Triple Bypass challenge for veterans, newbies

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Full turnout tackles task of climbing three passes over course of two days

By Michael Hicks

For the past 11 years, Michael Steinert has resided in Fort Worth, Texas. But the Colorado native and Poudre High School graduate had a bucket list item that required that he come home one more time — riding in the Triple Bypass.
He can now mark that off his list.
“I grew up in Colorado and I’ve ridden a lot of these passes in other times, but I’ve never done this event,” the 42-year-old said July 15 after completing the double triple — a two-day ride for 2,500 riders from Bergen Park to Avon and back. “I’ve got some friends who’ve did it. I decided to come up this year and do the double.”
The 24th-annual event was capped at 3,500 riders for Day 1 and 2,500 from Avon to Bergen Park, including double riders. This was the second year the Triple Bypass committee offered the second day.
“Last year, we decided to increase the total number of riders on the road by creating the double triple. We increased the total number of registrations by about 2,500,” said David Newcomer, executive director for the Team Evergreen Bicycle Club. “We now have a random selection process. People indicate their primary ride preference and an alternative preference as well. That way we can accommodate them in the ride so long as they indicate an alternative choice. Everybody that signs up now will get a ride out of it.”
Chris Aymond knows all about the ride. The 46-year-old Denver resident rode the Triple Bypass for the seventh time this year. And just like the first time it’s still hard, but that’s what intrigues him about the ride.
“It’s a challenge. It’s fun,” he said. “When they offered it last year to do the double triple I did the double triple. Then I did the double triple again this weekend.”
The double triple provides more than just a physical challenge of riding 240 miles over two days and over three passes — Juniper, Loveland and Vail. It’s also a mental challenge.
“Once you get (to Avon) and relax you know you’ve got to do it again,” Aymond said. “But I felt pretty good today. I was surprised.”
It didn’t hurt that, unlike last year when he had three, that Aymond didn’t suffer a flat tire and he avoided most, if not all, of the inclement weather that challenged riders in Avon on Day 1.
Besides the double triple, Day 2 also provides a different perspective for riders who may only want to ride the course one way, particularly going west to east.
“The nice thing about Sunday as an option is that a lot of club members and have done the ride going east to west. It’s a very different experience coming back,” Newcomer said. “The climbs tend to be a little bit shorter. Distance-wise it’s a little bit shorter, but it’s more challenging in some aspects. It’s a really nice descent from Loveland all the way down to Idaho Springs. Then you top it off with a pretty tough climb over Juniper Pass to get back into Evergreen.
“It also gives people who don’t live in the Front Range the option to start closer to their community — Vail, Avon, Copper Mountain — to get here and then head back.”
So did the ride leave an impression on Steinert? Will he back?
“I’m sure I’ll be back. I’ll need a year just to forget about it,” Steinert said.