Sunday, May 08, 2005

An article on the Bypass

An article from the Aspen Times about the Triple Bypass.

Climbing? We don't need no stinking Climbing.

I haven't posted my event calender for the season mostly because it's not completely locked down. But this is the event I'm predominantly getting ready for. This will, I'm sure, be harder than the Boulder 5430 in August. In fact, this is the ride that scares the snot out of me. ESPECIALLY after making up this little graphic.

This might be the hardest ride I've ever done. My first century ride was painful because I'd only ever ridden 40 miles (give or take). My first DOUBLE century was painful because I'd only ever ridden 100 miles. My first Ironman was painful because (do I even need to give a reason why an Ironman is painful? If you can't imagine, you shouldn't ever think about doing one)

But this, this is my biggest fear wrapped up into three giant packages labelled 11,140 ft, 11,990 ft and 10,567 ft. The funny thing about all of this is that there's actually only 10,310 ft of climbing. The Ironman Wisconsin course actually has a similar amount of climbing surprisingly. But when you throw in the elevation, it freaks me out... which is probably the reason I have to do it.

The official reason I have to do it is that the gang from the Ironman Wisconsin board at Mile141 is traveling out to Colorado specifically to DO Triple Bypass. I admitted my nervousness on the board and they said "BRIAN! YOU'RE DOING THE TRIPLE BYPASS!" So, I guess I am. How's that for peer pressure?

Here're the comparisons. The first, (and don't for a second think I'm comparing myself to this because I'm not. I'm NOT doing a time trial and couldn't do what they do in Le Tour if my life depended on it) is the time trial from last years Tour De France. It starts at around 200 ft and drives steadily upward at 7 percent grade for a steady 10 miles. Talk about nasty. No thank you. It does however look like the Triple Bypass has a similar couple miles on Loveland Pass though. Right near the unbreathable tippy top at 12,000 ft.

Next, we have the Ironman Wisconsin course, starting out at a measly 800 ft. You can see that it undulates throughout the course, but it's nothing especially steep, just mile after mile after mile of rollers. In ways, the triple bypass is easier because you get great big heaping gobs of descents tacked together (also scary because of the speeds one could attain descending for 16 miles, 12 miles and 27 miles at a shot) but the climbs more than make up for the descents I think.

Finally, the dreaded Wildflower Bike Course. I don't doubt that it's hard. But it starts at 0 ft. There's a particularly nasty piece at about mile 43, but it looks like there's something ALMOST as nasty at Swan Mountain on the bypass map (though shorter). "Nasty Grade" the last climb towards the finish, I think. Seems nasty enough, but at the same time, it almost seems like the way hills are here. I'll do the Wildflower course someday though, and when I do, I'm sure I'll complain just as much as everyone else.

Anyway, July 9 all of the fun starts at around 6am. Seeing as though the ride starts in Evergreen, I'm guessing I'll need to find a place to crash so as to avoid the hour and a half 4:30 drive. I'll be up early enough as it is.

The biggest question... how best to prepare for something like this? Does one need to spend time riding at an even nastier elevation than the one I've grown accustomed to? Do I spend the next two months like a mountain goat, climbing whenever the opportunity arises?

I'm assuming any of the hill training won't go to waste as I also get ready for the Paul Bunyan Double Century in Minnesota on June 18 (where I'll also have the benefit of Superman Syndrome), but how will my body react to being in the midwest the week before the race? Will I lose all the elevation benefit? I've generally heard it takes a week for every week away. If that's the case, then I might have some issues.

After this ride, I might NEED a triple bypass.... and as I write this, my TMJ is starting to flare up. Oh joy.