Friday, August 30, 2013


I have never used their products but I have been cautioned numerous times not to anyway so I have no interest in it.  The horror stories that I have heard have been more than enough to dissuade my interest.  What I didn't know was that HLF was looked at as a MLM, or possible pyramid scheme.  Interesting.  Makes me think now that all of the Herbalife kits I saw in the mountain bike race might as well just have said Amway.

Had a great run up here yesterday.  I was sitting here working all day and looking out the window at the mountain to the south not really sure what mountain it was and how to even get there.  Looked at my trail maps a little then sort of had a rough idea of how to get there.  Basically ran across town and up the Little Cloud Trail and then up the ski area road to almost the top of of Aspen Mountain.  Trail running might never be the same for me now.  The Little Cloud trail was very reminiscent of running up the Water Dog Lakes Trail in Lake City and running up the dirt road to the top of the mountain offered just amazing views of the area giving me a better idea of how things are laid out.

After that I took Asia for a walk on the Rio Grande Trail which if you follow it the entire distance will take you to the Woody Creek Tavern, which if I remember history correctly was one of Hunter S. Thompson's haunts back in the day.  It is just a really neat path that runs along the Roaring Fork.

Going to try to go out for a ride later up Smuggler Mountain Road if I can find it.  No way could I have ridden up what I ran yesterday.

Wonder when they get their first snow here?  You know, the one that sticks and stays all winter?

That is the top of Aspen Mountain right above the Jeep. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Independence Pass

Not from the trip mentioned below but paddling Spikebuck rapid on the Ark at 1600 CFS earlier that spring.  Full beard, ponytail and cooly chewing on a toothpick through the drop.
I am in Aspen today.  I finally made it.  Yesterday was rough and towards the end, getting out of COS was starting to look iffy and I ended up leaving about an hour later than I wanted to.

But the drive over wasn't bad... once I got going.  Drove over independence pass and had to try to remember the last time I had done that...

It was a long time ago.  A really long time ago.  July twentyish, 1998 is in the ballpark.  My friend Kirk and I had just spent the better part of the week on the west slope kayaking on the Colorado from the dam in Glenwood Canyon all the way to New Castle and parts in between.  We had also been hitting the Roaring Fork and Fryingpan rivers as well.  Boat, eat, sleep in the back of the truck, repeat.

We were coming back over Independence Pass towards BV... drinking Natural Light which we were putting salt and lime juice into.  Seems the whole trip either Blues Traveler (Live From the Fall) or Widespread Panic was being played on the truck stereo.  It was hotter than hell that week too I remember. 

It was on that trip that I introduced him to Pancho's in Buena Vista.  He approved.

I can't count how many lifetimes ago that was for me... I only had one more serious year of boating in me after that as it was about a year later that the accident happened up on upper Clear Creek which sort of changed boating for me forever.  Coming but a whisper shy of death on the water is a life altering event but that is another story.

But I was a different person then and I guess that is really the point of this ramblefest... just thinking back... Lord I was naive and probably 95% damned wrong when it came to my understanding and assumptions of life.  But even in being wrong, there is a raw certainty of beliefs and a determination that came with that age in time for me.  It is that certainty and confidence of a young man that I am really wishing I had more of now as I stand on the precipice of this major life transition.

That was also the year that I ran the PPM for the first time.

A decade and half later I am sitting in Aspen at my keyboard and I can see the ski hill out the window as I type.  The apartment here is small but so, so awesome.  It is every bit as awesome and as cool of a space as my cottage is behind my house in COS, just nicer... (You can tell Melissa has put her touch on things for sure.)

I haven't written much about this transition or move and I haven't talked to too many about it except for those in my most inner circle of friends and family.  Only a handful have an idea of  how I am processing this whole concept.  The last two months of Leadman proved to be a great distraction as I didn't  have to worry about "all of this" until afterwards.  Well now it IS after and "all of this" is now here.

I don't know when I will be here full time.  Right now it is every other week.  I really don't want to move without the benefit of getting RIF'd from my current job.  I volunteered for the last one but was a week or too late getting my name submitted.  I am guessing the next round of layoffs will be in December which is pretty standard for that company.  My boss already knows I want out.  I spent too many years to not walk away without a severance package.  A package which will be a nice little bundle to help me become more established here.  But it might come to the point where I have to forget the package and just make this move happen... (This is where the blind ambition and drive of my former 30 year old self would come in handy right now. )

I decided a few weeks ago to not sell my house and cottage but to rent them out instead.  Better to have that cashflow than to sell quickly and not gain the maximum profits on the property.  There are other reasons too... a fall back position if we need it... and it is an asset that would go to Annie if anything happened to me while she is still in school at CSU.

Regardless I still have to move and I have tons of stuff that I need to get rid of, give away, or just sell.  But there is so much that I don't want to get rid of.   Just the thought of that process is overwhelming and has me frozen in my tracks damned near.  I know it is all stuff but some of that stuff is very important... DVD's and CD's I can get rid of but I'll be damned if I part with any of my photo albums or portraits of Annie as she was growing up or anything that I was lucky enough to get from my grandfather's before they passed away.  I hate the idea of culling my library even more... again...

And then... what do I do as a job once I am here?  More questions... 

I need a plan.  But Anyway...

Ran yesterday for the first time since Leadville.  Slow and some things still hurting, well not hurting but uncomfortable.  Tight, sore and still recovering.  I have my bike up here and am planning a longish ride on Saturday and a decent run on Sunday hopefully.  I also plan to run today and tomorrow Friday as well... those will be short runs with me just doing recon of the local area trails and town.  But definitely nothing serious planned yet... still weeks away from that.

