Thursday, August 26, 2010

2010 Leadville 100 - The Second Half - 75 miles to Finish - part 4

Pipeline to Finish - The Last Half

The last time cut off is at the Pipeline Aid Station at 75 miles at 9 Hours and 30 minutes. 

If you do not make it by then you are pulled out of the race.  

Their are many that will quit here before the time cut off, because they are done, cooked, shot, spanked - however you want to say it, but there is not enough left inside to keep pushing.    I quit here my first year at 9 hours and 15 minutes and that moment has stuck with me far longer than the pain did that convinced me to quit.

For others, there is the desire and the ability to keep pushing, to keep suffering - they are just too slow that day.  Maybe they will always be too slow, but that will not keep them from trying.

Last year while I was crewing for Joanne I stayed after she had gone through the Pipeline Aid Station to see if our friend Mike would make the 9-1/2 hour cut off.   I think it was Mike's second, maybe third attempt to finish and he had trained hard for most of the year.   It got closer and closer to the time cut off, and the anticipation got worse and worse.  I could not stand still and started to pace back and forth.   Nine Hours and 30 minutes came and the baricades were pulled across the trail.  My heart sank. 

Five minutes latter Mike came around the corner.   It still makes me emotional one year latter to remember the look on his face, and then Mike started to cry.

In that moment it is hard to grasp all of Mike's time sacrifice and commitment for a year of training, but it was easy to see the 9 and 1/2 hours of solid effort at altitude in his face.

I gave him a hug, and then I shared with him what our friend Chris who got us into Leadville the first year told Joanne and me when we failed to finish.   "Leadville is hard and that is what makes it a challenge and it is hard for everyone.   A challenge means there is a chance of failure, and everyone that starts faces that chance.   Facing failure takes courage.  Moving past failure allows us to learn, grow, and become stronger."

This year Mike was crewing for our friend Chris's 12th race and 11th finish (he has also failed to finish), with Mike's partner Miguel and Chris's wife Pattie.  Mike is one the sitting down and has his ever present smile on his face.  Like our friend Jeffrey, Mike has a great attitude on life.   

I forgot to mention Mike is a cancer survivor, he has faced failure and he is very courageous - in my book.   

Just a little too slow for that 9-1/2 mark, but there is always next year and the years after that. 

I rolled in to the Pipeline Aid Station at 8 hours 2 minutes.

3 hours and 35 minutes behind the race leaders at this point.   Compared to them I was crawling along, but for me this was doing pretty good.

Joanne had a cup of luke warm rammen noodles and broth waiting for me.    It was absolutely delightful - salty, bland, and not sweet!

After 8 hours of goo and mojo bars I was getting what Joanne calls "goo gut".    Your system is having trouble sharing blood between your legs & lungs and the stomach.   Throw in becoming tired, dehydration, maybe a little altitude sickness, and you now are becoming nauseous.

Most all long endurance event participants experience getting nauseous to varying degrees.   Unfortunately, you have to keep eating regardless of how you feel or your muscles will run out of glycogen and you will grind to a halt.

Goo gut is when your stomach starts to rebel and says - no more sweet stuff - please - or your not going to like what comes next.

Pipeline to Powerline is a gravel road leading to a chip sealed road, normally tough head winds to push through, and your legs are now feeling the lactic acid  build up burn every time you try to go a little harder.

I was lucky to get behind and draft off a guy and a gal when we hit the head winds.    They both pulled for about two minutes and I was having trouble keeping up drafting.   Then it was my turn to pull into the wind.   My legs were aching but I told myself I would pull hard and count to 120.   If I wasn't fast enough they could pass me and go on by themselves.

I put my head down, my hands at the center of my handle bar, got as aerodynamic as I could get and started to count.   I hit 120 and looked back in my dorky helmt mirror ( which I love ), and I was shocked to find out that I had dropped both of them.     Man, that was an ego boost.   My legs were doing much better than they were feeling!

I pulled off the chip seal road onto the start of the powerline climb and caught up to about 10 riders.   I was the last in line and it was senseless to try to pass since we would soon be pushing our bikes when it got steep.

A group of spectators to our left started yelling to everyone in our line "pop a wheelie!"    The spectators were ingnored by everyone in line, since everyone was tired and not looking forward to the push-a-bike section that lasts forever.  

