Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Winding Down

Now things get weird.  Yesterday was a rest day and a very welcomed rest day at that.  The past three weeks have taken their toll training-wise and I am a touch on the fatigued side.  Today is a light 45 minute to an hour MAF run but after that my training calendar looks much different than it has the past nine months.

Blank days.  Rest days and super short workouts to just get the blood pumping rides and runs are on there now.  It feels strange.

When I was 19 years old I spent eight months at Keesler AFB in tech school.  I remember the night before my last test for my last training block, July 23, 1987.  I sat at my desk in my room studying the schematics and tracing signals then said screw it.  If I didn't know what the hell I was doing after eight months of being in school studying this stuff six hours a day, day in and day out, no way in hell would a few more hours of studying save me one way or the other.  Off to the Airman's Club I went and met up with others who sort of came up with the same idea.  What was done was done.

That is sort of how I feel now I guess.  I had a long talk with Lucho this morning where we discussed planning, strategies and the execution of the next three races.  Just call it mission planning.  It's done.  Even the contingencies are covered.  There isn't a whole lot else that he can teach me or have me do at this point to sway my odds one way or the other except maybe just stress to me everyday between now and sometime on the morning of the 18th of August to not do something really stupid.

The crux of Leadman is right around the corner.  The next three races are the true test.  The battle that I have been in, the war of attrition against injury, burnout, and my other competitors for the past nine months all comes to an end in less than three weeks.  But I am confident.  Not cocky... Confident.  I had a defense attorney representing me once, and he assured me that he would be shrewd and cunning in my defense... that is how I plan to proceed the next three weeks.  Silent, smart, and unnoticeable until the end and just like I surprised those five guys on the Monarch Crest Trail last weekend, I intend to move up in the Leadman overall standings and have another bunch of folks ask, "Where did YOU come from?"

Getting my diet on point for the next three weeks.  Strict to moderately strict Paleo of course.  Threw out all of my Gummi Bears and mini Snickers bars on Sunday.  Just cleaning it up till it is all over.  My weight is in a good place right now and I expect it to only get better between now and leading up to my weigh in on the 15th or 16th.

The Trek got a major tune up yesterday and it is parked pretty much until the 100 MTB race.  The rear hub was loose and the bottom bracket had to be replaced.  It is clean, shiny, lubed and race ready now.  It took a lot of abuse during the 50 ride, a nasty two hour rain/mud ride two weeks ago and then the Monarch Crest Trail this weekend.  It really needed some TLC. I will ride the Cannondale this weekend up in Leadville which will be a treat since I have not ridden that bike in nearly a month I think.

I plan to ride Columbine up and down on Saturday morning then run from Mayqueen to the finish later Saturday night.  Sunday will be off, another rest day, and we will head home early. That's the plan for the next few days.  Nothing epic, nothing daunting... just resting.

And I have to say I am looking forward to the rest.  After that super long day in the Sangre's two weeks ago, I was running a 20 miler here in the Springs the day after that (Basically to Inteman to Manitou from my house) and about mile ten I was bitching to myself about just how tired I was of running tired all of the time. It is that fatigue that has been a constant the past weeks, months, etc... that I look forward to dropping and then re-energizing the next several days.

So... there ya have it.  Now to be patient.  LOL!

I still love the satellite radio in the Jeep.  Got to hear the great one yesterday while driving.  It definitely illustrates the worldwide politics of the period.  And hey... it's just fun to listen to!

Lastly, I have a joke... might piss some folks off but here it goes... How do you know when someone from Team Salomon is going to win a race?

They show up.  :)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Monarch Crest Trail

I really don't recall where I got the idea this past winter/spring to ride the Monarch Crest Trail but it definitely became a "must do" for the summer.  If I had to guess I found a video on it on YouTube while digging for LT100 MTB racer videos earlier in the year.  At any rate it was something that I wanted to do and was able to fit into the training schedule this past weekend.

