ADVISE TO TRIPLE ROOKIE RIDERS FROM EXPERIENCED TRIPLE BYPASS RIDERS
Don't underestimate the challenge. Get long, sustained climbing training in, starting now. And then get ready to feel SO PROUD of your accomplishment!
Remember it's not a race and everyone is tired and wants to finish soon.
Have patience on the bike paths from Frisco to Avon, enjoy the views.
Training: time in the saddle takes precedence over training with hills or at altitude. Don't trade the former for the latter. Food: Even the best-trained have bad digestion days and affects your performance, pain, and/or fun. Pay attention to what kinds of foods work best for you and stay fueled. Be prepared for really miserable weather in case it happens. Seriously read about biking etiquette and safety and then do it on the road.
Shamie butter, gels and pace yourself!
Be prepared for any warm and sunny or cold and sleeting....you may experience both within an hour. If you are low lander like me, the altitude is a killer, go slow and steady to finish.
Water PROOF jacket, not resistant. Extra pair of gloves that are full finger. Layered clothing that can be shed and stuffed in pockets. For the descent from Mt Evans and Loveland, a piece of mylar fabric to put on your chest inside your jacket. It will still be early morning and cold when you start this descent but your jersey will be sweat soaked. The mylar layer helps to cut the 45+ mph wind chill you get on the descent. Hang on to it as you may also need it coming down from Loveland and Vail, especially if you are in the rain/sleet/snow (not kidding). Be mentally ready to be either really hot or really cold. Most likely BOTH.
Bring rain gear and a shower cap (free from hotels) to cover your helmet. Working as a medical rider for the last 7 years most common problem is bikers that are cold and wet
For the flatlanders like myself, try to get there a few days early to start the altitude acclimation process. It won't be enough time to fully acclimate but a few days can help.
Don't think of it as "3" passes, just think of it as "1" pass at a time. Someone gave me this advice before my first Triple and it was good advice!
Be patient and give yourself plenty of time to finish. It's not a race. Eat lots! Drink lots! Smile lots! Grunt through the climbs and rip the descents. Enjoy it. It's one of the best, most epic rides you will ever do!
Get your miles in and if you have a chance ride all three passes individually before the ride.
I would recommend riding the passes in sections during training. That way you know exactly what to expect throughout the day ... when to push and when to spin. You have an idea of how much gas it will take to get you to the finish line - no surprises.
Once you're over Loveland Pass (on Saturday ride) it really does get easier. Even though you're only at the halfway point based on miles, you're over two of the three climbs. Also try not to spend too much time at aid stations. As the day wears on it gets tougher to get back on bike the longer you linger.
Always take it easy on Squaw Pass, you will feel excited and feel like passing others but wait for it and enjoy the downhill. Idaho Springs to Georgetown is fun and calm.? But Georgetown to Loveland is extremely tough and can take the breath out of you. Relax, take it easy up Loveland and if you feel comfortable attack Swan Mountain then rest up to Vail Pass. Vail is fun and find a group to dodge the wind to the Avon finish.
Start early, yes 5:00AM, finish early. Make stops at the rest stations as quick as possible.? Plan on 8 to 10 hours in the saddle.
If you're a lowlander, like me, your lungs and heart will be taxed far more greatly than your legs. You'll need more time to finish than you're planning on.
Acclimate to the altitude for at least two days, preferably three.
Hydrate in advance ... 24 - 48 hours before the ride make yourself drink more than you need. I had always stocked up on carbs before the ride but had never hydrated in advance. It made a world of difference for me last year.
Ride Mount Evans before the Triple. If you can do Mount Evans, you can do the Triple
Pay close attention to your nutrition and hydration. Figure out how much need to eat and drink every hour and be sure to stick to it. It will pay off on the final miles of the ride.
Start early (5:30am) dress lightly in the beginning try to keep from sweating and keep clothing dry for the first decent and the rest of the day. If the temperature gets above 70 drink whole bottles of water at the rest stops. Watch out for people passing on the descents and in the turns; bad things can happen quickly at high speeds. Enjoy tour saddle; it's going to be your point of reference for 9-10 hours.
If you're doing the Saturday ride, mentally prepare yourself for the slog from Idaho Springs to Loveland Ski Area. That's the hard part. Way worse than ANY of the summits.
Ride your ride...dont let your ego determine your pace.
Plan on wanting to bail at some point but you will make it. Plan on rain. You can do this!
Talk to someone who has done the ride before. The most surprising thing for me was the weather changes: hot on the climbs, very cold on descents, everything from snow to rain, to sleet.
Train for the distance. Look forward to riding with lots and lots of cyclists. Don't be intimidated: TBP is a long day but it is wonderfully supported, and almost all of the riders out there are having fun. If you are planning on doing the Double, the second day is quite challenging. The climb out of Vail is not trivial. Backside of Loveland Pass is formidable. And the climb out of Idaho springs has lots of car traffic and can be pretty warm. It is 200 miles into the weekend and by then your thorough preparation will pay off.
Take your time to enjoy the scenery and don't dwell on the distance or the elevation.
Ride as much as you can before the big day including lots of climbing rides. Then on the big day pace yourself.? It's a long day and most of all have fun.
This comes from one who does not like to carry anything: I recommend a light pack (e.g., Camel pack w/out water) for your extra clothes - it starts cool and can get very cold, hot, rainy, even snow - quick changes in temp and conditions can ruin the ride if you are not well-equipped.
