As promised, here are my photos from this year's Triple Bypass.
On the road up to Juniper Pass. Most of the way we were in the trees, but finally we broke out and were greeted by this spectacular view.
At the start of the descent we got a view from the other side of the mountain. I thought I should take a photo before I joined everyone else bombing down the mountain.
As we started the second climb, the sun was out in full force. I don't know exactly what the temperatures were, but my water bottles were getting warm. Drinking sports drink was a bit like drinking warm sweat. These young ladies were serving ice water and ice cold lemonade. I could have hugged them.
The aid station at Loveland Pass. Pull into the lot just in time to find out you've still got 4 more miles to climb! Great food and great volunteers at all the aid stations. These guys put on a great ride.
Looking down at the aid station from the switchbacks heading up to Loveland Pass.
Starting the last climb of the day. Surrounded by trees, all you really notice is that you're working hard to maintain a snail's pace.
Finally! The top of Vail pass, the last climb of the day. Your reward after this is 25 miles of downhill run into Avon.
The pros: the ride is incredibly well organized. The aid stations, the volunteers (cowbells ringing as you near the summit) and the hard-working police officers all make for a really smooth ride. The climbs are not steep; in fact it's hard to tell when you start the last two climbs. It's the altitude that makes it really challenging. At close to 12,000' it can feel like you're using someone else's legs, and they don't work too well.
The cons: it seems unfair to even mention, but I wish someone had told me ahead of time. Long sections of road and bike trail are poorly maintained (my hands and arms took a real beating on the way to Vail). Plus, there are so many riders, you rarely get to ride at your own pace. There's always ~10% who take up the whole lane so things get backed up regularly. Signs along the road remind riders to stay to the right/pass on the left, but too many riders ignore this.
The coolest part: getting back to our inn and watching the end of a Tour de France mountain stage. For once I was able to say, "100 miles and only two mountains? What a bunch of wimps!"