Awesome video...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Still Recovering

Had an interesting weekend just hanging out here around the house and in town.  Went for a short ride in Palmer Park on Saturday just messing around on the trails there and it was okay.  Sunday I was definitely itching to go run but somehow managed to thwart that idea.  Instead I went for another ride, this one longer.  Up through the Mesa, GOG, Red Rocks, up and over High Drive and back via Lower Gold Camp, Red Rocks again and then a straight shot home through OCC.

But I am feeling the bug to run again like I said.  Regardless I am going to stick to my plan and wait until next weekend at least before I start again.  Even then I plan to keep it light for a bit.  Just get the legs moving again.  I will be in Aspen from this Wednesday until next Wednesday so I guess my first run will be up there exploring the local trails.

I also plan to take a bike up with me and ride a lot too.

Along with my renewed interest in running I am now starting to look forward to the JFK50 in November now.  I just don't have any idea at this point how I will train for it.  I still don't have a plan.  I will sit down and map it out in a couple weeks probably.

In other news... trying to prevent the typical fall/post LT100 weight gain I slowly got my diet back to 90%+ Paleo last week.  It isn't just post race weigh though... I went into the Marathon in June a touch heavier than I had planned and since that went well enough I said screw my weight pretty much all summer after that.  I didn't go crazy but I was way more lenient than I could have been.  But again, I just  ran my fastest Leadville EVER weighing in just two lbs lighter than my first and slowest finish in 2010 when I was my heaviest.  Go figure...   I've made friends with the juicer once again and have been using it almostly twice daily the past few days. 

Today is the first day for students at Aspen High School.  Can't wait to hear from Melissa how today went.  And of course can't wait to get up there later in the week.  We haven't seen each other since last Monday when we all left Leadville.

Today is also Annie's first day of classes in FOCO for her sophomore year.  Haven't seen her since last week either! She's taking 17 hours... AND she got a job at Northern Colorado Rehab Hospital on top of that.  The kid is gonna be BUSY!  I plan on going up there in a couple of weeks or so to see her in her new apartment there.

Started reading this book last night.  So far so good.  If you know ANYTHING about Pit Bulls, you will definitely relate to this book. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Recovery... It's happening.

Everyone at the LT100 Run finish.  Lucho, Hawaiian Shirt Ray, Me, Melissa, Annie and Neeraj.  One hell of a team.
Today, Friday, is my first discomfort free day this week.  The left knee stopped hurting two days ago and the right knee seems solid today.  I still have the tweak in my lower left back from where I wrecked in the 100 bike but it will just take time for that muscle to work it out.  I am not concerned about it being a chronic condition or anything... just part of the process.

Post 100 race condition though I would have to say that I think I was in the deepest hole post-race than I have ever been in.  But I also seem to be bouncing back more quickly than ever at least physically.  I am still really fatigued and am what I would call low-grade tired all of the time.  The upside to that is that I have been sleeping GREAT every night this week.  I go to bed, start reading on the kindle then I am out within minutes.

Might try to get a ride in this weekend... nothing involved just get out and ride some trails for fun.  Probably ride the Cannondale as it is in good shape right now.  I am taking the Trek to Pro Cycling next week to have them give it a good once over before I start riding it in earnest this fall.  But I might not ride either... I might for once just sit on my ass and really force myself to continue resting.  But I am finding myself more and more interested in doing things now like riding or lifting so that is a good sign that I am bouncing back.

Still on the fence regarding the JFK50.  I am definitely NOT running in the Fall Series this year so if I had to guess I will start looking at the JFK a little more seriously within the next few weeks and start training for that.  I'd like to run the Canya Canon race if I find out when it is and if I am here and not in Aspen that weekend too.  No big goals for the JFK and no intense training for it either.  I will probably just turn the dial back a notch and just train at MAF exclusively for the race this fall and race that race in the same fashion.  It seemed to serve me well last week... might as well see how it does at a shorter distance.

But for now I am enjoying this break and that is my focus... just enjoying this break.    Wednesday night I finally felt good enough to take Asia for a long walk and enjoy a celebratory cigar.  Waited a long time for that one!

Leadman Trophy in one hand... Big Buckle in the other... Nice.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Leadville Trail 100 Run and the Leadman Series Finale

Running the road to Treeline... still smiling after 27'ish miles.
Leadman is over.  The LT100 run is over.  I finished both.  Right now it is challenging for me to separate the two events and even more so to write an understandable account of it all but I will try.

I went into the 100 run with a few thoughts in mind.  The first was that only 100 miles separated me from my Leadman trophy.  As the miles wore on through the day I kept modifying that number in my head.  Nothing short of losing a limb was going to keep me from getting to that trophy.  But could I really do it?

After the 100 bike I felt pretty beat up.  Especially my knees and up to the 100 run, my right knee was questionable.  My right IT Band was also feeling tight.  And if you can imagine it, I was feeling pretty tired as well.

Fortunately I was able to get two solid nights of sleep on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Friday night, which is always the toughest night to sleep before the 100 run, I managed four good hours.  So when I got up at 2:50 am on Saturday morning, I felt probably the best rested, sleep-wise, than I have ever felt before a 100.

Lisa had loaned me an ice-compression machine thingy that I used a lot on Friday too which helped to take out the inflammation in my right leg.  Just imagine a super large blood pressure cuff that is colder than hell on nearly your entire leg for 15 minutes at a time and you get the idea.

