A passion for pain: Father-son duo accomplish endurance cycling feat by pushing each other to their limits
Kyle Day was the youngest finisher in two of his three road races that took him over multiple mountain passes
Covered in sealant from his tubeless bike’s blowout, Kyle Day walked his way down the 14er he had just pedaled up.
His desire to push the limits of his bike eventually got the best of him as he sped down the rough mountain road, bringing him to a halt. An avid athlete, the 17-year-old is constantly testing limitations with everything he does — thanks, in part, to a close relationship with his father, Daniel Day.
The pair had just completed the Mount Evans Hill Climb, a one-way race up to the summit, but while Kyle was descending, his fearless approach resulted in the unexpected.
“It’s super rough going down, so my rear tire blew out while I was going 35 mph,” Kyle said. “… It sounded like a gunshot went off right behind me.”
For Kyle, pushing himself to new frontiers is ingrained in his DNA.
A Summit High School senior, Kyle not only pushes himself in weightlifting and bodybuilding but also in several cycling races each summer. This year, he competed in three major endurance cycling races across the state of Colorado. By his side every time, his father kept his motivation high.
Kyle credits his father for giving him the competitive drive that propels him to push his own limits in everything he does. In the world of weightlifting and bodybuilding, Kyle’s interest was piqued when his father introduced him to the 1977 film “Pumping Iron” featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Beyond bonding over their love of bodybuilding and the human physique, Daniel also introduced Kyle to the world of cycling. Over the past few seasons, the pair has competed in several cycling races side-by-side. For the 2022 cycling season, they competed together in three races.
A passion for pain
The Days knocked off a cycling circuit including the Bob Cook Memorial Mount Evans Hill Climb, the Copper Triangle and the Triple Bypass bike race. Despite feeling adequately prepared for the slate of summer races, each race poised its challenges for the father-son duo.
“On Mount Evans, you are fighting hypoxia the entire time because you are climbing a 14er the whole time,” Kyle said. “The Copper Triangle is just long, but the Triple Bypass, in total, is the most fatiguing in every single aspect (from elevation to length of the race).”
Kyle was the youngest finisher among the field as the competitors gained 6,630 feet from Idaho Springs to the end of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway at 14,130 feet. Kyle got to the peak in 3 hours, 35 minutes and 10.07 seconds to place ninth overall in the 17- to 29-year-old age group.
Daniel was barely beaten out by his son, crossing the finish line 27 seconds later.
Despite sucking in thin air for most of the ride, the Days made it to the top with ease.
Two weeks later, Kyle and Dan returned to the starting line for the Copper Triangle bike race on the weekend of Aug. 6.
Traversing three mountain passes — Tennessee, Fremont and Vail — the Days were challenged over the 79-mile course.
The final climb of the Copper Triangle was the biggest challenge for the pair.
“It’s a 9-mile climb up Vail Pass, but a third of the way up, I pretty much lost all power in my legs completely,” Kyle said. “I wasn’t fueled enough, and my legs were cramping the entire time.”
Kyle told himself to keep powering through the pain in order to not only beat his final place from the year before but also to make up some of the gap that had formed between him and his father.
Kyle finished the race in 292nd place, close to 20 minutes behind Daniel, who finished in 156th place.
Despite not being able to beat his familial rival, Kyle was still pleased with the way he finished the Copper Triangle since it displayed his mental fortitude and set up a race to the finish in the Day’s Triple Bypass season finale.
In the 110-mile Triple Bypass bike race, father and son faced their final challenge of the season, racing side-by-side over three mountain passes and past familiar scenes around Summit County.
While climbing over Loveland Pass from Clear Creek County, the pair encountered a major summer rainstorm, which soaked both riders and pelted them with hail.
“It started raining and hailing pretty bad, and it covered the whole Loveland descent, which is 20-something miles,” Kyle said. “My knees were all bruised from the hail hitting me. I would get hit between the vents in my helmet.”
While at an aid station at Summit High School, both were already wishing the race could be done, but both riders got back on their bicycles in order to push through the pain.
“I wanted to be done then,” Kyle said. “But I told myself that I would hate myself for quitting for a year.”
While ascending Vail Pass, the Days raced to the finish line one last time to end their 2022 cycling seasons.
This time it was Kyle who got the better of his father, putting a considerable gap on Dan over the last climb. Kyle finished the massive effort in 8:34:52 for 236th place to win his age division.
Dan finished nearly eight minutes later in a time of 8:42:40 to conclude his cycling season.
Regardless of bragging rights at the dinner table, the Days were most pleased with how they used each other to push one another to new athletic achievements.
“It was painful, but it was worth it just on the mental toughness side of being stubborn,” Kyle said of completing all three races within a two-month span.
Kyle will now shift his focus back to bodybuilding and weightlifting in preparation for his next bodybuilding competition late this fall or during the early winter months.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.