I decided to not do the Shuttle Option for a few reasons.  Scheduling for one and well, it just didn't fit in with the plan that I was hatching.

We stayed in Monarch over the weekend and I left from there early on Friday morning riding up the 5.5 miles to the Monarch Pass Summit where I caught the Monarch Crest Trail (Continental Divide Trail) headed south.

While the ride up the pass was a chore once I got on the single track the fun started and really didn't stop.  I still had about an hour of uphill gain once I hit the single track but there were enough rollers here and there to provide a nice break every so often.

One of the first great views in the morning.  Looking northward towards Monarch Pass.  The single track is clearly visible.

From the same spot on the top of the crest looking south.  Super trail.
After two hours of riding the fun really started as the trail began to drop in elevation.  I had a great surprise (and ego boost) while after six miles on the trail I caught up with a group of guys who I had seen trailer their bikes to the summit.  First they asked where I came from quite surprised then they realized that it was me they passed as they were driving up the pass and I was riding up.

After passing them the trail just kept on going and getting better.  At one point I felt like I was riding on a carpet as the single track trail was just super smooth dirt but sooner than I was anticipating I found myself on a double track jeep road which was still fun but still not quite the same.

The way the trail drops and turns it is hard to visualize exactly where you are if you had studied the maps.  I was flying down the dirt road and saw what I thought was a gravel road and parking lot through the trees a bit.  I had already done the first ten miles of the trail and was at Marshall Pass Road way before I was expecting to get there.

  Marshall Pass.  The ride is going by way faster than expected.  Just a little pitch left until The Silver Creek descent.
After Marshall Pass the road and single track both started to gain altitude again.  It was steep but not that long and then before I knew it I was at the Silver Creek trail and my last big drop of the day.

Silver Creek Trail.  You can still see how great the trail is.

Riding down Silver Creek was probably the most technical and challenging part of the day.  I had a spill lower down as I went across a bunch of exposed roots and the bike sort of slid out from under me and I couldn't get my cleat free quick enough.  A little rash on my left leg and knee was the extent of the damage fortunately.  Nothing major but after that I decided to be a little more careful.  Towards the bottom the trail crosses an old mining area and you are riding across nothing but talus and scree and for me it was just a little too sketchy to ride so I walked the bike a little bit through that section.

A video that I found before my ride of some guys going down Silver Creek.

Soon enough the trail turned into a stream for lack of a better description but it was a blast to ride down and in until the jeep road, CR 202.

The dirt road to 285 was longer than I was expecting but it was fun to ride as I was able to just spin in my highest gear and move.  Once on 285 the ride, at least the fun parts were over.  It was time to go back to work and do some training riding.  As soon as I hit highway 50 again in Poncha Springs I had 13 miles of up and a couple thousand feet of elevation to gain.  My goal was to ride it as smoothly as possible, keep my heart-rate at MAF and just finish the ride.

In the end I had a great ride.  50.02 miles, 8084 feet of elevation gain and I was out for a total of six hours and twenty minutes.  It was a great ride and a huge confidence builder two weeks before the LT100 MTB.

All I can say is that if you are a mountain biker I highly recommend this ride if you ever get the chance.  I also recommend setting up a shuttle option wither with High Valley Bike shuttle or do it yourself.  The extra riding on 50 just isn't necessary unless you are really training for something.  The trail itself for me was perfect.  It challenged me all day and really pushed my technical skills but it never got to the point where the I got stressed out and the ride stopped being fun.

The rest of the weekend was running... the final touches in training I guess.  Saturday was a short but steep run in the mountains above Monarch.  Sunday was a sixteen mile run broken up into four segments, four miles at MAF, three miles in zone four, six miles again at MAF then another three miles in zone four.  A tough run but intense.

