"A bike is not a frame, wheels and a saddle. That's what a bike needs. What a bike is...is freedom." Anonymous.
Three mountain passes in blustery weather. Complications, miscommunication, injury...spilled blood. Mechanicals that would render the most tenacious cyclist pedestrian. Yet, four friends find themselves supporting each other, encouraging each other and celebrating achievements not only for themselves, but for the inner cyclist who understands that their training investment, pain and tenacity represent only a part of the journey. That we could share them with each other is the real reason we turn the pedals.
The Triple Bypass is one of Colorado's keynote cycling adventures. Bergen Park (Evergreen) to Avon - or Avon to Bergen Park - over three mountain passes. One hundred twenty miles of steep climbs, daunting descents and some of the prettiest terrain our state has to offer. Several thousand participate each year.
It's not about the bike. It's not even about coming face-to-face with a rider's limitations (of which I have many). This year, it was about four of us who accepted a challenge far more daunting than simply riding a bike.
We accepted the challenge of friendship, in all of its glorious permutations.
Well done, Wil, Jeromy and Alicia.
Update: Alicia proudly displayed her Triple finisher medal when she arrived back in Vail. A short length of bike chain around a circular, poker-chip-sized keepsake suspended on a red ribbon - beautiful. We offered her congratulations and fussed over the award. Of course, I had not ridden to the finish line so I was empty handed.
Wednesday (which is my Monday) I arrived at work, sat in my cubicle and prepared to face the day. A work partner stopped by with a few notes of local color and said - "Oh, that's a nice medal. You finished!" Someone had left a Triple finisher ribbon dangling on my partition. Jeromy, it turns out, had picked up two and decided to give me one of them.
One cannot buy kindness like that for money.