Monday, August 13

The Leadville Chronicles: Things I Learned

This is not my official write up. I'm working on finding the right words, the right way to convey an experience that I don't think can be conveyed with words, and I hope to have it to you, Dear Readers, by the end of this week.

I'm throwing this up on the alley wall of the internet just to share some snippets, some quips, some peek at what is to come.

For now, please be satisfied with this simple list of things I learned in no particular order:

Sleep in a bed the night before a big race.
Get good sleep the two nights before that.
Just because a food works well on the bike doesn't mean you shouldn't eat other things.
Powerbar fruit chews start out good, but after a few dozen will they'll sit in your stomach and do nothing for you. 
Watermelon is more amazing at 12,570 feet.
Eat perfectly the week before the big race.
Eat well the day before the race no matter how hectic things are.
Keep things simple.
No hydration pack.
Train core, upper body and intense cardio.
Train for steep, loose climbs on the bike.
Train to stay clipped in on ascents and descent.
Never stop pushing, stay aerobic, never go anaerobic.
Stay positive.
Have fun.
Don't get stuck on a slower rider's wheel.
Pass when you can.
Don't change the plan if its a good plan.
Don't have family meet you where the hurt is deepest.
Cramps suck. Salt is good.
Powerline is a beast. Columbine is a monster. I can descend both of them much faster than I believed sane. 
There is no shame in walking. 
Skinny people don't always bike faster than you.
It's not about the bike. My Cannondale hardtail passed a lot of more expensive and lighter bikes.
You can make friends with a race number. Names are secondary, but nice. You'll find out their name when you peruse the race results later.
Less than half the field finished at all.
The most beautiful scenery is the faces you recognize at the aid stations.

Some things I said to myself or others:

You have so much farther to dig at the top of Columbine than you do when you're lower...
Did Lance ride this? (random steep sections)
Can I borrow your stoker? (tandem)
Hey, no fair, you have another guy helping you! (tandem)
No whammies! No whammies! Big money! (on every hard descent, my mantra to keep away flats)
I'm feeling a pedestrian moment coming on. (Getting ready to walk on Columbine)
I'm pedestrian but ambulatory. (further up Columbine)
Gracie, you're my hero! (to Gracie Ragland on Columbine)
Out for a bike ride with 3,000+ of my newest friends.
Is this all you got?! (heading up Columbine)
Keep digging! (to other riders walking up Columbine)
I'll trade you this bike for your chair. (to a spectator)
Hey, has anyone seen my granny gear? I think it fell off. (to no one in particular)
Are you drafting me? (to a single speed rider as we both walked Columbine and Powerline)
Hey, I'm drafting you! (to the same single speed rider in a different place on Powerline as we walked)
Thank you so much for all your hard work! (to every volunteer I could)
I'm still digging.
I found the bottom.

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