Friday, August 15, 2014

Leadville 100 2014 -- Part 1

The Year Prior

Most anyone reading this knows I got my Leadville buckle in 2013.  Life goal accomplished.  Trail and shop cred earned for many a year to come.  Most of you also know I'm just a little obsessed with the whole thing, so going back for year 2 was never really a discussion.  It was really just a matter of how fast I was going to go.  By the time I got back from iceman I was thinking about a new bike.  Hardtail for sure.  Carbon of course.  I was pretty sure I was going to get a Trek Superfly, but ended up with a Giant XTC SL1 thanks to some good friends.  

Sirina told him to look after me

The monetary investment made, I started to work on myself.  I gained some strength, increased my 90 second power output average to the 475W range, and dropped some weight.  I changed the nutrition plan all around to become a fat burning machine.  I turned down the intensity of the long rides, and put in base miles and miles and miles.  Saturday and Sunday mornings were all about 4am alarms, and 4:45 departs, always trying to get home before the girls were out of their pyjamas. 

One of the hardest parts of Leadville is getting in the race.  Demand far exceeds supply...I managed to not get in via the lottery, wrote and essay, and got myself into the race by committing to wear a Lifetime Fitness kit.  I like Lifetime, but at Leadville, I'd rather be seen in a kit from here or here or even here.

View from the Farrett's House
I had kind of a miserable 3 weeks of riding leading up to race day.  2 flats at the Tahoe Trail 100, and rides where I just did not feel myself.  1 long ride ended in my getting sick next to the house, another with me writhing in pain from dehydration cramps for hours after the ride.    

Hoping all my bad karma was spent in those three weeks, got myself loaded into the minivan, took the kids to their first day of school, and headed on up to Leadville.  AS with last year, the drive was amazing.  Scottsdale, Flagstaff, Monument Valley, Monticello, Moab, Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Minturn...and then Leadville.  Really, does the American West get more amazing?  No, not really.

My friend Randy was riding this year, and lets just say his week of acclimating and course previewing was interesting.  One does not usually recommend a 13 mile hike in cycling shoes the week of Leadville...but to each his own.

My favorite Leadville souvenier

Thursday night I went to Rebecca Rusch's book launch party.  Got a "Rusch to Glory" signed for the girls, and headed back to the house to await my crew.  We were staying at a house in Leadville this year, which made everything so much easier.  If you're thinking about doing Leadville, I highly recommend finding a way to stay in town...

Friday we got up early, connected with Randy and his crew Scott and Brian.  We headed out to the Twin Lakes aid station early, set up the pop up, dropped off chairs and water, and had the entire rest of the day to rest and get ready.  We were so much more organized and relaxed than last year, it was going to be totally awesome!

Rebecca Rusch sharing wisdom
The Friday fire up meeting was what it always is.  I have to say I'm a little worried about Ken....seemed to not have the oomph I had seen last year, or perhaps I'm just a jaded second timer.  Regardless, I got my Leadville love and began to feel really good, and really nervous for Saturday.  Somehow I managed to get to bed good and early Friday, and woke up at 4:30, having had nearly 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  This really was awesome.  How could anything go wrong on this glorious Colorado morning??

Race Plate

Heart Power from Anya, Anika, and Sirina

Start Lines and Tires

Purple corral.  That's why my 7:15 with 2 flats in Lake Tahoe had earned me.  I wish I was a little further up, perhaps lining up in Red next to the Queen of Pain and the Hammer and all those folks hoping to hop on the Pain Train and have one of the sport's most amazing riders pace them to a sub-9 finish.  But, siting just east of Harrison was where my times had landed me, and from there I would launch the 2014 campaign.  

Mom and Priya took the pics, I chatted with my fellow purple people, and we were all amazed at our luck with the weather.  Absolutely perfect.  Clear skies, no rain forecast, and just under 40 degrees to start.  About 10 minutes before the gun, as the ropes were dropped, and the corrals started to get crowded, I decided to pinch my tires and prove I was ready to go.  


My rear tire was soft.  Not super soft, but softer than I thought it should be.  I looked around quickly.  Did anyone have a floor pump?  No.  Should I whip out a CO2 and get some air in quick?  maybe.  Pull out the Mini pump?  Definitely no. I panicked four about 30 seconds, pinched the tire a few more times and decided just to go for it.  Kevens is super steep and loose, the Powerline descent could use a bike more set up for downhill than XC, and if I really needed to, I could pull over and get some air in quickly.  Certainly a better option than messing around with the bike with now barely 5 minutes to start...

National Anthem.  Splash of CarboRocket.  Shotgun blast and we're off!

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