By MATT KOESTERS
Cycling is big business in northern Colorado. The sport generates millions in tourism dollars in the area thanks to the challenging altitudes and scenic trails. Estes Park has served as host to numerous professional cycling events, and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will find its way to the Colorado town in August. By all accounts it’s a true test of a cyclist’s aptitude.
But it wasn’t too much for Bill Yarbrough, of Jeffersonville, who made the trip to Colorado last year to experience the challenge. Yarbrough is a cycling enthusiast, and regularly plans trips to Flagstaff, Ariz.
“It just has so many different areas to ride, the most different types of terrain,” says Yarbrough.
And he’s 68.
The retired asbestos-removal contractor is still rolling two to three times per week, in between regular trips to Louisville Athletic Club in Clarksville. Yarbrough spends his winters at the gym, alternating between training on the exercise machines and dates on the racquetball court. But the summer months are spent on two wheels.
Yarbrough’s day typically begins with waking up at 7 a.m. He’s on to his planned workout by 9. “It means I can get out and do things without being out of breath or tired,” says Yarbrough. “I can get up in the morning and do things and not worry about, am I going to make it through the day? Am I going to be too tired? Am I going to wear out halfway through? It makes me feel good, and I look forward to my routine, working out or riding my bike.”
Yarbrough’s routine alternates weekly, with three days at the gym and two on the road one week, and vice versa the next. When he’s in Indiana, Yarbrough likes taking on Frontage Road near the former Indiana Army Ammunition Plant and Charlestown State Park. But he doesn’t confine himself to this side of the river, naming parks in Louisville as some other favorite bike sites. As spring blossoms, so does Yarbrough’s time on the trail.
“I enjoy Cherokee and Seneca Park. I like Waverly and the local areas,” Yarbrough says. “I try to break it up between those areas.”
While the gym routine usually takes about 90 minutes to complete, the bike time can vary as he works his way back into season. He tends to follow his own advice for others who are thinking about getting started.
“I started out kind of slow and built up gradually,” Yarbrough says. “That way, you don’t get burnt out. Try to go somewhere where you enjoy it, where it’s not drudgery — trudge, trudge, all the time. It’s something you enjoy.”
When we talked to Yarbrough, he was gearing up for a trip with some friends to Sedona, Ariz. The Jeffersonville retiree says he’s been invited to accompany a friend to take on Pikes Peak in Colorado, but he wonders if the 15,000-foot elevation might be too tall of a test.
“I’m going to go with him, but I don’t think I’m going to have the oomph to do Pikes Peak,” Yarbrough says.
But if that’s the only challenge that gets a pass from Yarbrough, that’s not too bad. Yarbrough doesn’t always work out alone, and while he says that he works out with people roughly in the same age group, he names local triathlete and Iron Man competitor Paul Layton as one of his regular workout partners. Layton, 44, meets with Yarbrough during the colder months for racquetball at LAC.
“He may not go out and do everything as quick and as fast, but he goes out there and plays racquetball with us, with people 20 years younger, and stays right with us,” Layton says.
Layton attributes Yarbrough’s health to his active lifestyle.
“I hope I’m in that good of shape when I’m his age,” Layton says.