you waste it early trying to be macho, you’ll pay the price later. At about the 60 mile mark while you are climbing Loveland Pass (the 2nd big climb) you’ll have a “come to Jesus” moment. That’s when you’ll know you have a long day ahead of you.
So how did I do? Well I didn’t set any records, it took me 15 hours to complete with probably 1 hour total in rest stops. I doubt I passed 20 riders, most passed me. But I had already prepared my ego for that. I wasn’t the last one in as there were still riders coming in at 8:45 PM. My goal was to complete the ride and I DID IT.
Here’s pics of my jerseys from previous Triples:
Stan is the Senior Editor for StanHjerleid.com. He is a Tea Party Conservative and very concerned about the future of America. He is a Navy Veteran having served aboard the destroyer USS Laffey for 4 years. For the last 12 years he co-owns with his wife, Happy Cat Retreat, a cat boarding facility. He has owned 2 photography studios for 12 years and worked as an IT Specialist for 14 years. He loves animals and raises parrots in his spare time. He is also an avid road bicyclist and motorcyclist.