The chant continued "pop a wheelie" as every rider passed by.   Finally I came abreast of the fans and I popped my wheel maybe 1" off the ground.   As far as a wheelie is concerned it was pathetic. The group of spectators went NUTS!  Two of them came up beside me, which is not hard to do when your pedaling 3 mph, and slapped me on the back and the rest were all cheering.   It made me laugh inside and I think I was still smiling when I got done pushing my bike about 25 minutes latter.

No Ned

The plan was for Ned to go from the Twin Lakes aid station and hike up the powerline to the top of the push a bike section with some water for me.   This is normally when the day is getting hot and I thought it would be nice to have some extra water to dump on my head.

It was getting hot and there was no Ned.   I shook it off and said to myself that there had not been enough time for Ned to get there before me.  So I pedaled up the steep south facing climb of the Sugarloaf pass.

I had gone several miles past the last spectator and was getting close to the top.   Then I saw a floppy straw hat and Ned's smiling face.   I think he said "it's a long way up here, is this close to the top?"

Whatever he said, it was absolutely delightful when he dumped that water over my head and onto my back!

I took off and crested Sugarloaf about twenty minutes later and got cooled by Ned's water evaporating off while cruising down a long rocky down hill decsent.

St. Kevins Inbound
My legs were getting crampy and I was taking salt tabs whenever the road conditions would allow to safely steer with one hand.   I had lots of time on the long climb on pavement to the top of St Kevins to go through the mental gyrations in my mind of what kind of finishing time was I looking at.    Could I break 11 hours - no.    Well, can I break Joanne's best time of 11 hours and 10    There was about a thirty minute period of dealing with my not going to make these goals.  I was passing people on the climb, but I wasn't motivated to push hard way into the pain zone.

Then I found myself at the top of the climb and the St. Kevins ( no crews allowed ) aid station, and my mind quickly fixated on "maybe they got rammen noodles!"  :)    No rammen noodles but the volunteers were incredibly upbeat!   A volunteer shoved a salted slice of water mellon in hand and I shoved off for the last five short but steep climbs of St. Kevins.

My legs were crampy and my stomach was rebelling, but my thoughts were you are going to finish and get a buckle if you don't blow up, cramp up, or crash out.  Just 5 lactic acid stingers ahead, keep it steady and keep on pedaling.

The Boulevard
The way back into Leadville is different then the way you left.   You have to climb a cobble stone, beat your sore butt, steep climb to a wash board gravel road that is tree lined so you cannot see Leadville called the Boulevard.

It is where new racers figure out that the Leadville 100 is really 103.5 miles long.   You can't see Leadville, your spedometer is past 100 miles, your butt is completely over the wash board gravel road, and your legs are to full of lactic acid to stand and pedal for long.   It is a morale tester.   I have seen people just get slower and slower on these last couple of miles.

Then you hit pavement and your butt and back go - ahhh!  Heavenly!!!

Your legs and stomach are still not to happy at pushing the last hill, but at least it is smooth!

I ground up towards the top of the last climb of the day and to my surprise, there was Joanne and Ned to cheer me on!

I stood up and did my best to power start the down hill and push hard to the finish.

I picked off and passed six more riders and then could here Jeffrey yelling in the crowd to my left.

Suddenly, I was done.  

A volunteer hung a medal over my head, and Jeffrey was there to lead me away.

The ramifications of the last hard push of the day
came to visit me.    It was time to sit down and concentrate on not throwing up.

Jeffrey was keeping me company and telling me how much better I looked than three years before.

He was right, I was in much better condition then three years ago.    That year I thought I was having a heart attack and going to throw up as I lay on the grass.   At least this year I could sit up. I guess that counts as an improvement.

Then the whole gang was there and they shared moments of the day while I slowly came back to life.


My crew was spectacular, in every way!

The weather was probably the best in the history of the race.

Started healthy. 

No mechanicals.

Ended healthy.

Got a buckle.

I now have as many as Joanne.

Set a new PR after getting 3 years older.   11 hours 30 minutes.

Finished about 771 out of over 1,329 starters.   421 did not finish.   About 1 in 3.

Did not break Joannes' personal record time.

Like my race day this year day, she is hard to beat!!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010 Leadville 100 - The First Half - 75 miles out of 100 - Part 3

Joanne and I joke that the first 75 miles in the Leadville 100 is the first half, and the last 25 miles is the 2nd half.  Maybe not in miles or time, but definitely when it comes to effort and suffering.

First Climb - St. Kevin's

St. Kevin's is the frist major climb and where a lot of time can be lost for slower people or people lined up at the start way in the back.   In the past races of 600 and 800 racers there were two to three abreast going up the steep 4wd road.    On the right would be a line of people pushing their bikes.