I guess now is the time to taper and rest?   Wow... Walking Asia tonight I was thinking and trying to believe or conceptualize that in three weeks my quest for Leadman will be settled one way or the other but I have to be honest, I can almost feel that trophy in my hands now.  Nothing to do now but play it out.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

How To Run The Leadville Trail 100 by Andy Wooten

Me coming into Twin Lakes in 2009.  I was DONE.  I made Twin in 9:06 and my DNF was pretty much sealed at that point  as I dropped at the bottom of Sheep Gulch, involuntarily.
I am not the best clearing house for information on this subject but with one DNF from 2009, and three actual finishes, 2010-2012 I have picked up some hints, tips and concepts that I think are crucial for making it through the 30 hour window and getting the buckle and I truly hope this helps others. If the lucks' there and winds right, maybe I have learned enough to even go under 25 this year but that's a whole 'nother discussion. 

1.  Preparation... You have to have trained.  The sweet spot for me (YMMV) seems to be if I can get in about 2000+ miles between January and the race in August I can go in feeling pretty strong.  Of course not all of those miles look the same.  You can hit that number by running ten miles a day for the year but you would not be in ultra shape.  You would just be good at running ten miles a day.  For me the key has always been in the "money runs."  Long days on weekends back to back in a 30-20 mile format or so.  I love to run twenty milers because they keep my mind sharp and I learn how to mentally get myself through that time and distance but 30 milers are my staple most years with the benefit coming in the last ten miles after you have run 20 and are tired.

It never hurts to throw in some 50 mile runs during the summer as long as you can recover.  There are plenty of good races, Jemez, San Juan, Leadville Silver Rush, just to name a few.

Caution on the side of going to the line slightly under-trained (emphasis on sightly) rather than tired, over trained and or injured.  The taper and rest before the race  can be just as valuable if not more than the months of training previous.

2.  Know the course.  Know the course.  Know the course... when I ran the race and DNF'd in 2009 I had never even set foot on the LT100 course, EVER!  Study the maps and elevation profiles all you want but it will never replicate or take the place of time spent on your feet on the course.  In my 2009 experience I had no ideas really where we were going through the darkness and I can tell you that when he hit the first little up on the power line cut by Turquoise Lakes, I was in shock as I was not expecting anything like that so soon. 

Learn the course...  I think time is best spent running from town to MQ and back than going over Hope Pass any day.  If you can climb a 14'r or have climbed a 14'r and are in decent shape, Hope Pass is not the obstacle that everyone thinks it is.  I think too much emphasis is placed on Hope Pass just out of fear... folks, it is only 12,600 or so.  Yeah it is high but it is not Handies Peak which you have to cross in Hardrock.  12,600 isn't even that far above treeline. 

Running around TQ lake is time best spent because you learn where you can push it, or not, on the outbound and how to get through it on the inbound.  Bonus points for running from MQ to town in the dark and when you are tired.

The next section which I suggest to really get your brain around is the stretch from Twin to Pipeline.  As much as people overemphasize Hope Pass, I think WAY too many minimize and gloss over the four mile climb out of Twin on the inbound and I have seen many people dying in that part every time I have run it.  In the LT100, the game doesn't start to mile sixty... those next four miles up will always test your fitness, fatigue and willingness to finish. 

3.  Hydration and fueling.  You can't finish Leadville without a solid plan and execution.  In my 2009 DNF I had a plan somewhat, but no real execution of the plan and that played into my demise that day.  In 2010 I learned how to stay hydrated, fueled and how to keep my electrolytes in balance and that formula I still follow on every long run and long race.  Find out how may calories and hour you need, maybe 250-300, and or how many grams of carbs as others prefer to view it and drink/consume every 15 minutes.  For me, I drink 5 oz every 15 minutes and the top of the hour is a picnic (okay that is how I frame it) where I get to have a gel and a bite to eat.  This 15 minute/hourly cycle goes throughout the whole race from start to finish.

Don't leave hydration and fueling to chance.  Enough said.

