13 July 2010

He dared!

For Those Who DareI think I should write a song. "I'll be your SAG, I'll carry your rag, I'll not let you lag, another Triple in the bag..."

pre-dawn startLast year, The Lizard was off his bike for six weeks due to a training-related injury. The previous year, he'd pre-rode the entire Triple Bypass course twice before the actual event. Last year, he barely got to ride before doing "The Big One."

Training this year was going so well. He pulled in some massively impressive times during Ride the Rockies. He was in the best shape of his life.

And then, suddenly, during a single mountain pass training ride, he pulled a muscle again. A week before the Triple. Seven days. Seven nights.

We didn't know if he would be able to ride. Triple Trepidation.

Then just like me the day after my hardest ride ever last month, The Lizard got up at 3 a.m. Saturday morning and 90 minutes later was on his bike, as if on auto pilot, pedaling off into the darkness, pretty much alone.

His annual goal is to complete the 120-mile course with 10,000 feet of altitude gain in eight hours or less. Last year, he'd been back on the bike only three weeks when he rode the Triple Bypass, and his longest training ride had been about 40 miles. He completed the ride in eight hours and 36 seconds. And... he finished!

TBP SunriseThis year, he finished in seven hours and 58 minutes. Mission: Accomplished!

After overtaking the only two riders on Juniper Pass who departed before him, he led the "Ride That Is NOT A Race" for the first two or so hours. Atop Vail Pass, he was tired but in third. Less than an hour later, he was ninth to cross the finish line (because he stopped on the final descent to pocket his arm warmers).

Hair-raising I-70It's not a race. All the racers will tell you that. Yet every single rider who came in before The Lizard basked in individual placement. One guy's tiny little kids, after loudly cheering and cowbelling him across the finish line, ran around the park gleefully announcing he was "THIRD!!! Our daddy was THIRD in his hardest, longest and most mountains race EVER!"

It's not a race. It really, truly isn't. But the pride these guys take in their finishing times AND places, to me, tells me without a doubt, this is so much more than just a "race."

Battle of the InterstateThe biggest thing, of course, is that many of the 3,500 riders ride the entire 120 miles and DO cross that finish line. I cannot do 120 miles in a day. I can't even do 100 miles in a day. But 3,500 people do this ride every year, and about that many get shut out when registration closes because the allowed number of riders have already registered. Online registration for this year's ride closed in a record 38 minutes. There has been talk about creating a second-day ride, reversing the course the second day, so more people can participate.

Yes, you guessed it. The Lizard, animal that he is, wants to do BOTH days if that ever happens!

I'm a Graham Watson WannabeThese riders are simply amazing. The amount of training and dedication that goes into preparing for an event like this is enormous.

I drive ahead of The Lizard each year to get shots of him at strategic locations (without endangering riders) and to make sure he has ample food and water. Each year, he asks if I am bored and thanks me for doing what I do.

I can't imagine spending the second Saturday in July any other way.

Lizard, thanks for allowing me to feel a portion of the thrill. Thank you for letting me experience the Triple through your eyes and heart!Must be Love!!!

12 comments :

  1. Wow, I feel like I've been there (gasp) with your great story and images. But the Lizard needs a new name. How about the "SS Intrepid"?

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  2. Congrats to the Lizard for completing the triple bypass. And good for you for being such a great support for him!

    PS Tetons and Y-stone aren't til next week, and I can't wait.

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  3. Three cheers for Lizard. (How did he get that name?) What a great inspirational story. Now... does he, or do the two of you, ride Latoja? If so, please let me know. I'll come cheer you on!

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  4. Patty, he is SO going to love that! I may have to go back and change all The Lizard to SS Intrepid!!!

    Kate, the name came with the man. I think his co-workers before we began dating came up with that moniker because he liked red rock. Still does, for that matter...

    I've never heard of the Latoja... Now I have to go do some research!!!

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  5. What a great accomplishment by Lizard!

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  6. This.Is.Awesome.

    Lizard Rules. The End.

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  7. I am sitting here sweating in the heat and moisture. Thinking of biking ............oh, no.

    We had a really strong wind today. And warning for thunderstorms. And what did we get? One thunder and 5 min rain. Then it stoped again. And we could use some.
    Firefighter equipment does not soudn so bad. :)

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  8. Nice write-up Snowcatcher!

    Thanks everyone!

    SS Intrepid has a ring to it. I hit the half-century mark next year and I'm toying with some once in a lifetime activities to accompany the shock. SS Intrepid might just help.

    Indeed, I received the nickname Lizard from coworkers in the construction industry. Years ago, during winter months, I'd hike cliff lined sandstone canyons on days off. Usually, by late February, even though it was still below freezing, layers of clothes could be shed and afternoon warmth absorbed directly from sandstone perches (Wingate sandstone seemed to have the best thermal properties). I allowed my coworkers to get wind of this activity. They tended to be enjoying sports channels and couldn't quite understand my logic, although they accepted it via a nickname.

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  9. Wow, that is *awesome*. Way to go Lizard and way to support crew! I love stories like this one.

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  10. So impressive! I would love to venture out like that!

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