Friday, January 2, 2009

Dumb Luck

Have you ever had a moment when inspiration and dumb luck intersected? I just experienced serendipity on such a grand scale I'm still shaking my head.

Phil and I had been talking about hiring a coach for the 2009 assault on Leadville since late August. But we hadn't found anyone that we were both excited about working with. I wanted someone local, and he wanted someone with real endurance racing credibility. We were not finding that combination despite a good bit of time and effort beating the bushes (or Googling surreptitiously while on boring conference calls at work).

As January 1 approached, we got a bit more agitated about it, as we both wanted to be on a program by that date.

We went to dinner a couple weeks ago and over glasses of Chianti talked again about our attribute wish list for a coach. Keeping to my goal of finding someone local (the greater Denver area, but Boulder or Golden-based was my real preference), I said, "Let's see if Nat Ross can recommend someone." Phil, being very supportive and a good sport, didn't snort his wine out his nose while laughing at me. He said, "Ummm. Okay; I suppose it's worth a try."

So we went home and Googled a little bit and found an e-mail address for Nat. I sent him a note along the lines of: "It doesn't look like you offer coaching services yourself, but can you recommend someone in the Golden area that you think might be available to coach a couple of recreational riders?" [I also tried to schmooze a little bit and name-dropped our friend Yuki, who won the 12 Hours of Snowmass event Nat promoted in August – thanks, Yuki!]

I fully expected that we would not receive a response to the e-mail. So imagine my surprise . . .

The next day I checked my e-mail and found a response from Nat. Not only could he recommend someone in Golden, the someone he could recommend was NAT ROSS!

Two days later Nat was at our house, having a glass of wine, talking with us about our goals, our limitations and sketching out a plan for the 2009 season. Really.

We are still pinching ourselves.

So, yeah, we are being coached by a member of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame; the guy who holds the record for the most solo 24-hour race finishes, many ending in podium appearances. Nat had a particularly stellar 2007: He was part of a victorious four-man Race Across America team, and won the National Ultra Endurance Series overall title as well as the Duo Pro class at the prestigious 24 Hours of Moab.

Hot damn.

Now, just because we have a superstar coach, doesn't mean our performances will improve. But it surely won't hurt. We are anxious to learn as much as possible from Nat over this upcoming year.

I love being lucky!

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