4.  Don't push it too soon.  After a long taper and then throw in the excitement, is is really easy to run to MQ way too fast.  I think my goal is around 2:05 - 2:15 usually, somewhere in there.  Run from MQ to the third bridge on the Colorado Trail but then hike that uphill to Haggerman Road. If anyone passes you in that section let them go.  It is a 12 minute hike that's it.  Just settle in and do it.  Take it easy on the road up Sugarloaf.  That is where I think I really sunk myself in 2009.  But also don't try to make up time running down the Power Line side.  If you go out too fast too soon, you will probably run a great Marathon time from the Start to Fish but then after that your day will be come undone.

My goal is this... I hope to always make Twin Lakes on the outbound with a smile on my face and with my sense of humor intact (well as much as it can be after running 40 miles.)  I figure if I can do that I have kept it together and my chances of finishing have increased exponentially.  When I got to Twin Lakes in 2009, I just wanted my friends to put a bullet in my head then and there.  I was NOT happy.

5.  Don't be stupid.  Don't try to make up April's lost mileage in July.  Once within the four week window of race day I always stress the importance of risk mitigation.  I will walk over sketchy parts of a trail and then start running again instead of risking blowing an ankle out.  I will stay off of iffy terrain as much as possible.  The closer you get to race day, the more you have to be diligent in protecting the months and miles and fitness that you have so carefully accumulated.  Just rest and be safe those last few to couple of weeks.

And to each their own but don't be one those folks who tries to go out and bag a double crossing of Hope Pass two days before race day.  1.  You will not derive ANY measurable benefit in your oxygen carrying capacity by doing that and 2.  Risk... the south slope is a good place to twist and ankle, fall or otherwise get injured.  Sit in town, drink a beer, study a map, read a book and keep your feet up. This will provide as much if not more benefit than going out and hammering Hope Pass. 

6.  Start off light!  I often see way too many people at 6th and Harrison looking like they are ready to do a through hike of the Appalachian Trail rather than just run 13 miles to MQ or 24 miles to Fish where they can restock at either location.  Don't take more than you need to.  You can lose two seconds per mile per pound of junk carried and over 100 miles that really adds up.  With aid stations so close together and with the other crew access points carrying anything more than needed for 3-4 hours is a waste.  Last year I ran the first 24 with two water bottles, a handful of gels, my sunglasses, and headlamp and I used the Nathan minimal vest, the one that you can't put a bladder in.  For the rest of the race I just try to get by with a small fanny pack and handhelds except for crossing hope, I will take the Nathan HPL 2.0 across with full bladder so I can drink a lot on the way up.

7.  Train your crew.  Ensure your crew knows where to meet you at all stops.  Make sure you know where your crew is going to be at all stops.  Be prepared to improvise if you blow past your crew at some point, it does happen.  Help your crew by having everything sorted out in baggies for each handoff.  We have it down to pretty much Melissa or Annie hands me a baggie with a handfull of gels, electrolyte caps, and maybe a packet or two of drink mix and two fresh bottles at each checkpoint.  I hand them my trash which I have already consolidated into the baggie handed to me from the last stop.  They should now exactly which to hand to you at each stop. Number the bags, or put codes on them but take out the guesswork.

Sometimes it is smart to tell your crew to make sure you do stop to do certain things.  If your feet need care, tape them, put on more sunblock, more anti-chaffing stuff, whatever.  Forgetting Sports Shield at mile 24 when are starting to need it can make things really tender come mile 40 and 50 and it will only get less comfortable as things wear on.

Try to not stop as much as possible at aid stations.  You can lose a lot of time very quickly if not careful.  Even if you walk through, it will be way more efficient than stopping to sit, eat a handful pf pretzels, M&M's, a sandwich, and 20 cups of coke.  In a way I view aid stations the same way I view sand traps on a golf course.  They both provide great opportunities to get stuck.