This year there were 1,400 plus racers, and even with starting about 1/3 into the line up there were four abreast and occaisionaly five with single speeders climbing up really rough lines on the far right.   [ single speeders are amazingly tough ]

If anyone has to stop on St Kevins a line of people behind would have to stop and push until they could get on and ride again.   I had to push my bike 3 times for short distances and it only cost me a couple minutes of time.   For people in the back of the pack, the bottle neck would eventually encompass the whole steep section of St. Kevins and easily cost over 20 to 30 extra minutes.  This extra time caused by the congestion at St. Kevins costs quite a few people a 12 hour finishing time.

The bottle neck at St Kevins and the increasing number of racers is unfortunately negatively impacting the race.   People are becoming aggresively impolite in lining up at the start and riding recklessley on the initial paved section, and many lined up in the back DNF - Do Not Finish.

A staggered start over 30 minutes could greatly change this, and hopefully this change will come soon to the race.

The remaining part of the St. Kevins climb goes by very fast at race pace, it is still very crowded, and many are trying to recover from red-lining their heart rate so early in the race.

1st Descent - 40 deg, Sweaty, and 30+ mph

You pop out of the St Kevins climb on the northern high point of the paved road around Tourqouise Lake.   I am about 45 to 50 minutes into the race and a very good time to try to start getting calories in.    Most people will not feel hungry, but it is a must to start trying to force 200 calories an hour in or you will deplete muscle glycogen, bonk, and risk not finishing.

At this point you are sweaty from a steep climb at a fast pace, going down hill on pavement at 30+ mph at about 40 deg. F.   It is painfully COLD.   Ever have an ice cream headache?

2nd Climb - Sugarloaf

Compared to earlier races, the Sugarloaf climb seems relatively tame for me.   I was not pushing all out and keeping my heart rate at a normal level to save energy for end of the day.  I was able to pass about fifty people, but the field was still pretty crowded for a jeep road.

2nd Descent - Sugarloaf to the Powerline

It was not very far down on the South side of Sugarloaf when I came across the first major bike accident.   This whole down hill section used to really scare me, but my decending skills have slightly improved to the point that I am not terrified.

It was obvious that the person in this crash was really messed up, probably a head injury.  It can happen to anyone in a blink of an eye in this section.  Sugarloaf is steep, has ruts, rock obstacles, and loose sections.

Then you hit the race's famous Powerline section.   About 1/2 mile of an off camber access road under a power transmission line.   There are ruts 4' deep in the eroded granite.  If you try to pass or get stuck on a bad line it is going to be an ugly day for you.

I had a woman trying to pass me here, and I aggresively told her to not be a dumb ass!

If you need to make up 1/2 a minute, the Powerline is not the place.

I am always relieved and thankful when I am off the Powerline and in one piece.  The most dangerous part of the race is over and it is time to settle into a tempo you can hold for hours.

Pipeline Aid Station

By the time I get to the 1st aid station, the leaders are already at least an hour ahead.

They are wicked fast.

The leaders don't stop at aid stations, they grab stuff going by at about 20 mph.

The rest of the racers drop off clothes, get more food and liquids.

There are a lot of spectators and it is hard to sometimes find your crew.   Joanne was right where I thought she would be, she is a seasoned pro and had everything ready.

I quickly shucked excess clothes, changed camel backs, and checked my front tire.  It was making these poping noises and was acting squirrely.   I thought for sure I had a broken spoke from the rough fast decent off Sugarloaf.   I found nothing and took off.

After about a mile and I was away from all of the spectators, I stopped to take a nature break.

As I laid my bike down my wheel flopped around.   I quickly noticed the front squewer was undone.   Joanne must not have gotten it on tight and the down hill decent had knocked it loose.  I sent out a quick thank you to the mtb gods, latched the wheel down, gave it spin and saw no damage.   I gave myself a reminder that I needed to check that kind of stuff before I take off on any ride.  

Pipeline aid station to the Twin Lakes aid station goes by fast, and there is now a fun single track section that bypasses ambulance hill or otherwise known as "the cobra" since it tends to bite people in the ass.   A very, very steep and loose 100 yard decent.   The single track is funner and no one tends to go to the hospital from riding on it, but I think it takes more race time than "the cobra" did.  

