Friday, June 21

Ram My Speed Friday: The Leadville Saga Edition

I need a Corona.  No, not a beer!  Just because I’m a mountain biker does not mean I like beer.  Get that out of your thick skull.  I’m kind of tired of seeing beer-related articles as swag and incorporated into the awards portion of all cycling races.  I think maybe that’s why I never got into racing…not interested in beer.
No, I need a Corona Pass-type experience this summer.  That I rode 101 miles in under 10 hours was amazing.  That ride gave me the confidence I needed to go at Leadville.  I understood that my 50 miles up and 50 mile down wasn’t exactly the same as Leadville’s St. Kevin’s – Sugarloaf – Columbine – Powerline – Turquoise Lake – Avenue climbing sequence.  But I still climbed to well over 11,000 feet from 5,400 feet and returned covering 101 miles in less than 10 hours.

12 hours to do the Leadville 100?  That would be loads too much.  And looking back I managed to maintain an 11 hour pace for 87 miles.  Corona gave me the fire in my belly to do that.  

Looking toward the Continental Divide from Tolland, CO

Rollins (Corona) Pass Road

I’ve been stressing.  I’ve been bemoaning my lack of big climbing opportunities.  My wife sent me the following email today:

I've been thinking about Leadville this morning and compiling a list of pros and cons for you. 

Lets start with the cons:
1. It's hard, like really hard. 
2.  It could be hot, cold, wet, snowy, dry, snake infested, dirty....well you get the picture
3.  Three words--AL TI TUDE
4. It's going to cost a lot of money. 
5. You've done 80+ miles of it already and seen the movies, what's left in the adventure?
6. It's only 49 days away. 

The pros:
1.  You can do it. 
2.  It's 49 days away. 
3.  You will get to be with 10,000 of your closest friends all day!
4.  Two words-- BELT BUCKLE
5.  We've already paid for it. 
6. Ken will be there to cheer you on. 
7.  Maryanne's hugs. 
8. Think of the blog post fodder from it all....
9. We can make the scene. 
10.  I'll volunteer as tribute!
11.  Drafting Lance and Dave. 
12.  Maybe Rebecca will [EDITED FOR CONTENT]!
13.  Or mine?
14.  The tattoo will look so cool on columbine mine.* 

So that's what I've go so far. Plan to ride as long and far as you need to tomorrow. You got this. 

I love you!

I hate to tell her, but there really aren’t that many snakes at altitude.  Al ti tude.  And I ain’t afeared uh no snakes anyhow.

Belt buckle.  Yeah.  [DEEP BREATH]  That did it.

I don’t have big climbs here in the muggy hollers of Eastern Kentucky.  I got something better.  I got the baddest, steepest, most hurtful @#$!ing hills anyone’s seen anywhere!  And I got a lot of ‘em.  

Tomorrow morning I’m gonna drag the Mozhican on a 55 mile Bataan Death Bike through the nastiest terrain you could ever imagine and I’m gonna come out scratched up, depleted of minerals, tired, hallucinating, and wearing the biggest grin you’ve ever seen.  

This afternoon on my lunch hour I hit Veteran’s Park for the first time since the end of April.  I rode about four times in April.  Today I improved my time over my slowest April run for the 3.5 mile VP Complete new Trail (Expert Counterclock) by a full 8 minutes.  I felt slow.  I wasn’t expecting any PRs.  I got two.  And some second bests.  I’ve improved.  

Lets do this.

Sunrise from the mouth of Coal Creek Canyon on
my way to Corona Pass
* To commemorate finishing the LT 100 last year I was going to get a tattoo of my Duchamp MTBer.  When I didn't finish I decided not to, but then after doing so well at the Alpine Odyssey Mandy and I agreed I had earned the art.  Still haven't sat down to let someone ink it.  The plan is to do that before Leadville this year.