Saturday morning though the legs felt, okay... and I felt like I had some decent sleep behind me when I went to the line ready to go.

I had calculated a finishing time of 24:10 based on my 100 ride the week before.  That was my goal.  I had an index card with all of the splits in my shorts pocket geared to that finish time.  My goal was to run each section and make each split the best I could one by one and though my times drifted a little here and there, I viewed those split times as absolutes and non-negotiable.   On top of it all my goal finishing time, total time for Leadman was 46 to 48 hours.  I really was going to have to push it and a Big Buckle effort was about the only way to get me in that range.  To be clear, 46 was completely best case, 48 was a safer bet.

Race time...

The gun goes off and so do a ton of runners.  I had put myself close to the front so it wasn't as crowded for me running down 6th Street.  My strategy for this segment to Mayqueen was to average about 9:15 per mile and keep my heart rate in check as much as possible.  Running down The Boulevard I was feeling pretty good... one mile down... 99 miles to my Leadman Trophy.  Keep moving.

It felt like I was going a little hot around the lake but I kept checking the HRM and yeah it was a little high but nothing to be too concerned about yet.  I factored in the excitement and adrenaline to be adding and extra five beats per minute.  I liked the part of the pack that I was in.  Nobody was talking and we were sort of spaced out a little.  It just didn't feel as crowded as it has in the past.  So even if I were running harder or faster than usual, it was more comfortable overall due to those to things.  I made Mayqueen on my goal split pretty much.  Refilled my bottles and kept on going.

Up and over Sugarloaf and the power line descent I tried to really keep it controlled.  Again, diligently watching the HR, not running but hiking the parts I knew that I needed to and then running all of the parts I should.  Running down Sugarloaf I had a couple of jackasses... just FLY past me down the mountain.  In my mind I just thanked them for reminding me to slow down some.  I knew I'd see them again... and I did and then never again after that.

Fish Hatchery/Outward Bound was a cluster fuck.  Not so bad for me really but for my crew and everyone elses crews, I imagine it was a nightmare. (Lifetime will have to fix this for certain.) I made my split and now had the few miles to go to Treeline on the hard road.  Mentally a tough section but made worse by all of the cars parked on the sides of the roads, other cars and traffic trying to go to and leave Outward Bound and of course runners trying to just get down the road.  Again being smart, I ran with my heart rate pretty much right at 145 all the way to treeline.  It didn't seem any faster than other times in the past but I covered ground and it was comfortable.  Well as comfortable as you can be 30 miles or so into a 100 mile race.

Pretty much kept the same pace/level of effort from Treeline all the way to Twin Lakes.  After the Half Pipe Aid station, the dirt road is not steep but it gains in elevation regardless and always just wears me down.  It is also in here when the day starts to warm up as there are many areas without shade.  This would have been a low point if I had one.  I just kept going and once I got to the Colorado Trail I was able to run comfortably again.  I think that in the end I had my best run in this section ever.  I usually lose time dropping into Twin Lakes but this year I seemed to be steady the whole time getting there.

Twin Lakes... 40 miles into the race.  60 miles between me and my Leadman trophy.  I found my crew and got what I needed and started to take off.  Lucho was there and he pointed up to Hope Pass and more or less said, you have to deal with that now... don't screw it up, or something to that effect.  But again, I planned to just keep things in check and move on.

Now here is one of my absolute least favorite, I hate and loathe sections of this race. Running across that damned meadow to the river crossing and then the meadow after that to the trees.  It is always hat and muggy going across it and I just don't enjoy it at all.  But hate it or not I still had to cross it and I kept my heart rate at MAF and finally made it to the shade of the trees to climb my first ascent of Hope Pass for the day.  I didn't even try to run once I hit the trees pretty much... hike, watch the heart rate, slow steady pressure, keep moving.  The climb took time and was tedious but I never felt like I was getting killed by it either.   I just imagined that I was pedaling the mountain bike up a steep grade pushing a big gear and just kept it going.  I also tried to keep my steps as smooth as pedaling as well.  I made it to the top of the pass in about and hour thirty and started running down the south slope.

Not long before the trail leading to Winfield off of the Sheep Gulch trail, it was time to take an internal inventory.   I asked myself, "Andy... you know what smoked feels like in a race, is that what you are feeling now?"  I took a bit of time checking out how I felt overall and my answer was a solid no... I did not feel smoked.  Everything was going perfectly.

I am not such a fan of the new trail to Winfield but it is what it is.  I kept reciting my mantras in my head... 24:10 do not stop... get the Leadman Trophy, get the Big Buckle, get the title and get that sweet Leadman Jacket at race headquarters... Using lots of carrots and foregoing the stick at this point to keep going.

In an out of Winfield... I was there early and it was chaos.  Ray was to be my pacer from Winfield back to Twin Lakes and we didn't mess around getting going.  I told him my strategy which was working... run everything we can but we would be hiking per my heart rate the entire time up Hope Pass.  Ray had to catch back up with me as he stopped to help another runner who was struggling and then we started our hike up.  Again, smooth and steady pressure... I would tell him more than a few times on the way up that we needed to soft pedal a bit to let the heart rate go down.  We made it up again in about an hour and half, I still felt pretty good and we stared out run down in earnest after a really brief stop at the Hopeless Aid station.

Back into Twin Lakes, Ray took off a bit ahead of me to let everyone know that I was coming in.  It did give me a bit of breather to relax and jog a bit with a little less effort for a change.  Running across to that meadow again I nudged myself along by telling myself that after that day I would never have to run across it again.  I liked that.

