Life on 2 Wheels: Talking wildfires, British Lions and the canceled Triple Bypass bike tour
What: A day-long celebration with rides, vendors, food and more at Buchannan Park in Evergreen to give Triple Bypass riders their money’s worth after the event was canceled due to wildfires along the route
When: Saturday, July 8, from noon to 8 p.m.
Where: Buchannan Park, 32003 Ellingwood Trail in Evergreen
Cost: Free to registered cyclists
A list of local rides will be posted on the Triple Bypass website, along with informal tours to Guanella Pass and Mount Evans. See TripleBypass.org for details.
He had it all worked out.
At 1:30 this morning, Dillon’s Ross Jobson expected to wake up and watch his team, the British and Irish Lions rugby club, hopefully win its second game against the New Zealand All-Blacks in a best two-of-three series. The Brits haven’t taken the provincial series since 1971, and so when his boys emerged successful around 3:30 a.m., he would don a red jersey — the Lions’ colors — and start warming up for the Triple Bypass: an annual cycling tour of 120 miles and 10,000 vertical feet from Evergreen to Avon over Juniper Pass, Loveland Pass and Vail Pass (hence the name). Come 4 p.m., he’d roll into Avon tired, happy and in full Lions regalia after about nine hours of pedaling, not to mention nearly 18 straight hours of being awake. It could have been a Saturday he’d never forget.
But Mother Nature had other plans. On July 6 — less than 48 hours before Jobson and hundreds of cyclists who have trained, planned and trained some more for the tour hit the road — Triple Bypass officials announced they were canceling this year’s ride due to dangerous wildfire conditions in Summit and Eagle counties.
“Evacuations have been ordered while fire crews continue to fight the fire at the time of this release,” read a statement from Team Evergreen Cycling, the club that has hosted the Triple Bypass for nearly all of its 29-year run. “Our paramount concern is the safety of our riders, volunteers and emergency personnel.”
And so, with fires burning outside of Breckenridge, Kremmling and Edwards, the ride was canceled for the first time in recent memory. Team Evergreen now plans to host a day of local rides for registered cyclists, including loops led by visiting pros and club members, but Jobson was still just a little disappointed he couldn’t join the cycling masses for his second Triple Bypass.
“I loved it,” said Jobson, a native of England who first rode the route in 2016 with friends from Florida. “I thought I could do this every year, and so I’m disappointed I won’t get to ride (today), even though I knew I’d be hurting and suffering. I was looking forward to it.”
Jobson might miss the Triple Bypass this year, but it’s hardly the end of his cycling season. He picked up road biking about seven years ago and fell in love with it soon after moving to Summit County five years back. He trained like mad for that first tour in 2016 — four months of riding almost daily, including several stretches of 90 to 100 miles at a time — and remembered well how his two friends from Florida ran headfirst into altitude issues.
Oh, and did he mention that he rode the Double Triple Bypass that first year, as in 240 miles and 10,000 vertical feet from Evergreen to Avon and back again?
“One made it through day one and said, ‘No way,’ to day two,” Jobson said of his friends at the 2016 tour. “The other guy only made it to Georgetown on day one. A volunteer found him snoring by a stream, oxygen bottle next to him. (The volunteer) laughed at the fact he had a race tag for the Double, then cut him off.”
Jobson’s friends opted to skip out on the tour this year, and even he decided to do the single-day ride. He admitted he hasn’t trained nearly as hard — he was climbing mountains in Alaska for most of June — but he still rode a few hundred miles in the past eight days, just to make sure he was ready.
“(Today) was going to hurt me, I knew that, but I was going to do it anyway,” said Jobson, admitting that at 52 years old he’s no “young buck” anymore. “There are people who train constantly.”
Aside from the ride itself, Jobson will also miss the camaraderie of the Triple Bypass. The race makes no official stops in Summit County, but local businesses, restaurants and more still welcomed hundreds of hungry riders with open arms.
For a split second, he considered riding the route solo, just because, but that idea faded fast. After all, he said, “One percent of you is relieved that you don’t have to do it.”
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