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Old 07-14-09, 09:09 AM   #1
palookabutt
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Triple Bypass 2009

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!"
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Old 07-14-09, 09:52 AM   #2
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Are you sure these weren't taken in the Pyrenees? Pretty spectacular riding.
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Old 07-14-09, 01:41 PM   #3
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Geez, I almost forgot. One of the strongest riders I saw all day was an older gentleman who blew past me on the way up to Loveland Pass. He had to have at least 15 years on me, but from the neck down he looked as sinewy as any 20-year-old hotshot.

Whoever and wherever you are, sir, good on ya!
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Old 07-14-09, 01:56 PM   #4
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Gorgeous, and it looks like you had great weather. I rode it in 2007 and 2008, but couldn't get there this year . Next year....
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Old 07-14-09, 02:26 PM   #5
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Beautiful pics !!! Maybe someday.......
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Old 07-14-09, 03:47 PM   #6
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I hope to do this ride again. But next time I'm living in Leadville the month before to get used to the elevation.
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Old 07-14-09, 03:49 PM   #7
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Great shots! I've never done the triple bypass but it's one I'd like to tackle one day.

I heard the guv was there - did you see him?
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Old 07-14-09, 03:51 PM   #8
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I cant wait to take a vacation up that way. It sure looks beautiful and it looks like you had a pretty good crowd as well.
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Old 07-14-09, 04:32 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by BikeWNC View Post
I hope to do this ride again. But next time I'm living in Leadville the month before to get used to the elevation.
No kidding about the elevation. With mid-day temperatures over 70F, I computed density altitude at Loveland Pass at over 14,000'. It was bad enough for me, and I live at 5000'. I can't imagine what it was like for flat-landers.
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Old 07-14-09, 04:35 PM   #10
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Great shots! I've never done the triple bypass but it's one I'd like to tackle one day.

I heard the guv was there - did you see him?
Thanks -- amazing what a cheap digital can do these days. I didn't see the guv, but I didn't look. Of course, he didn't find me either, so we're even.
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Old 07-14-09, 06:15 PM   #11
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Wow! Breath taking, in more ways than one.

Thanks for sharing both the excelent report and the picturesque vistas.
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Old 07-15-09, 09:56 AM   #12
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Thanks for the great report and photos! Triple By-Pass is on my list of rides to do, just haven't quite gotten to it yet.

Rode STP, Seattle to Portland this year, which is on the same weekend (as is the Death Ride). So many good rides, all on the same weekend!

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