At twin lakes I sat down for the first time of the day to re-tape my feet and change my shoes and socks.  This is where I also picked up Neeraj who was to pace me from Twin Lakes all the way to Mayqueen.  It was a blur as we were leaving but I explained to Neeraj the plan and what was working.  We would HIKE the four miles up out of Twin to the top on the Colorado Trail then run like hell, the best we could the sections that were a grind earlier in the day.  Of course, keeping an eye on the HRM as much as possible.

We made it to the Half Pipe Aid Station while it was still light out.  We made it to the Treeline crew access point at dusk.  We were moving.  At Treeline I stopped again and sat for the second and last time of the race to touch up the tape job on my heels and putting on a warmer shirt before moving on.  Annie walked with us a bit while I slammed a Mountain Dew and then Neeraj and I were on our way to Outward Bound.

Again that pavement is a grind.  Outward Bound was a Zoo and rather dick around I decided to just leave and keep going ahead of Neeraj.  He caught up and we now had to get the power line climb.  ugh... didn't I just do this last week pushing a bike???

Same strategy... slow and steady pressure.  Do not stop.  We made the top of Sugarloaf after leaving the pavement in an hour and ten minutes.  The run down Sugarloaf to Haggerman Road stated to wear on me a little.  I had hit that part where I was getting tired and even more tired of trying to dodge rocks in the trail so getting to the relatively smooth dirt surface of Haggerman Road was a great incentive to keep going.

We made it through the rocky Colorado Trail section to the Timberline Trail Trailhead a lot faster than I was expecting.  Neeraj went on ahead to Mayqueen to let them know I was on my way and to get Ray ready to take me the rest of the way in.

13 miles to go to my Leadman Trophy and bonus, I was definitely on pace to come in under 25 hours.  Ray and I started working some math and a sub 24 hour finish even seemed possible.    We decided to make it so.  Run it all, as much as possible.  It was a strange place to be as even looking back up on Sugarloaf we didn't see that many headlamps.  We didn't see too many behind or ahead of us either.

I know I must have been bugging Ray as I kept asking how long since we left Mayqueen, how much time do we have left, etc.  I was just running the numbers through my head as we kept moving.  Again, a very fast segment around the lake and we met everyone at the dam before the last push home.

Lucho was there, Annie and Neeraj were there and Melissa was there squealing like a teenager at Beatles concert in 1964.  Everybody was excited.  Ray and I just kept pushing along... we walked down the baby power lines to be safe and then ran all the way to the bottom of the Boulevard.

Now comes the push... Fatigue is setting in.  That hill up the Boulevard is a grind and really I don't want to run anymore.  But we do our best... run/walk patterns... me just trying to keep a run sustained and just trying to cover ground.  It is all starting to come true believe it or not (choking up now as I even type this.)  I am going to finish Leadman, I am going to get my Big Buckle and I am going to do it with a time that I could have only dreamed of.

Crossed the line at 23:18:39.  Also a new 100 mile PR.

It was over... I did it.  All of it.

Someone once told me about three years ago that I was yet to have the race of my life.  The one where I not only surprise a lot of people but also surprise myself.  Folks, this was it.  Just a few days later and I still can not get my brain wrapped around it.  Surreal is an overused word I think but it does seem appropriate in this context.  I even surpassed my Leadman goal time with a total time of 45:36.  Again more good stuff that I can't comprehend yet either.

Leadman was quite the trip for me.  Learning the bike, racing the bike.  Running the races.  Looking back I can proudly say that I ran or rode each race as it was an A race.  Each race, even that nasty 10K last weekend were solid efforts.  The 100 run, the Big Buckle... that is the icing on the cake... hell that's the stripper inside of the cake!

But I have to also give credit where it is due.  No way in hell could I have done this without Melissa.  Her patience with me is limitless it seems and she stood by me and supported me 110% the past ten months of training... she was always there.  I bet there isn't another woman out there who is more tired of hearing "Leadman" than she is.  Same goes for my daughter Annie who was out there kicking ass crewing for me for the 100 bike and the 100 run.  She's only 19 but a pro when it comes to crewing ultras.  Again, her support and patience, and she probably heard "Leadman" about as much as Melissa did too.  Annie has seem me foul up a lot in life so I am always happy when I can do something positive in her eyes.

Lucho... the best coach in the world.  If I had to describe the training process that we went through since December 1, I would call it surgical and precise.  Step by step we got here.  He told me way back that he was going to make me damned near unbreakable and he kept his end of the bargain.  Thankfully I was able to fulfill mine as well.

Hawaiian Shirt Ray... he and I have been crossing paths consistently in the ultra game since I started it back in 2009.  He has always been a good friend, awesome friendly competition and an inspiration.  His contributions to this as a crew member and pacer were invaluable.  Not to mention I really got a kick out of the confused expression he had on his face when I came into Treeline at dusk and I asked him about times and he said, " I don't know... I've NEVER been here before!"

Neeraj Engineer... Neeraj paced me last year from the dam to the finish when I was at the lowest point of that race and I knew going into this year that I needed him on the team.   The guy is a super strong runner and I only expect great things out of him as he furthers his ultrarunning career.   I seriously owe this guy some crewing and pacing time on the trails.

And for everyone else who have been supportive these past few months... my mini Leadman family, other running friends, mentors like Larry Dewitt... thanks to all of you too.

It's been a great year.

Annie and Melissa and I at the finish.  We did it!  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Here we go again. Again.

