Why are we doing this again if we've already done it and swore it off after the first time? Why would we keep sending our feet around in circles while water sloshes through our shoes? Why are thousands of other people doing this too? Why are any of them smiling?
The answer is simple: we love our bikes.
However, while we love our bikes, we don't always love the elements we have to take them through and those elements can make or break an expected finish.
This year, 3,500 people signed up to ride 120 miles from Evergreen to Avon in the first day of the Triple Bypass. Another 2,500 signed up to ride from Avon to Evergreen for the 2nd day of the event. Included in those number were 1,000 crazy people who wanted to go both ways (240 miles) for what is called the Double Triple.
Ted and I completed the Double Triple in 2011. It was the first time it was offered and it was the first time we had ever signed up for the Triple Bypass. It was the hardest two days of cycling we had ever experienced. The second time couldn't possibly be as bad right?
Wrong. Just like last year, monsoonal rains in the high country soaked riders randomly throughout the two days. The wet clothes, chaffing and dramatic changes in temperatures over Juniper, Loveland and Vail passes became tests both physically and mentally.
We managed to crank out Day 1, but had doubts about attempting Day 2. Of course we did, hoping to beat the rain back to Evergreen. Unfortunately that didn't happen. Soaked and shivering at a Starbucks, I called my husband for a bail out ride in Idaho Springs. We would be 30 some miles short of a second Double Triple.
We weren't the only ones. There were countless bail outs in Idaho Springs and while we all wanted to finish, we all had our reasons and made peace with why we weren't.
It's ok to have a DNF (Did Not Finish). Sometimes we learn the most from not finishing - we learned we aren't meant to ride 240 miles in two days!
Having said that, I would highly recommend this event to anyone in need of a cycling goal. The Triple Bypass is put on by a fabulous group called Team Evergreen and they raise a lot of money for various charities through the event. After the 2012 numbers come in, they will be well over the $1 million mark in donations after 24 years of hosting the Triple.
My advice for first-timers:
* Start with a single Triple - I don't think it matters which way you go, they are both tough
* Sign up with a friend - 120 miles is brutal by alone.
* Round up some support that can travel along and wait at aid stations. Mentally it will give you a lift to see family or friends and most importantly, they can carry extra gear - like dry clothes.
Hats off to all who finished (and those who didn't) not only this year but in years past. It's quite an accomplishment and a badge of honor!
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)