8.  Take good care of yourself.  A blister in a 10k can suck.  A blister in a 100 miler and you can lose a foot.  Okay that is an overly dramatic example but it is not that far off.  Take rocks out of your shoes.  Learn how to tape your feet especially if you are blister prone before the race and have a plan to replace tape at some point in the race.  When I DNF'd my feet were trashed.  Hell, when I finished in 2010 they were destroyed but last year, due to having good shoes, socks and taping my feet before the start and again at Twin Lakes on the inbound I only ended up with one small blister and that could have been prevented if I took an extra minute to to redo that spot when I did the others.

9.  Things change... the weather will change, the course can change last minute, something is going to hurt... regardless keep in mind that it is all TEMPORARY!  If your knee hurts go with it.  Soon enough your foot or feet will hurt enough that you forget about the knee.  Just be prepared to ride everything out.  Be patient when things suck and extra grateful when they are going well.  Your mood will cycle up and down and up and down... feel it.  That is all it is, a feeling and that is temporary like everything else.  Practice whatever mental Jedi tricks you need to get out of it if you find yourself stuck.  I like to recite in my brain everything that I am grateful for that day or hell, just echo Ken Chlouber's "I commit, I will not quit!" a gazillion times until you believe it and are on even keel again.  Whatever it takes.  Just know that in a blink of an eye it will all be over.

10.  Relax and have fun!  Simple enough.  Enjoy the course, enjoy talking to people when you can, enjoy the support and cheers of people along the course.  Smile as much as you can.  Be happy!  You have trained for hundreds and hundreds of hours to get to this point.  Don't make the mistake of not enjoying the minimal 30 hours or less it will take to finish the course.  Say thank you...  A LOT!  Thank your crew, volunteers, traffic control officers, everyone.  Be thankful that you can be out there and be extra thankful that they are out there for you!  Many people can only dream of what you are attempting.  Honor that.  Just keep smiling, even if you don't want to.  It will help.

100 miles is tough.  It is a lot of ground to cover in a given time.  Things can and will happen that you could not foresee in training or even from finishing other 100 mile races.  But isn't that what makes the 100 mile game so fun?  It's a puzzle as much as a race and you aren't even in the game until mile 60 or so when the fun really starts.  The race to me has always been about the last 40 miles... just stay intact until mile 60.

But what if things go bad or something spirals downwards until there is no other option than to drop?  Do it if you have too and yeah it will sting quite a bit getting a DNF but I can guarantee almost 100% that if you do DNF the lessons learned if applied in the future will be way more beneficial than not.  If I didn't get my ass kicked so bad in 2009, I would have never learned as much as I needed to in order to finish in 2010. 

Lastly... run one mile at a time.  Only look at it as one aid station at a time.  If you try to think of running 100 miles the entire time it is going to be way more difficult than it needs to be.  Like eating an elephant... one bite at a time... Don't allow yourself to become overwhelmed.

So.. there you have it... about everything I can share on the subject.  I know that different things work for many other people and that is great.  I don't think one way or method ever outshines another as long as each is successful.

Three weeks and four days to go...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Big Weekend

This past weekend ended up being quite the weekend with a lot of different things going on but two large back to back runs were the primary focus on the weekend.  Everything else will just have to sort itself out in it's own time.

Saturday's route.
Anyway... Saturday I drove down to Alvarado Campground just southwest of Westcliffe and I ran the Venable-Comanche loop, 2.3 times... This was a favorite place for me back in the 90's and I used to backpack there on weekends and fish.  I laughed as I remembered that in 1993 it would take us three days to do the whole loop.  I did two loops last weekend (including goofing off time) in eight hours and thirty minutes which is really cool since I am 20 years older.  

The trail up Venable is relentless.  It starts going up the moment you leave the parking lot and it doesn't let up until you are six miles and top out at 12,800 after traversing the Phantom Terrace.  Phantom terrace did two things to me on Saturday.  It reminded me that I am still not comfortable with long drops and exposure anymore and after going across it twice I was dead certain I didn't have the balls for a third crossing.