When Team Evergreen says bring a rain jacket - it means bring a real rain jacket! Do not wear anything that indicates it is water resistant. Waterproof is the way to go. Go with either a plastic, $15.00 jackets or the over $120, breathable jackets. Anything in between is asking for hypothermia should it rain - which it normally does at some point.
Prepare for anything, rain, hail, wind and the greatest feeling of accomplishment !!!
Train well. Be mentally prepared for a long day in the saddle. Ride with a friend or friends who are compatible with your ability and with whom you enjoy riding. Appreciate the beauty.
Training your backside is almost as important as training your legs and lungs. On ride day, make sure and stand up often to give your posterior a break.
Be prepared, physically, mentally mechanically. This ride is bound to thrown something unexpected at a first timer, you gotta be ready to roll with it.
It is important that you do the necessary training. The better shape you come into the ride...the more fun the ride is.
ESP for low-landers like me, it's a long day at altitude so pace yourself, ride within your abilities.
Bring the appropriate cycling clothes. The conditions throughout the day can change drastically and being cold and wet makes for a miserable experience.
TRAIN a lot! Bring layers. Bring gels and gummys. Bring multiple water bottles. Practice changing tires. Mine went flat coming down Squaw!
Train for the eating as much as the riding. Get used to eating Clif bars, gels and trail mix!
Make sure you have a good bike fit- regardless of how 'awesome' (expensive) your ride is. Make the investment to get a professional bike fitting done (if you haven't already).
Make sure you know how to draft- you'll need it on the last 20 miles!
Start very slowly to prevent burnout. The first climb can fool the well prepared and rested rider! It is a bit of a slog passing from Georgetown to the base of Loveland. Once past Copper go for it because Vail pass going west is easy!
have your rain clothes,extra socks
Ride lots of hills, make sure you're ready for the altitude, and don't intimidated by the distance or elevation gain. It gets better once you're over Loveland Pass!
Don't be afraid of the Triple and don't give up. I saw many riders abandoning along the way. Also, start early - this ride takes time, but is worth it.
Prepare for an amazing time, and the challenge of your life. And, prepare for it. Train, train, and then train some more.
I brought mandatory rain gear (that didn't fit) and tossed it at the top of the first climb. What a mistake. Respect the mountain weather, or pay the price.
Fuel your body! Eat often, even if it's only a little bit. Avoid bonking at all costs. Put your head down and just move your legs. :)
Come prepared. 7-10+ hours in the saddle can be miserable if you're not ready. Training and preparation before the day of the ride are crucial. Hydrate the night before. During the ride, find your rhythm and stick to it. Meet up with friends at rest stops or the top of the passes. Don't linger too long at rest stops - especially Loveland - your legs will tighten up. Fill up, eat, use the can and go. Use all your gears. Don't let your ego prevent you from using your granny gear if you really need it. Don't mash it. Using an easier gear may yield a faster time. Try to climb with a cadence of at least 75rpm. Have fun, make friends. Talk to people you come in contact with. Share your experiences and encourage one another.
Ride your own pace. Don't overdue it from Idaho Springs to Loveland Pass.
Be careful entering and negotiating the crowed round-a-bouts in Vail and Avon. They can be chaotic. They are open to traffic and dangerous.
Go into it with the intent to have fun! Also, don't beat yourself up if you don't finish. After I summited Loveland Pass it began to downpour. My friend and I made the decision to stop in Keystone as it was no longer fun or safe. No sense risking injury (or life) to complete it in those conditions (and summiting two out of three passes is still admirable)>
Thank the volunteers along the way for helping to make the experience possible.
Most importantly, don't be "that guy." Stay to the right, leave room for people to pass, don't cross the yellow line and ride predictably for you're own safety and the safety of those around you.
In general preparation is needed. Prepare from 5 perspectives: fitness, nutrition, weather, and self-awareness. It's obvious that you need to be strong to do this ride. Get in 5 or 10 rides that have over 5000 feet of climbing and over 50 miles each. Make sure you eat and drink a lot. A high amount of foods that are easy to digest and plenty of water and/or electrolyte drink is extremely important. Don't worry about over drinking: there are rest stops. The weather rolls in quickly, often upon arriving at Copper (Saturday) or Loveland Pass (Sunday). Ensure that you have a scull cap, a light rain jacket, and full-fingered gloves. In the rain, you need to be tough as it won't be comfortable. You just need to make sure you're safe from hypothermia when e.g., you're descending Vail Pass in 40 degree rain for 25 miles. Minimal effort + wind + rain = bone chill. Basically, get experienced riding the passes before your big day. Be self-aware in all aspects. Know your bike. Know what your seat height should be, what your tire pressure is, how much food you'll need to get you to the next aid station, and your exertion level. But what about the 5th perspective? Right: have fun. This is not torture. This is not your job. This is your opportunity to explore Colorado with pals and strangers. Make the best of it and have fun.
Get a good night of sleep on Thursday night, cause you won't sleep as well Friday night due to anticipation. START out SLOW, you have all day and it gets warmer as your energy levels are going down. Chew solid food until it is mushy before swallowing with fluids. Expect a headwind on the last 20 miles coming down off Vail Pass.
What nobody tells you is the hardest part is from Idaho Springs to Loveland Ski Area. The mountain passes are a breeze if you've trained right. Once you hit Loveland Ski Area, you're done with 50% of the miles and 80% of the effort required to finish. Keep going!
I was given this advice by an older fellow (about 70 yrs old). He said, "don't let your excitement cause you to go too hard on Squaw Pass. Train well, take it easy on Squaw, and you'll make it". I followed that advice on the 5 Triples I've done, and it worked.