The Bypass: no ordinary summer ride

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By Dan Johnson

When drawing up ideal weather conditions for a bike ride, Saturday, July 12, would be a day to put in a time capsule.

Riders that took part in the 20th annual Triple Bypass were treated to sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s as they made their way from Bergen Park over Juniper, Loveland and Vail passes before settling in Avon 120 miles later.

The 10,000-foot gain in elevation certainly isn't easy, but the riders had plenty of resources at their disposal before even hopping on their bikes.

Bike Source had an area open to all riders for a free tune-up and inspection. Adjusting tires and calibrating their pressure appeared to be the biggest chores of the day for the chipper crew, which clearly didn't mind being up before sunrise — that, or they were being powered by large quantities of caffeine.

Bob Copeland and Steve Ulmer were two of the mechanics on hand for Bike Source at the Triple Bypass, and they stressed that having a positive attitude was just as important as having a properly functioning bike.

"The ride isn't easy," Copeland said. "You're riding on I-70 and riding on roads that have a lot of debris on them. Riders have to be careful out there, but they have to remember to have fun, because the climbs can take a lot out of you."

The duo also stressed proper hydration, and the need for carrying multi-tools and spare inner tubes, although they didn't see flat tires being a big concern for riders.

"There's so many aid stations," Ulmer said. "They'll be able to get what they need if they forget something along the way."

Along with the bike adjustments, riders made sure to leave behind unnecessary cargo — as the circumstances are not ideal to be riding 120 miles with a backpack full of clean clothes.

Thankfully, Evergreen's Civil Air Patrol Squadron was on hand to relieve the bikers of their gear.

Riders approached the U-Haul-size truck, handed their bag to one of the volunteers, and off they went.

"We drive the bags to Avon and then sort them by color," Vikki Ellison said. "We're here by 4 a.m., so the early-risers can drop of their things and get ready to ride. This is our fourth year, and we really enjoy being a part of the Triple Bypass."