Tuesday, August 7

The Leadville Chronicles: Leadville Dreams

Last night I woke from a vivid dream where I was 15 minutes away from the finish at 9 hours out. The course in my dream was more like cyclocross meets Wipeout. Racers had to climb loose cliffs, though, oddly, without their bikes. I was carrying a pair of jeans to wear after the race in my hydration pack, and my 9 year old son was doing the race on his 20" MTB but was far behind me. I asked someone to check on him. I kept trying to decide when it would be appropriate to ditch the jeans. At one point I realized I was riding in a vehicle away from an aid station and panicked. And that's when I woke up.

It was 4:30am. I couldn't fall back to sleep so I lay in bed in the predawn darkness making lists in my head and planning and logistifying.

The Big Unknowns loom: altitude, weather, unknown stuff, mechanical breakdowns, the behavior of other riders, crashes, mistakes, stupidity.

While my confidence is high, my reality detector is off the charts. What have I gotten myself into?

On my ride in his morning I had a dose of perspective. I remembered that I did 103 miles to 11,000' a week and a half ago in just under ten hours. As long as I can do the same on Saturday--with a tad more gain--and in at least twelve hours, a full two hours slower, then I got this in the bag.

Mentally I'm ready for weather. Whatchoo got Columbine? Hail? Snow? Icy rain? I eat that #%@! for breakfast. I've had commutes uglier than you.

Last Saturday I rode away from camp in a T-shirt and bike shorts in 40 degree temps. I don't think a 40 degree start in Leadville is going to faze me much. Like I said, I've had (many) worse commutes.

I can walk any hill on that course. And fast. I got this.

I've endured 35F whitewater trips, I did my share of Bataan Death Marches as a boy scout, I've hiked 28 miles in less than 24 hours, I've climbed 1,500' rock climbs, I've endured 8 hour days slinging lumber in 100 degree heat and done the same in subzero temps. I've worked through a few peak seasons at UPS. I've worked putting up hay and tobacco. I've endured foot deep snow on my bike commutes, solid ice, rain, wind, heat, hail and railroad tracks. I got this.

Leadville is cake.

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