Quick little backstory on me. I finally quit smoking after 20 years and got back on the bike. Once I was able to ride more than 7 miles without puking in random yards (Paul knows what I’m talking about) I started setting goals. First it was distances: 10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles and then 100. Once I was able to check those off I started wondering what was next. I set my sights on the mountains of Colorado. A friend that had moved out there a few years back recommended I look into a ride called the Copper Triangle.
Approx 78 miles, three mountain passes and altitude. It was very intimidating on paper. And when you live close to sea level training for altitude doesn’t seem realistic. I traveled to CO and arrived one week before the ride. I figured a couple of rides ahead of time should help prepare me for what’s to come. I stayed in Silverthorne, about 15 minutes from Copper Mountain where the ride begins, and found a great 25 mile loop close to the place I was staying. I was able to ride that twice during the week before the big ride.
The morning of the ride was pretty cold, in the low 40’s and rainy. I remember thinking to myself that I wished I had disc brakes. I was squeezing my levers pretty hard on some wet descents and still going 20-25 mph downhill. I made it over two of the three mountain passes as the weather turned out to be absolutely gorgeous. Once I hit the third pass in Vail, I started having pain in my knee that was only getting worse as I made my way up to the halfway point and aid station. Unfortunately that’s where I made my decision to turn around and go back down in order to catch the SAG wagon back. I made it about 62 miles total. Also my Garmin didn’t want to work. Luckily my watch was charged and ready to go. I have unfinished business with ride. I hope to be back soon.
Our favorite American cyclist is also one of our favorite cycling humorous side bets. Tejay Van Garderen is our favorite American cyclist because he has been the most successful American in the World Tour cycling in this decade. After Chris Horner’s flukish Vuelta victory and Talansky’s Dauphine upset, has there been any other American succeeding in the World Tour? Looking at the last three years, Tejay has had little American company in the World Tour:
But what Tejay has also provided is a reason to jest about him falling short. It started with his legendary attack up the double-climb of Alpe d’Huez in the 2013 Tour only to crack in the final kilometers and watch Christophe Riblon pass him by and take the glory. Then in the 2015 Criterium du Dauphine, you can’t fault him for finishing second to cycling hall of famer Chris Froome. But it hurts more when he’s wearing yellow on the last day and loses by only 10 seconds. Can you also fault him for not staying with Egan Bernal, our latest Tour winner? No, but again it happened while wearing the leader’s jersey in the Tour of California 2018. And then there were the abandons. Tejay had a prime podium position in the 2015 Tour only to abandon after the 2nd rest day. He also didn’t finish the Vuelta that year. The following Vuelta was another abandon after the 2nd rest day. I started making side-bets on whether TVG would even finish a race. Needless to say, I lost money this year when he neither finished the Tour nor the Vuelta.
Now entering this next decade, there is new hope that the U.S will have some success in the World Tour and a new rooting interest. Already broken onto the scene at this year’s Vuelta, Sepp Kuss (25) appears poised to learn from the best and at Jumbo Visma and get some incredibly valuable Grand Tour experience. Brandon McNulty (21) just placed well at the U23 world TT and is ramping up his pro career and should have plenty of opportunity at UAE. And budding talent Quinn Simmons (18) coming straight off of a junior World championship has been scooped up by Trek-Segafredo and will head straight to a pro career.
Let’s raise a glass to a new decade of cycling and a hope that these three cyclist will give us Americans a lot more to cheer about in the 20’s!