Pre-race briefing this morning.  I imagine if I go to it someday and I don't get emotional anymore it is either becuase I am dead or it is just time to walk away.  Ken Chlouber handed the reigns for doing doing to the sermon to his son Cole today and Cole did an awesome job.

Right now just hanging out in the room at the B&B playing on the computer and relaxing.  My right knee has had some little irritating ache in it all week.  It is intermittent, doesn't seem to effect my running so I think it will be okay.  I don't expect it to get worse and I expect plenty of other things to be hurting that it doesn't even register after awhile.  I did buy a knee brace for insurance.

Past that I am 98% ready I think.  All of my clothes and gear are placed out for me and later tonight I will tape my feet before bed.  It will be an early night for certain.  How much sleep I get though will be a different question.

I saw the Leadman finisher jacket at race HQ when I checked in yesterday.  That thing is sweet!  $150 for it but it is nice.  After all of the $$ that I have sunk into this Leadman adventure I don't mind spending a little extra for the jacket.

So that's about all for that.  Nothing left to do now but get it over with.  Just 100 more miles.  Just.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Packing and getting things together for Leadville this weekend.  It is crazy all of the little odds and ends you have to get together for a race like this.  The weather forecast for Saturday looks to be about as perfect as you could hope for.  Cool in the morning, warm during the day but most importantly, no rain is predicted for Saturday or Saturday night. It makes for easier packing.

Can't ask for much more.
I'd be lying if I said that I felt 100% fresh and ready to go at this point because I am not.  I would have to say that I feel about where I did this time last week, and since I don't plan on being up all night tonight spewing out of both ends sick like last Wednesday, I think it will be another restful night.  But even with getting sick last week I went to the line feeling ready.  So I am confident in the next 72 hours I will get cranked up and ready to go.

Goals?  Finish.  During last week's ride I adjusted my expectations for the run but we will see.  Going for my fourth finish here so I've learned some things along the way to hopefully help cut some more time.  More than anything I just plan to keep it smooth and steady throughout the day and whatever speed that gives me will just be the speed that I have.  Just finish.  Can't risk blowing up going for the big buckle and then losing the Leadman Trophy in the end.  Gotta be smart.

Heading up tomorrow about noon, can't wait.

Monday, August 12, 2013

LT100 MTBR Weekend

The family at the finish.  From left to right, me, David, Mom, Melissa and Annie.  It was awesome having them all there.
This is going to be a tough one to write out and especially challenging to keep brief but I will try.  Saturday and Sunday were the 3rd and 4th races in the Leadman Series. Saturday was the LT100 Mountain Bike Race and Sunday was the Leadville 10K.  I finished both and am still in the game for getting that awesome Leadman Trophy next weekend.

Cut to the chase... the bike was hard.  I've never done anything like that before in my life and the intensity of the 10:28:29 that I was out on the course was again, nothing that I have ever experienced.  Breaking the ride up into different sections to explain the experience might be the easiest way to do this.

Start to Fish Hatchery - I was in the third corral at the start.  Basically in with a lot of fast peeps. Basically WAY out of my league.  The morning was cold... 35 in Leadville and colder down in the valley.  35 degrees on a bike is not comfortable so I was layered up to stay warm when the race began.

One observation, the neutral start is a fallacy.  All the way on the hard road there were people passing within the peloton, outside the peloton, on the edges, etc... it was crazy!  It wasn't fun.. it was majorly stressful.  This went on for the first few miles until we hit the dirt where passing then was supposed to be allowed.  Anyway... the dirt road along the pasture before St. Kevins was not easy for me.  I just could not get my speeed, heart rate, or anything else for that matter in sync to be able to be comfortable.  The road undulates with rollers and I just could not get a rhythm.  Then came the start of St. Kevins climb which is only a mile but it is a damned steep mile.

Fortunately I was in the group and far enough ahead that I was able to ride most of it but the higher I got, the more stressed out I got and oh, warmer... it was getting warmer as we were climbing. Inverted low.  Hot air high, holding cold air down lower.  About 100 yards before the left turn switchback I said screw it.  Time to take care of some things and get my shit together.  I dismounted the bike and started walking it to the wide spot in the turn where I got my layering right for the temps, at a Gu, took some MAP, relieved myself and just got comfortable.  I also just wanted a mental break and a few minutes for my heart rate to come down 15 BPM or so.  That stop was probably one of my best decisions of the day... definitely the first really good one in regards to just keeping it together.

The rest of St. Kevins was better riding for me.  I was just a lot more comfortable temperature wise and with an empty bladder even more so.  I even ran into and passed a guy, Jim Ishman, that I rode with one day before the SR50 MTB as we were both training for that.  This was his second attempt at finishing the 100 having a bad mechanical last year at mile 80.  Even with my little stop, I topped out at Carter Summit faster than I had in my training rides and starting to feel a little better about things in general.  But let me stress... that first hour was not fun.

But the next section, the paved road from Carter Summit to Mayqueen?  Woohoo!  I was flying.   It is a three mile paved descent and I was rolling.  Still stressed because I know this little break is going to end soon and I would have to start working to ride out of Maqueen, up to Haggerman Road and summit Sugarloaf.

That ascent wasn't too bad.  I made Haggerman road 13 minutes faster than I was sort of anticipating.  The rest of the climb was okay.  Just pedal and get it done.  Of course the higher we got up Sugarloaf the higher my anxiety went as well.  For some reason I really had concerns about the Powerline descent for the race.  Even though I had ridden it plenty of times in training without issues I was concerned about being pushed/pulled down a lot faster than was in my capabilities to be safe. A bad wreck there and my day could be over.