Twin Lakes aid station
Twin Lakes is the first time cut off at 40 miles and 4 hours.   Twin Lakes has become crowded with crews & fans strung out on both sides for over a mile.     I always have my crew past the time cut off in case I am having a bad day.       It is very fun and motivating to see all of the crews cheering you on.

Jeffrey has crewed for Joanne and me now for three Leadville's. What I love most about Jeffrey is his positive view on life! The glass is always half full with him!   He loves riding bikes and I think he really enjoys the people watching that Leadville Provides.

My friend Ned is a geologist I have worked with also and had offered to come up and crew for me.   Like Jeffrey, Ned has never met a stranger and quickly made friends with the other people around them.   I don't think Ned had a clue on what Leadville would be like and I hoped he was going to have a good time.

He wore a floppy farmers hat that made it easy to spot him.   It was a wise choice, because the sun at 10,000' is brutal.
Jeffrey or Ned had told the people standing around them my name, so I had a cheering section for me when I rolled in.   They greased my chain, shoved food at me, changed camel backs, cramed a power bar in to chew on, and got me out of there in about 2 minutes.   The people around them cheered for me as I left as well.    Pretty cool, it made me feel like a rock star!
Columbine Mine - third climb - half way in miles but not in effort
From the Twin Lakes aid station the climb to the Columbine Mine is 10 miles, and is where the wheels come off of the unprepared.   I know, I was one of them my first year.   It is very steep and takes about two hours to go the 10 miles to an elevation of 12,800'.
I passed probably 100 plus people on this climb, but then got stuck in a two mile push a bike line from mile 7.5 to 9.   Probably cost me 20 to 30 minutes, but there is no way to pass with the faster people in the race coming down hill at you on the left side of the road.

One cool thing this year was the hot dog guys.  You might have to cut and paste in your browser to see them.    It was two guys, one dressed up as a chef and another dressed up as a waiter.   They were parked alongside a steep 4wd road that everyone was pushing their bike up.   They would come along and offer everyone pushing a hot dog and a beer.   Now this might sound like a very nice gesture, until you consider almost everyone is suffering from nauseau from the altitude and effort.   They got a lot of chuckles from the riders, but I didn't see anyone take them up on their offer.
I never stop at the aid station at the Columbine Mine turn around, because you have to decend to get to it.  I keep on going and climb back up to the highest point and cram a mojo bar in my mouth to chew on as I head down hill.
Most of the people I pass climbing pass me decending, but I was able to stay in front of some of them on my way back to the still crowded Twin Lakes aid station.
Another quick pit stop while the Ned and Jeffrey's neighbors cheered me on.  
From Twin Lakes to the Pipeline aid station it was like being on a mtn bike ride with a couple of your friends.  The 1,400 racers were really spread out, and sometimes it felt like you are riding alone.   Very mentally relaxing except for the butt pain, nauseau starting, and slight cramping.
I came to the top of a hill was a group of about twenty spectators under pavilions to my left cheering on racers.  As I came by they all stood up are starting "cheering Go PHIL!".  I looked and looked and could not find anybody I recognized, then I saw a pair of binocs and the race brochure with everyone's number and name.    Some one said "great face" about my surprised look and then they all started laughing and preparing for another racer.

It made me laugh, I pushed on to make the final time cut off, get food from Joanne, and push on to the last half of the race from 75 to 100 miles.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Race Day - Part 2 - The Start

Race Day - Leadville 100 MTB - 2010 - The Start

As in years past, I was so wound up that I probably got less than an hour of sleep the night before the race. I absolutely hate that part. I guess my body and mind can sense what is coming up the next day and cannot relax. It would be soooo helpful if I could start the race with a great night of sleep the night before.

Unfortunately for Joanne, my tossing and turning messes her up as well.  Although Joanne was not too thrilled with it, she agreed to get up and get my bike to Leadville and in line at 4 am and stand in the cold 37 deg 10,000’ + air until I showed up.

It is hard to describe the chaos of 1,400 nervous mountain bikers cramming in for a mass start.

I quickly realized what a HUGE gift Joanne gave me by getting up early and standing in the cold.   She had my bike about 3/4 of a block from the start line.   There were about 500 racers ahead of me and a 1,000 more behind me.

Joanne hung around until about 10 minutes before the start, keeping me company which really helped keep the pre-race jitters down.   With 10 minutes to go racers were crammed in shoulder to shoulder, wheel to wheel.   It was incredibly difficult for Joanne to just get out of the mob.  To make it even more dificult for her, random cyclists started handing her warm up clothes to haul off.   She could hardly see over the huge bundle of clothes as she weaved her way to the edge of the road.