The trail meanders a bit on the west side of the Sangre range before dropping down east again past Comanche Lake.  Running the loop in a counterclockwise direction seems to be the best choice just by the nature of the trails.  Comanche smooths out towards the bottom and is more runnable than the Venable side either up or down. 

After two loops I was done.  After adding another hour or so on top of all of that up Venable and down I was REALLY DONE!

Saturday's fun squiggly lines.
Sunday morning at home was rough. I had no idea how I was going to get another run in that day.  I woke up, took a shower, went back to bed, got back up, ate breakfast, worked on getting things  unpacked from the day before but mostly just killed time waiting for my legs to feel a little better.  I had decided on my route from the house (Sonderman, down Fontanero, through GOG, Red Rocks, Section 16, Inteman, Ute Pass Trail, then head back and finish up in downtown Manitou.)  I had the route I just needed the nudge to get out the door.  Melissa and Annie were going to see a movie  in the afternoon so I waited until they left before I took off right after I did some creative/preventative foot taping for insurance. 

It was hot.  Everything felt shot.  I just mentally coaxed myself through the first five miles telling myself if I could do that then I could make the next fifteen or so.  In the end it wasn't a bad run.  From a strength standpoint it was an awesome run since it was packed on top of the fatigue and every thing else from Saturday.  It was also super-sweet knowing that I had today (Monday) as a rest day.

Sunday's sting.
Today I feel beat up but getting in that kind of time, mileage and vertical done over a two day period goes a long way in building my confidence for the LT100 run in four weeks. Overall, this weekend was a good investment but I still can't believe that Leadman is going to all be over in less than four weeks.  This might have been my last BIG volume weekend of training.  Wow.

It was all worth it to be able to look at this scenery all day on Saturday.  Definitely worth it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Feeling more normal'ish, sorta...

Yesterday was just absolute misery.  No way could I have made it through the day (and part of last night for that matter) without dosing up on the hydrocodone a few times.  As bad as the pain was the overall numb/dead feeling from the meds was worse.  Not a fun trip.

Today is a lot better.  I woke up early on my own this morning and I have not taken any pain meds and I have been eating like crazy and I sort of have my sense of humor back so it must be getting better.

I get to stretch out on an easy short bike ride today and then a longer one tomorrow.  Saturday I am definitely doing the Venable-Comanche Loop at least 2x and not so sure on Sunday yet.  I am sure it will be a long day up on the peak.

Less than 2.5 weeks until the LT100 MTB... yeah, trying to get my head around THAT one now!  :)

Here is a nice video of someone descending the power lines last year.  I am not nearly as worried about this section a I once was however, I doubt seriously that I will be passing anybody on the downhill like this guy did.  The few seconds gained are not worth the risk and that time can be much easier made up on the flats.  It will still be a long stressful three to five minutes for me until I get to the bottom though.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Yesterday was the big day. I finally had my appointment to remove the rest of the tooth that I broke in April and to get the implant in to get that ready to be crowned in a few months.  It takes a lot of time for it to heal and they want to ensure the implant grafts to the bone.  Everything went super smooth and I am doing nothing but resting and recovering the next two days so that should get a jump on the healing process. Four to six months wait not until I can get my new crown. 

Hell, I slept from 3:00 P.M. yesterday until 08:30 this morning so a huge amount of time.  If you ever get a prescription for Halcion...  go for it.  Wouldn't want make a habit of it but if you want to just not have to deal with the shit of the day then that is the way to go.  I am not taking anymore of my pain meds now as nothing really hurts at the moment and I hope it stays that way.

Broken tooth on the left (Had a root canal a while back) and the new implant on the right.  Looks like they wedged it into my skull good.

So I am enjoying these resting days... I had the race on Saturday, a  long-assed slog of  a fucking hike/run in Leadville on Sunday,  solid 1.5 hour ride on Monday and really solid run yesterday morning.  My legs were still feeling worked during the run so I am glad for the break.