But, I sort of had an idea and a plan and god was kind and provided me with a really great rider to follow down.  An older gentleman I found out but he road from the summit of Sugarloaf to the bottom just as smooth as you could imagine.  I was on his wheel all the way to the bottom.  He took great lines, didn't care about anybody passing him and was just smooth like I said.  But that descent... holy crap, you should have seen all of the water bottles that people lost, bike parts, just stuff everywhere that bounced or rattled off of bikes on the way down.  Also a ton of people with flats and that was another reason for why I wanted to take it easy.   When we got to the bottom before the water crossing I pulled up next to him and thanked him at least ten times for being there and told him that he really helped.  This was when I discovered that he was an older guy but what he said in response rang true... "There are no heroics on that descent.  You just have to get down it."  Be that as it was, we still came down a whole three minutes faster than my previous best time this summer.  17 minutes from the Sugarloaf summit to the pavement.

Now I finally get to relax a bit as the scariest part of the day for me was out of the way.

Fish to Twin Lakes - Now I get to ride.  All out.  Now all of the hours spent on the trainer this winter pay off.  I settled in and was just flying across the flats.  No groups really set up so I didn't get the benefit of a pace line at all so I just drafted when I could and passed when I had the chance.  I don't remember Treeline aid station so much but somebody did yell out my name, not sure who.  I wasn't stopping there as my first planned stop was to be Twin Lakes.

Anyway, this was one of the more fun parts of the course from Treeline to Twin Lakes.  Lots of dirt road and relatively easy riding compared to other parts of the race.  I was able to just ride within my comfort zone.  I hit twin lakes in 3:23.

Columbine... The beast.  Columbine in the bike race is analogous to the double crossing of Hope Pass in the 100 run.  I was not able to ride this part of the course at all in training so it all unknown and a little daunting, but to be honest, I am damned glad that I never rode it.  I had studied the topos and had a really good general idea what the course did so I just had to ride it and it wasn't that bad.  Really.

Ten miles up, about 3500 gain, then ten miles down, 3500 loss.  How I did was that I just settled in and rode up.  Passed some people, got passed by others.  I held my own.  I rode until I couldn't ride anymore, and apparently neither could anyone else as we started pushing out bikes. Three or for times to the turnaround I dismounted and pushed (along with everyone else) but other parts I was able to ride. Next greatest decision of the day... I stopped about ten minutes before the aid station, right at five hours and took a break. I had a gel or two, MAP, peed then took off again.  I did stop at the Columbine aid station but was only there for maybe, maybe two minutes to get my camel back filled up and to lube the chain real quick.  The chain needed it and I planned on the water in my camel back to get to the finish, which it did.  Now for the down...

Tough at first, especially in the two way traffic and the nature of the dirt road but not impossible.  Again, just keeping it in check and trying to go fast yet safe at the same time.  Two miles into the descent the trail reverts back to more of a smooth dirt road and this is where the fun really began.

After getting the crap kicked out of me for five plus hours that drop back down to Twin Lakes was the sweetest thing in the world.  I smiled.  About four miles from Twin Lakes I really relaxed and an involuntary smile just spread across my face.  I was finally hitting my stride it felt like.  Some nasty little rollers the last two miles or so to Twin Lakes and I was back there in about 6:20 I think.  I lost time on the ascent of Columbine but came down faster than I planned.  No big deal.

My stop at Twin Lakes now inbound would be my last real stop for the day. I got two bottles of drink mix, changed gloves, ditched my arm warmers, hugged Melissa, Annie and Mom and David who had flown in the day before to be there and surprise me.  (That really made the weekend getting to share the race with Mom and David and to have them be a part of my Leadman pursuit.)

Twin Lakes to Powerline - I knew this would be a rough start.  The climb out of Twin Lakes is up a paved road that it steep and it was getting warm.  Some rollers and then we were in a conga line climbing up the single track across and exposed (and hot) south facing sage covered hill.  After that climb it was smooth sailing the entire way back to Treeline and out to the hard road.

Now this is where riding the course this summer came in handy.  Nasty, nasty headwind as I was heading north.  Nobody really around to ride with so I drafted some and passed some again but just didn't fight it as I learned not to this summer.  I knew it would last only so long and pretty much be done once I got to Fish Hatchery and in the trees anyway.  And besides, it did add a welcome cooling effect.  The best part of this section for me was passing Annie and Melissa as they were driving to Treeline to meet Lisa and getting to wave to them.

Powerline to Mayqueen - For me ascending the powerline is a known quantity. I knew it would be tough but I also knew it would not kill me.  I rode up as far as I planned and started pushing the bike.  Again, like everyone else.  It really was not that bad.  The higher I got the easier it got like always and I got to the summit of Sugarloaf feeling pretty good really.  I stopped up there, switched out my bottles and did everything else I usually did during my stops that day and then I started down.

That part was fun, I was Haggerman road before I knew it and was just killing it riding down that road.  I was going so fast that before I knew it, I was at the Haggerman Road, Turquoise Lake Road intersection.  And it is here that I wrecked.

I don't know if it was because I got distracted but when I made that left turn off of the dirt onto the pavement my front tire washed out and I skidded with the bike about halfway across the pavement.  It hurt. It also scared the crap out of me as I was afraid that I might be too hurt to ride and did the bike make it?  Of course all of  this and the accompanying thoughts all occurred in less than a second.  I got up, walked it off and got my bike.  My chain had popped off the front rings but that was.   Someone held my bike as I put the chain back on, I thanked them and got moving again.  I was so grateful that I was not hurt worse (Some minor flesh lost, a puncture wound or two but thank god for riding gloves, eh?) and the bike was okay. It served a reminder to just be more careful.

