Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Triple Bypass

Note: My computer is fixed! Again I have very little . . . well, okay, NOTHING, good to say about the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Note to self – next time, buy an Apple Computer.

Saturday was the
Triple Bypass. The Triple is always a challenge – if you are in shape, you push yourself and try to finish in a "good" time – whatever that means to you. If you are not in great shape, it is a long day with many opportunities to suffer.

We are now one month away from Leadville, so the final push is on. I looked forward to the Triple as an opportunity to assess my fitness. After doing the ride, I think I'm where I need to be.

Phil had some complications come up at work, so he was not able to do the whole ride. He did ride to the top of Loveland Pass, then turned around and rode home.

I decided to go ahead and do the planned ride. My sister and brother-in-law were already set to pick me up in Avon, so why not ride?

My friend Amy rode her first Triple this year – great work, Amy! These are photos of her on Squaw Pass a couple weeks ago when she did a Loop From Hell training ride with us.

We headed out from Bergen Park just before 630 am. I felt good, so I pushed a little bit on the climb up Squaw Pass. I didn't go redline/lung-busting/all out – but just a notch above comfortable. Phil rode my wheel the whole way (I think I made him hurt just a little bit . . .).

At one point a guy I passed said something like "Nice Bike." Very original . . . and being a smartass I responded "it would be nicer if it had a motor." By then I was 100 yards up the road, but I heard his reply: "Looks like it has a good motor already!"
That made me feel good.

Phil did his best Mark Cavendish sprint at the summit of Squaw Pass, swung off my wheel and pipped me. Phil Liggett would be proud.

The weather was fantastic. I think it is the first year I did not have to stop at the top to put on a jacket (and pants & warm gloves, etc.). I pulled up my arm warmers and was just fine on the long descent into Idaho Springs.

We had a ferocious headwind between Georgetown and the base of Loveland Pass. No surprise there. Phil caught a fast pack of cyclists and held on for dear life. I got a slightly slower group and let the boys in University of Texas jerseys pull me for 5 miles. Awesome.

After a PBJ and some Chips Ahoy at the Loveland aid station, I was back on my bike for the climb up Loveland Pass.
The Loveland climb is only 4 miles long; yes, it is steep, but it never seems that bad to me. I just got in my groove & spun up to the top.

Saturday it was beautiful, with clear blue skies. Like a dumb-ass, I carried my camera all day, but didn't take a single photo. Knowing my computer was still bollixed I didn't think I'd be blogging the ride. So you'll have to trust me – the view from the top of Loveland was breathtaking. Perhaps the altitude and the climb added to the breathlessness . . .

It was hotter than stink on the little climb up Swan Mountain, but the clouds were building and I was pretty sure I'd be cooled off soon by one of Colorado's ubiquitous afternoon thunderstorms.
Sure enough, once I hit the bike path between Frisco and Copper Mountain, the showers started. Just enough rain to cool me off and mess up my sunglasses – pretty nice, actually. I felt great on that section and was pushing just a little bit. At one point I looked back to see a train of 5 or 6 guys hanging on to my wheel – being a bit undersized I don't think anyone gets much of a draft off of me, but hey, whatever works.
The Conoco station in Copper Mountain was packed with cyclists fueling up for the last little push up and over Vail Pass. I grabbed a PayDay and two Excedrine; said "hi" to my friends Jean, Linda and Paul; called my sister to give her an ETA; and headed up the final pass.
Vail pass from the Copper Mountain side is no big deal. I think it is only 3 miles long. Wait – let me re-phrase that: This year, Vail Pass was no big deal. That is a reflection of my current fitness. There have been years when it was a serious challenge for me.

Ate a couple of Oreos at the Vail Pass aid station, and started the long descent into Avon. [Can you tell one of my favorite things about doing rides like this is the ability to eat crap with impunity? I saw a guy eating Fritos at Copper Mountain and nearly mugged him. I don't think I've had Fritos in the last 10 years, but at mile 90 out of 120, they looked amazing.]

Coming down off of Vail Pass my luck gave out. The afternoon storm blew in with vigor. Howling wind. Sheets of rain. Small hail. I stopped to put on my rain jacket and felt bad for the six cyclists I saw changing flat tires.

By the time I made it to West Vail, the rain had stopped and a nearly imperceptible tailwind urged me the rest of the way into Avon. 119 miles, 8.5 hours and well over 10,000 feet of climbing. A very good day on the bike.

After a shower, I ate dinner in Frisco at Vinny’s with my sister and brother-in-law – I highly recommend it. Rich had veal, I had pork tenderloin wrapped in prosciutto and Barb had halibut – and we all ate every bite!
I fell into bed feeling very good about the ride. One more Triple Bypass - done!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks a lot, I've been waiting for your pictures. Good luck next month.