If the Etape du Tour isn't challenging enough for you - imagine a sportif event that starts at 9000ft and climbs up from there!
i-Team's Neil Patel writes about this serious challenge that is little known outside the U.S.A.
The 'Triple Bypass' is the flagship event of Team Evergreen a cycling club based in Colorado, U.S.A. This 3500 rider event includes 3 passes over 10,000 feet (3000m,) - including the 2,2 mile high Loveland Pass.
This event will provide a very hard ride (imagine The Etape with altitude!) but is definitely one to consider should you fancy a trip with your bike on the other side of the pond.
I was the only Brit in the 2005 event - the 19th edition - and as far as I know, I am the only Welshman to ride this event! I certainly stood out, resplendent in my National jersey - something that went down very well with the local riders!
Starting at Evergreen and finishing in Avon, the ride takes you through the heart of the mountainous area of Colorado. It passes through well known ski areas of Keystone, Frisco, Copper and Vail with some of the most spectacular views in the area. Not that you will have time to enjoy it! Most people, even the locals, are cycling at their physiological limits. So much so in lasts years' event, when there was some rain along the route, over half did not complete the event.
120 miles and over 10000ft of climbing over three mountains is tough enough but, for those who aren't locals, there is another challenge to overcome: altitude. There are various feed stops along the way with free refreshments and mechanical help if required. The organisers also provide sag wagons and there is a broom van to pick up those who aren't going to make the next checkpoint.
The highest point in European sportifs is not much higher than 9000 feet. The start of this event is at 9000 feet and goes straight up the first mountain at over 11000 feet. This means that, those who aren't sufficiently acclimatised (and that included me!!) are already suffering from the thinner air before you have even started.
Route / Profile Details:
Route description/elevation: 120 miles from Evergreen to Avon over Squaw (11,140 ft.), Loveland (11,990 ft.), Swan Mountain and Vail (10,560 ft.) passes, with over 10,000 ft. of lung-busting gain in elevation!
Rider Cap: 3,500. This cap was instituted in 2006 in consideration of the route we travel and the mountainous terrain. Team Evergreen seeks to maintain a safe and enjoyable ride for participants and motorists and believes that capping the event will allow TE to continue to provide a quality experience for all involved.