Mayqueen to the finish - I knew the first part of this segment was going to suck, period. All of that fun and free speed down that pavement in the morning I now had to pay back.  Three miles grinding up the pavement to the Carter Summit aid station.  No headwind but no cooling effect either so it was warm.  I just settled in and said screw it.  It would probably take me 45 minutes to get up there so might as well just get it done.  It actually took a little less than thirty I think and of all of the aid stations that day I think I was the happiest to see this one.

The ride now was back on dirt, in the trees and shady.  Thank you!  Again, more fun and the descent down St. Kevins was a blast.  The grind around the pasture to the hard road still wasn't a lot of fun but still it was easier than in the morning.  A quick paved section and then I was on the Boulevard.

Wow... I knew that I only had three miles to go and I just could not believe it.  Still no time to take it easy. I saw a guy ahead of me in a Strava jersey that I had been changing places with all day.  He'd get me on downhills, I'd catch him on the ups and flats.  Just giving my general attitude towards Strava I made it my goal to pass him and beat him to the finish and sure enough I reeled him in about a half a mile before hitting pavement again.  Nice.

The last mile... folks... as much as the last mile sucks in the 100 run, it is just as bad during the 100 ride.  That first climb up 6th street before you can see town is just as bad on a bike, believe me.  I just kept spinning up it trying my best to not let off the gas as I was so close. I really wanted to come in under 10:30 so I knew I had to move.  I crested the hill and then just started working through the gears again, fully spinning (almost spinning out) as I got to the bottom of that hill and then riding up the last quarter of a mile to the finish.

I crossed the line... I did it.  My second bike race ever and my first 100 MTB race ever.  I hugged Merrilee as hard as I could and thanked her. I was also able to catch up with Cole and get to meet him in person.  Yeah, hugged him too... twice I think even.

Of course my family was there and that was awesome.  Again that really put the special touch to the weekend.

Annie and I went back to the B&B, I showered and walked back down to watch the rest of the finishers.  My friend that I met on a training ride earlier in the summer, the one who had the mechanical last year?  I got to see him come in at 11:59:57.  No kidding.  He did it!

I was hurting though.  The day wore me out and I was sore all over pretty much.  I had no idea how I was going to run the 10K on Sunday.  But it was going to be a fun run as my Mom and Stepdad David were going to run it too.  Along with Melissa making it a family event.  Annie had left earlier to go take care of some stuff so she didn't get to run with us.  Short story on the run... Melissa did great, and so did David who has never run this high before, Mom... she won her age group.

As for me, by the time the run came around I was feeling better and I did get in a short warmup run with David and that helped me to feel better.  My plan... simple... run at MAF and whatever my pace was that is what it was going to be.  So that is what I did... I kept my HR below 145 the whole way down to the turn and felt okay.  On the way back I let it creep up to 155, no higher, and held it there.  My goal for this race was 50:00 and I came in at 50:25 so it's good.  I am still in the game.

Now to just rest this week, I am on vacation.  I plan to do a couple short runs, but most of the time will be spent on my ass on my couch which I have not done a lot of these past nine months.  Five days until the LT100 run and I am ready, excited and anxious to get up there and get it done.  We go back up Thursday.

Friday, August 9, 2013

In Leadville

In Leadville... feeling better and definitely feeling ready.  Race briefing at 11 then later I will do a short ride and go over the bike.  Past that I will just be taking it easy.

2013 Race Series Poster.  Not a fan.
I guess the most polite thing I can say about this year's poster is that I feel zero connection to it and it won't be going up on my wall in my office with the others.  It just doesn't resonate with me.   Too intense... too type A... Where is the fun?

I think this poster is the biggest misstep since getting rid of the old finisher hoodies for the 70's style warmup jackets.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

I think this explains a lot.

Not sure if it was a case of mild (if that is even possible) food poisoning or if it was the onset of a nasty stomach bug, but last night was not pleasant at all.

I think that I set a new PR for the number of times going from the bed to the bathroom to be sick. Seven rounds in there if I remember right.  Rough night.

But every cloud has a silver lining... I am feeling 100% better this morning and even better than I have been the past few days.  I think maybe my body was trying to fight something off and maybe that is why I have felt just wrecked for the past ten days or so?  Who knows.

Regardless it was an extremely effective albeit unpleasant way to drop some weight before Saturday.  :)

Headed up to Leadville in a couple of hours.  Anxious to get checked in!  The forecast isn't the best yet but better than it could be.  I am definitely looking forward to things drying up and getting out of this damned weather cycle next week.

Gonna have to ride fast to stay dry!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What is wrong with this video?

Not a single fricking thing!

She's beating those drums like they owe her money... damn...

Yeah, I'm feeling better now...

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Home.  That is where I am today and for the rest of the weekend pretty much.  I can tell you that unless I sit here and look at a calendar and really think about it I can't tell you the last time I was just here...  seriously. 

Long story short... after Friday's run I was done. Done.  Done.  Done.  The only way I could have gone to Leadville this weekend or anywhere else for that matter would have had to be by plane because I sure as hell was not going to drive.  I said "uncle", I give in... time to just stop and do nothing.

After talking it out with Melissa and trying to come up with alternative plans we both agreed that I needed to just sit tight and rest and sleep.  Though I had been sleeping all week I never felt rested.  Hell, even during my runs I just wanted to sleep. 