Saturday I am tentative planning running the Venable - Comanche Lake Loop at least once if not two times.  It is down southwest of Westcliffe if anyone is interested in tagging along with me.  I plan on leaving the Springs zero-dark-early on Saturday morning to get down there and plan to come back later Saturday evening after getting something to eat before coming home.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Still In The Game

I did it!  My first mountain bike race ever and my second race in the Leadman series.  5:52:35 was my time and coincidentally, that was my A goal I realized last night when I consulted my predicted times for specific races once I got home.  The original window was 5:52 - 6:15.  Pretty cool.

Just three more races to go and less then four weeks and it is all over. 

But the mountain bike race.  It went very well.  I didn't die, wreck or have anything go wrong with the bike and I rode the damned thing like I stole it as much as I could.  Often I would remind myself that I was in a 50 mile race, not a 50 mile ride and to get busy pedaling.  My climbing was strong and better than that, my technical skills were there (they sort of showed up that day I think) and I didn't have any issues on the two nasty downhill sections that I was worried about.

One of the biggest tricks that I employed on Saturday was that if I was riding something that was making me tense up or giving me concern, smile.  If I made myself smile during a fast descent while bouncing around all over the place by body would naturally relax and made the riding more smooth. 

Three weeks to go until the 100 MTB now.  Because of my time in the 50 mile MTB I will move up a lot closer to the front and be in a different starting corral.  Hopefully that will save me some time as I might not be so far back on the first big climb up St. Kevins and end up in a hike a bike traffic jam.

The gamble paid off and and I am very happy about that.  After running that 50 mile course two times now and riding it this time, I can say that I am glad that I didn't have to run it again. Very, very glad.

It looks as if Lucho is  handing me an umbrella but it is my bottle as I am heading back out of Stumptown on my way back.
Going through Printer Boy on the outbound.  1:42 was my split and I was thrilled to no end when they told me that.
At the finish.  Damn I was tired.  The last two miles were tough as I just wanted to be done.
* All photos taken by Michelle Vallejo

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gearing Up, Again

In 24 hours we will be on our way up to Leadville again for the second race for me in the Leadman series.  This week at home has mostly been about catching up on things after the 11 day absence but now the tide is turning more towards preparing to leave tomorrow.  95% of camp is already up there and set up and since we are only going to be gone for three and half days, there is a lot less that we have to haul up there.  Packing should be a breeze.

Focused on working on the bike last night.  I topped off the Stan's sealant in the tires using the syringe and that didn't go as well as hoped.  I made mess on the driveway and the Jeep with the first attempt.  The second wheel went slightly better.  The bike is other wise clean, the drive train included and all of the pressures set for the shocks.  It's ready to roll and I will ride it a bit today when I work out later to double check everything.

Right now I am excited to get out of town and be up in Leadville again.  I am also very aprehensive about the race on Saturday.  Concerned even.  To sum it up, I know the course as I have ridden all of it by now.  I trust my fitness and strength riding the parts that I can ride.  The parts that I can't ride, the more technical parts that I have discovered I know I will have to dismount on at least three little descents to get around and that is okay.  I have to be conservative and not push it and keep safety, health and injury prevention at the front of my mind.  I feel I can hammer the ups, flats and 95% of the downs enough to do well.

But that brings up another question... what does doing "well" on this course look like for me?  I have a time in mind but it is ridiculously fast but crunching some key numbers indicates it.   I just can't reconcile those numbers to what I feel inside is possible at this point.  As far as doing well, I guess that I can summarize that in these four goals.

1.  Don't die. (B. Fuller is keeping my spare bike in Pb, so if I die Saturday he gets it by default.)
2.  Don't wreck. (Or don't wreck too badly.)
3.  Don't have a major mechanical to deal with.
4.  Come in under the eight hour cut off. (That's a 9mph average over the whole course btw)

I sort of feel that if I can manage goals 1-3 then goal four should take care of itself.

