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Should you ride the Triple Bypass?

Triple Bypass logo
A line of bicyclists riding down a trail in the mountains during the Triple Bypass.

I love to ride bikes and have for almost 30 years now. Name the type of bike—cruiser, mountain, road, gravel—and I’ve likely ridden it over the past month, if not week, to get around town and to keep my aging body moving. Throughout my thirties and early forties, participating in bike races or non-competitive events was my thing. About twelve years ago, I stopped participating in organized rides. It wasn’t a conscious choice; I guess life got too busy. But I never stopped riding bikes. 

Last year, I was shaken from my bike event slumber with a welcome reminder of why I love organized bike events, especially Team Evergreen’s Triple Bypass, an iconic Colorado bike experience. 

One reason I love the Triple (and the Double, for that matter) is that it’s a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal) for bicyclists, yet within reach of most “weekend warriors” who are willing to put in the time to prepare. Crossing the finish line in Vail will bring an ear-to-ear smile because you found the discipline and strength to do something hard. The ride is not easy, but it feels good when a volunteer, mirroring your smile, strings a finisher medal around your neck.  

As expected, the Triple provides riders with breathtaking views, figuratively and literally. But here are five additional reasons the Triple is a bucket list bike experience based on my spectacular ride last year:

a group of bicyclists ride along a road in the mountains during the Triple Bypass.

First, the combination of closed lanes on most roads, bike paths and the attentive traffic control by police at intersections made me feel one hundred percent safe. 

Second, the number and placement of rest stops were perfect, and individually wrapped sandwiches (vegetarian options included) washed down with Honey Stinger energy drink provided the fuel I needed to get my butt over Loveland Pass. 

Third, bagpipes! Yes, bagpipes!! As I layered up at the top of Loveland Pass for the descent into Keystone, a bagpipe player—sporting a kilt, of course—found enough oxygen at 11,990 feet above sea level to make his bagpipes sing for us. 

Fourth, if you have the itch to compete, there are two timed sections with results posted broken out by age groups. Otherwise, the ride is not timed and has a relaxed feel including a flexible start time (must start before 8am). Many riders start before sunrise, and it is a wonderful sight watching hundreds of riders making their way up the first climb at dawn.

Finally, Team Evergreen knows how to throw a post-ride celebration with tasty food (again, a vegetarian option was provided) and beer. Ford Park in Vail was the perfect place to end this epic day.

Riding the Triple reminded me of something else I love about bike events. The peloton is a low-stress, supportive, rolling community of good vibes where bicyclists, slow and fast alike, chat about bike gear, nonprofits, clubs or other events reflected on their jerseys, their favorite places to ride and the mountain views—and often, the conversations have nothing to do with biking at all! Meeting new people while pedaling is fun and helps the miles fly by. 

a large group of cyclist ride on the road, with a train bridge and the mountains in the background, during the Triple Bypass.

Should you ride the Triple? If you want to experience the best Colorado offers in a bike event and to experience that gratifying feeling of accomplishing a BHAG, sign up for the 2023 Double or Triple Bypass on July 22. Keep these three tips in mind:

  1. Train! Your training doesn’t need to be complex, but you must put in some longer rides, ideally pedaling uphill. Visit www.teamevergreen.org to find fun and supportive people to ride with and tips to prepare you for your big day. 
  2. Dress for the weather forecaster’s worst-case scenario. And remember that the conditions at the base of a big climb are very different than at the top or on your descent. Carry extra clothing (e.g., a good raincoat, extra layers, a hat), even if it means strapping an extra bag to your frame or wearing a backpack.
  3. Mentally prepare to pedal uphill, and I’m not talking about the three mountain passes. The in-between isn’t flat, either. For example, there are almost 3,000 feet of gradual elevation gain over 25 miles before climbing up Loveland Pass. 

Thank you, Team Evergreen, for this experience and for reminding me of my love of organized rides. Since the Triple last year, I’ve been inspired to get back into the world of bike events, and I look forward to more good times ahead! 

** The 2023 ride finishes in Avon at Nottingham Park with a total mileage of 118 miles.

Pete Piccolo

About the Author: Pete Piccolo

Since 2018, Pete has led as Executive Director of Bicycle Colorado. He works to make Colorado a better place to ride a bike for everyone who chooses to ride. He prioritizes relationship building, collaboration and creating a strong, effective team to lead the way. Want to chat with Pete? Send him an email at pete@bicyclecolorado.org.

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