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Original Issue

Hard Ride Over a High Road

About the time Jim Ryun reactivated his famous wheels in California, a dozen other U.S. Olympic hopefuls were testing their own in a two-stage, 230-mile Journey through the towering Colorado Rockies in a tortuous grind called the Aspen Alpine Cup. Across the mountain meadows, past oldtime silver strike ghost towns, twice over the Continental Divide they went—each on a bicycle that weighed less than 20 pounds. And when it was over, the best riders from 11 states had proved something—perhaps that, after the mountains, the Olympic trials should be easy by comparison. First at the top of 12,095-foot Independence Pass (left), was champion road racer Bob Parsons, but the winner on overall time was a lean, long-haired 20-year-old from Berkeley. Dave Brink, previously a track man and now considered a double-threat possibility for Mexico.

All cross-country cyclists fuel up on high carbohydrate food en route—with special pouches full of bananas and water bottles for the road.

After 105 miles of pedaling, gaunt John Hood—several pounds lighter than when he started—lies exhausted at the end of the first stage.

Rugged winner Dave Brink will try the Olympics next.