Asia and I practicing the art of doing nothing on Friday night.
So that's what I did... I stayed home last night and went to sleep relatively early and I did not wake up until the glorious hour of 10:40 this morning.  And guess what?  I didn't feel 100% better than I have been feeling all week but I could tell that things were going in the right direction.

Plans for the day... nothing.  Get caught up around here.  I mowed and weed whacked which really needed to get done.  I even mowed the weeds in the parking area for the cottage in the back.

Fiddled with the bike before taking it to Pro Cycling.  They will set it up come Wednesday and it will be 100% race ready.
I took the Trek to Pro Cycling to get something checked out from when they worked on it last and now I have to take it back in on Tuesday so they can work on it Wednesday.  The tech there, Brian, isolated all of the noise sources (Not just the lower bracket) and is going to fix the pivots on Wednesday.  The way the bike was chattering and creaking, and that's  with not even cranking on it hard was not acceptable.  Anyway, that will be fixed and the bike will be ready to roll next Saturday.

Watched a movie this afternoon, ate some leftover Chinese and broke out my two new pairs of Hokas to set up for the run in two weeks.  Just another one of those things I needed the time to be able to sit down and take care of... at home.

Hokas set up and ready to go in two weeks.  Installed real laces and glued on velcro for my gaiters with contact cement.  Need to wear each pair a couple of times to break them in a little but that's the great thing about Hokas.  I could run in them as is and not broken in and be just fine during the LT100 and not have any issues at all.  Love those shoes.
So there ya have it.  A down weekend.  After giving it some thought I am so glad that I decided to stay home and not drive if for no other reason I will be in Leadville the next two weekends so my time at home is really at a premium.

Running out of things to do and Asia needs a walk but the rain is just not letting up.
No clue what I will do tomorrow.  Probably just more of the same.  There is a movie at Kimball's that I want to see, The Way Way Back.  It looks pretty good.

Next week will be busy enough.  Melissa comes home on Tuesday and we head up for the bike race on Thursday.  It will be here soon enough.

Lastly, and on a good note.  According to Accuweather, the forecast for Leadville the race weekends is definitely improving.  Looks like both races now may be somewhat dry and cooler.  Excellent conditions.

Conditions could change but for now things are looking up for the 10th and the 17th weather wise.  Nice.

From the Wetlands, all the way to the Apollo...

Friday, August 2, 2013


This humidor is very sad...
Five days later, the same humidor is magically happy all over again!
Non-running related... my source came through and after running perilously low on Cubans the past few weeks I am full stocked up.  Two new boxes, one of Montecristo Petit Edmundos which I fell in love with in Mexico this summer and a box of my all time favorite, Cohiba Siglo IV's.

It used to be, BM (Before Melissa) that I would have to source three - four times a year for my hauls... now only about once.  This collection will last me awhile for certain.  Of course they all need to sit in there for at least four weeks to settle down, stabilize and relax after shipping. The cigars with the bands facing the front of the humidor have been in there and are good to go though.

If I really wanted to round out the collection I'd score a box of Montecristo #4's and then go big and get a box of Cohiba Siglo VI's but for now this is good.

Supposed to head up to Leadville tonight and leave in 45 minutes.  As I am sitting here post run with absolutely nothing packed yet, I have to say that I just don't see that happening.  Waiting on Melissa to call me from Aspen to discuss a plan B. 

I am thinking that I will drive up early in the morning but I don't know.  I just don't have the energy for the drive today and to be  honest the thought of the run that I was going to do tomorrow night from Mayqueen to town just seems too overwhelming to even consider right now.  I just can't explain how tired I have felt this week. 

We'll see.  Right now I just want to sleep.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July's Training Numbers

Well, July is done... Rather than write out the totals, you can see the pretty pie charts below.

That total amount of running miles for the month I have to be honest has me a bit concerned.
But regardless of the miles, it is obvious that I put in a lot of time in July.
Not sure about the total elevation gains as I am too lazy to do the math right now... Hell, just making the pretty pictures above was labor... anyway, the vertical on the bike, let's call it 50K and the vertical running is around 34K feet.  I do know that flat terrain seemed very rare in July.

Motivation is low this week.  Not just motivation but energy overall.  Tuesday's run was rough for most of it until right at the end and the same for yesterday's bike.  I don't know if it is part of the taper or what but right now most things just feel off.

Today is move in day for Melissa.   Or move out, depending on how you look at it.  She is off to Aspen this morning to start moving into the apartment there.  I found out this week that I am NOT getting laid off in this next round so I am going to be hanging out here for a few months or so yet.  I plan to volunteer for the next round of lay offs as well.  Take my package, rent out the house and scoot... that's the 30,000 foot overview at least.  My new motto in life is "I'd rather shovel shit in Aspen than eat shit in Colorado Springs."

Monday is my 24th anniversary of arriving here from Germany.  24 years!  That's a legal drinking age plus three years... time to go.

On a good note, my latest business idea is underway and I have my first client already.  Pretty cool.  I hope to relocate this business to Aspen once I am there myself.  I'll talk more about that later as right now it really isn't a legal entity yet... And the whole Aspen move, what I am doing with my life, etc, is just a lot to really write down and sort out now and I want to focus on that here when I can fully explain it all at a later date.

Headed up to Leadville this weekend.  I am SO sick of rain... 

I need a nap.

Been saving this gem for a rainy day and well, since most days anymore are rainy... here ya go.