Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Racing Solo

About a month ago after a training ride on the Leadville course, Joanne admitted that her knee pain was getting to be too much for long hill climbs and long mtn bike rides.  Especially back to back days like you have to do to train for some of the races we have done.

So, she pulled out of the Mt Evans Hill Climb, Laramie Enduro, and the Leadville 100.  She is now actively exploring what the problem is as well as the medical options.   For her knee, we are afraid to explore the problem of why someone would do events like these.

So, I am racing solo for these races, with no Joanne to chase or to hopefully be ahead of.  Which is very strange situation and more than a little bit lonely.

We have always been back of the pack, last 1/3 at best type riders.  However, we are very close in our abilities and it was very fun to see how we did against each other.  

Joanne says that it really didn't matter to her if she beat me or not.   I might even give her that, but I could tell - it's a lot of fun for her when she did.

Bob Cook Mt Evans Memorial Hill Climb

The Mount Evans Hill Climb is a bike race that starts in Idaho Springs at 7,500' and goes on the paved road to the top of Mount Evans and stops at the parking lot just below the summit at 14,130'.

The race has been run for over 40 years and has various categories you can race in from and open citizen classification to professionals.

The open citizen wave of 400 people is the first to go at 730 am, and then they start letting licensed racers go in their various categories through out the morning.

The weather looked very sketchy as Joanne and I drove to Idaho Springs.   There were low lying clouds spitting rain at Floyd Hill.

By the time I got done warming up for the race it was looking a little better, but still questionable.

My goal was to use the race as a training ride.  I wanted to do a good time, but to not go completely all out since I would be doing a tough 6 hour mountain bike ride the next day on the Leadville race course.  Riding the Leadville course with tired legs is great mental toughness training.

On Mt Evans, I rode the flatter first seven miles as fast as I have ever ridden, and then settled in for the grind up the steeper 21 miles to the top.  At 14 miles you go by Echo Lake at around 11,000' and we hit a cloud bank about 500' thick.   It was cold and intimidating. 

Then at around mile 18 we popped out of the clouds, back into the sunshine, and got to look down at mountain tops sticking through the cloud bank.   As the race progressed the cloud bank eventually evaporated and there was only a small breeze to fight.

I got to the top in 2 hours 49 minutes and 37 seconds and finished 21st out of the 81 fifty year old men division.   Seven minutes slower than last year, but last year I was sick for two days after for pushing so hard.

Tomorrow is an out and back ride over St. Kevins and Sugarloaf to the Fish Hatchery and back
on the Leadville race course.   With tired legs.


  1. It's a shame that Joanne had to pull out of the Leadville 100. At least you got a crew member, but it's too bad Ken is so bullheaded about having a wait list.

  2. Oh, I am so sorry. The whole deal with you two is that you are doing it together. It's a lot like life after you're married: you CAN do it alone, but something special is missing. DRAT!! Funny, I was just thinking about Joey's knees this weekend, wondering.... Keep up the good work, Phil. 21st out of 81 is pretty dang good. We're rootin' for you all the way. Peggy