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I Managed to Ride the Triple Bypass

Headline: Another bucket list item complete – Rode the Triple Bypass Ride put on by the Team Evergreen Bicycle Club yesterday.

Yesterday was full of firsts for me. It was the first time I :

  • Rode 120 miles in a day.
  • Rode 10,000 feet of elevation gain in a day.
  • Rode 30 miles in the rain.
  • Rode in just shorts with temps below 50 deg. F.
  • Did a long ride with my average heart rate below 150.

The scenery was beautiful and the ride was very well organized. When on top of Squaw and Loveland passes you really felt like you were on top of the world.

About a week ago my wife noticed that there were still openings for the Triple Bypass ride when we were in REI Flagship in Denver. When I went online they were full… but then a friend said to look on Craig’s List, and sure enough I was able to find a packet from someone that broke their wrist earlier this year and was not able to train. So Tuesday I decided I would ride… Had my packet and a cleaned up bike by Thursday evening. Saturday morning we left early (about 4:45) to get to Bergen Park to start.

I’ve been in Colorado for almost a year now and have been working on riding my bike more. While I didn’t train specifically for this, I’d ridden quite a bit and have really been eating right. So while nervous (quite nervous) I felt that I was ready to do the ride.

Squaw pass had nice weather both up and down. It was cold enough to wear my rain jacket to keep warm. I think “crisp” is a better description than cold… cold was to come.

Loveland pass was full of surprises for me. I’ve never ridden any of these passes before and I was not familiar with the route. It is a long way up Loveland. I like where they had the break point… you could get some fuel before going up the steep part of Loveland. Just as I was approaching the top we were greeted with thunder (VERY close) and rain. After going over the crest is was very heavy rain with two bursts of sleet. I was chilled to the bone when I finished. It was so cold and the road so wet that I never went over 24 mph going down. At the bottom I thought I would give up, but the next short clime was enough to warm me up… at the next break I changed into dry socks (wool this time) and pressed on.

Vail pass was scenic. I heard lots of complaints about the “ups and downs” of the trail leading up Vail. Unlike the other passes where you have a constant grade most of the way you really had to shift a lot. Once to the top the descent was fun… until the rain came again. But it was at least a long steady downhill into Avon and I just tried to pretend like it wasn’t raining and press on… That is, unless there was someone in front of me spraying me with the water from their wheels… then I would speed up to get around. When arriving in Avon it was 57 deg… and it was quite a bit colder up in the rain in Vail.

If I were to ride again, I think I would pack much better than I did this time.

What I did do right was: keep my heart rate down, keep properly fueled, and drink lots of water.

And here is some of the statistics from the route.

120 miles, 10,000 feet of elevation gain.

The elevation profile looked like this:


And the here’s the map from their site:


Nothing like Stage 11 in the 2012 Tour de France – 15,000 feet elevation gain in 92 miles! But still quite challenging and fun – despite the rain, sleet, lightning, wind, and cold temps.

Thanks to those who encouraged me – particularly my wife. And also special thanks for her enduring horrible traffic conditions getting to Avon due to a truck that had the cab catch fire.


  1. chris says:

    Specifically what would you pack if you did the ride again?
    I assume a rain jacket and maybe a helmet cover. Wind vest? Arm covers? Knee covers? Sounds like you brought extra socks which I wouldn’t have thought of. Did you meet a support person for that or carry them? Did you bring two bottles of water or 1? Do experienced riders carry a pack or frame type pack?Any advice appreciated!

    • karlz says:

      Hard question. I’ve ridden twice. The first time I probably took too little. The second time I took too much. If I were to do it a third time I would get one of those small packs that fits horizontally behind the seat. I’ve seen some that have supports going down and others that are just supported by a connection to the seat. The second year I took too much and ended up with a very sore back side due to the extra weight. Would be nice if the bike frame was bearing that weight and not my seat.
      Both years I ran into very cold weather going over Loveland Pass. The first year I had sleet and temps dropped to about 36°.
      I think if I were to do it again I would take (in priority order) extra set of warm gloves (I hate when I can’t feel my hands), very light weight shoe covers (same goes for feet), rain jacket, light jacket, pants or knee warmers, helmet cover, and an extra pair of socks (in a zip-lock bag).

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