Saturday, July 15, 2006

The Triple (Single) Bypass (Freeze-out)

This one is tough to write about. We were ready, looking forward to great riding, great scenery, and fun at the end. Instead, while the climbing was no real challenge, we couldn't see for the fog and rain and never made the other end. There were rumors of 3000 lbs of wasted BBQ at the finish and hundreds of PBJ sandwiches from an aid stop going to a homeless shelter. Here's why there was a 95% attrition rate at the great Colorado ride.

The state and Team Evergreen agreed to cap the Triple Bypass at 3500 riders. They reached that limit and closed registration months ago. Riders could start at 6-7am so we chose closer to 7 so that it would warm a bit and we wouldn't need much gear (which we didn't have anyway). Very few riders were seen in long shorts and most were in short sleeves though many, like us, had arm warmers. Who knew weÂ’d need all of the above in waterproof versions.

Jane (Tokyo Jane) and David (of theLAF) and I met Jane's brother and nephew and headed to the start. It started raining when we crossed the start line and increased its intensity every 15 minutes. The climb up to Juniper Pass started immediately. Climbing 15 miles proved to be doable at a pretty good cadence but speeds were under 10mph. It felt good, we worked up a bit of heat and we could chat among our group and with the other riders. This ride is going to be wet, but will work out... we think. At the top there's a lodge and I see about 100 bikes laid over and the place is full of riders. We ride on. At the peak aid station, many riders are stopped and shivering as we decide to press onward. How bad could the descent be, right? What's a bit of wind chill to hardened riders? Combine the wet with streets slicker than owl-stuff and a downhill grade for 18 miles and it all became clear.

Going over 20 on the descent was out of the question. It was way to slick. To keep the speed down you needed constant brake pressure or get on and off them frequently. The wind chill froze our braking hands and braking was literally painful. Keeping the bike upright required so much body tension that after a few miles we had pain in the shoulders and tight muscles all over. This was a beating and it continued for almost an hour. I had to stop twice to defrost, stretch and wait on the rest of our group.

At Idaho Springs the road leading to the main intersection was covered with riders on cell phones. At the Bike/Coffee Shop, both sides of the road were stacked with bikes and riders milling around. We had apparently caught the bulk of riders and they weren't going anywhere. I got in a non-moving line for coffee and talked with another rider who was shaking uncontrollably... he said he was going to go on (uh-huh). Our group had made the decision already; we're calling our toe truck. It turned out that they were already there at the Starbucks.

Reports of snow and continued rain at Loveland Pass and Vail pass only cemented our decision. We bailed after 31 miles and almost 3 hours of riding. On the way home we talked of continuing our riding from JaneÂ’s house but it never let up. The rain just got worse.

OK, this was a 1 in 100 event, and we're in it for next year. We'll be there with the waterproof gear and it will be 80 degrees and fair weather.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled training program.


Post a Comment

<< Home