I hope.

So... there you have it.  I am really questioning my intelligence, sanity, critical thinking skills, and overall judgement going into this race.  I sort of wish now I had more bike racing experience under my belt than I do and did before I decided to change things up.  But this anxiety I am feeling, it is good... I mean what fun would this be if I were not going into it as a major challenge full of many, many unknowns?  That is what makes it exciting after all, right?

In 72 hours one way or the other this part will be over and then we will know.  Damn.

Seems apropos.

Monday, July 8, 2013


After eleven days up in Leadville we are home.  Camping was a lot of fun but there were some irritants along the way that really sucked the fun out of it at times.

1.  The wind.  The first several days the wind was horrendous up and around camp.  Added to the fact that it was so dry, and I mean DRY and dusty, everything was just permeated with dirt. The wind was a constant 10-20  mph with gusts and it was constant.  We were so glad when it went way on Wednesday and Thursday.

2.  Other campers.  People who obviously don't understand the term "fire ban.".  We called the sheriff's office twice to report fires.

3.  Other campers... again... some jackasses came in and set up about 200 yards from us Saturday night and were partying and cranking the music till 2:00 am...  It is a good thing that I only had my five shot .357 with me because if I had something with a higher capacity magazine I would have just gone over, sprayed the camp, and went to sleep and not one fuck would have been given.  Of course nobody could have heard the multiple reports over the fricking music.  And of course of all the nights I  really needed to sleep it was Saturday night.  Hopefully there will be less bullshit in our new camp. 

Really that tops it for the crappy parts.

The good parts... showers at the Hostel... Six bucks for Melissa and I to use them.  Best money spent in Leadville for the trip and though camp showers and washing up the creek is okay every couple of days or so it was nice to be able to go and really get cleaned up and shave, etc.

Best milkshakes EVER!  I tried to have one each day post workout if I could.  As my exhaustion increased by weeks end they became the virtual carrot to get me through.

Riding and running with other people.  I can't say how much I enjoyed this.  After months of not getting to train with anyone really it was awesome to be connect with other Leadman contenders and forming our little family (or support group as it were) and sharing ideas and encouragement.  If I walk away from Leadman at the end with ANYTHING it will be that sense of camaraderie that I will treasure most of all.

Stars... nothing I love more than walking at night up in the high country looking at the stars.  I guess it brings the kid out in me.

Melissa's camp cooking... I didn't lose a pound up there and it wasn't just the milkshakes!  We ate very, very well.

Finally just having a solid marathon up there and then a great training week.  Totals for the week are 18 hours of training.  (Not including the Marathon of course.) 128 miles on the bike with 18,382 feet of elevation gain.  Only 20 miles of running with 3,00 feet of elevation gain but the run was a solid one with Brandon Fuller from Twin Lakes to the base of the Power Lines with a split of 3:16.  Now if I could just do that same split on August 17th - 18th, I'd be a rock star.

Glad to be home and getting refitted and retooled.  Mostly unpacked.  Laundry is about all done.  We moved camp and left stuff up there (it is being watched) so when we go up Thursday after work we have to take up a lot less and 95% of camp is already setup.  Biggest thing to do this week is to chill and get the bike ready for Saturday.

 This was my first camping trip without Roxy and I have to say that I missed her the entire time.  I would often imagine her laying in her bed in the tent under her down comforter she would sleep with when we went camping, just rusting around and getting comfortable.  Or her watching me as I would roam around camp keeping a watchful eye on me and every move I would make.  Sometimes it is just hard to realize, accept or grasp, whatever that she just isn't coming back.  She loved camping and playing in the water so I definitely felt her absence the entire trip,  I am so thankful that Asia was with us.  She is still figuring out the entire camping thing and it is fun to watch her as she explores and learns the ropes.  We let her get on the bed in the tent the last night and and she practically slept on me the entire time.  That kind of memory can't be replaced.

Roxy... the original camp dog.