The Start
Over 1,400 nervous mountain bike racers packed wheel-to-wheel makes a very dangerous start.   Every year there are several pile ups within seconds of the start, and usually someone or several take a trip to the hospital.  After about 2 blocks it gets a little less dicey, but until then it takes every ounce of attention you can give it.   

After 5 blocks I quickly realized how this race has changed.   The race used to have a neutral start for about 4 miles on pavement.  This year everyone was jockeying for position for the next 4 miles to try to improve their position for the first climb and to not loose time getting jammed in a bottleneck.

Since I am slow and, I must admit - scrawny, it is a precarious decision on whether to push hard and red line my heart rate in the beginning, risking using too much energy.  Red lining my heart rate early could easily cause me not to finish in 12 hours.  The other side of the equation is going too slow and getting stuck in a bottleneck of riders on the first steep climb [called St. Kevin's], losing too much time, and also not finishing in 12 hours.

I was shocked at how hard the first 1/3 of racers in front of me were pushing to get a good placement for starting and climbing St. Kevin's.

I looked at my heart rate and I decided to back off. It was going to be a long day, and I was confident that Joanne's placement of my bike in the pack would keep me from losing a lot of time on St. Kevins.

A lot of people were passing me, but I knew some of them would pay a high price for their early exuberance.    While some of the people passing me were just stronger riders and were on their way to set sub 9, 10, and 11 hour race times.

The St. Kevin's steep climb was quickly aproaching and everyone was riding four abreast, wheel to wheel.   I was very calm at this point, the race jitters were long gone.  I was interested to see what was going to happen to the huge mass of riders going close to max heart rate on a flat road hit granny gear when they hit a long steep climb.    Oh, and that is at 10,000' elevation.   

Or as one rider told me latter, "I was half way up St. Kevins and I couldn't tell if it was the altitude or if I was having a heart attack, an asthma attack, a stroke or all three at once!"

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Longer Version - Part 1 - Check In Day

After ten months of training, race day was quickly approaching.

Friday – Check-In

I went up early and alone to the mandatory Friday race check-in and race briefing.

Joanne and Jeffrey skipped that part and went for a bike ride up to Columbine Mine, the tough climb in the middle of the race. Jeffrey had been wanting to do the Columbine climb, the weather was PERFECT, and we both knew Jeffrey would love it.

I got into Leadville at 9 am; the line was 3 blocks long to get inside the old historic Leadville gym on 6th street for check-in. The growing pains of this very popular race were quickly apparent. The first time Joanne and I did the race in 2004 there were about 600 racers, now there are 1,600, and they still turned away thousands this year.

I walked to the end of the line of hundreds and hundreds of nervous fidgety entrants I did not know. To my surprise I found that the last person in line was our friend Yuki, who is a professional mountain bike racer and finishes routinely in the top 20, not the last 20 people like me.

Yuki and his girlfriend Junko are from Japan and used to go to the same gym as us. Yuki is a very friendly, humble guy - you would never know he is one of the top endurance mountain biker racers in the U.S. - until you go riding with him, or unless you are standing in line with him at Leadville! I bet fifty people came up to say hi to him and wish him luck.

We checked in, got our wrist bands, numbers, and race schwag. Then we went back outside to another 3 block line in order to attend the “mandatory” briefing by Ken Chlouber, the race founder.

Unfortunately, this little gym is too small now and can only hold the racers, so family and crew were not allowed in. So, Ned, the third person crewing for me, had to wait outside, and did not get to hear Ken’s motivational speech - which is definitely worth hearing at least once.

The Speach

Ken Chlouber started these endurance races to raise money and promote business for the struggling economy of Leadville. Leadville is a historic mining town at 10,000’ elevation and has known economic booms and even more economic busts. Ken was a hardrock miner, pulls no punches, and has many quotable phrases during his motivational “rah rah” pre-race briefing speech. Such as:

“These races are HARD, we don’t make them for whiners and cry babies”.

DO NOT QUIT. You are going to hurt and be in pain; all the racers hurt and are in pain. From the winners to last one across the line; the winners just don’t hurt as long.”

IF YOU QUIT, it will bother you long after the pain goes away.”

“We have not killed anyone yet, but you could be the first.”

“You are never alone in the Leadville 100; pain will be with you the whole race”.

"DO NOT QUIT. You're better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!"


The briefing was done and all the racers filed out to get ready for the next day.

My crew - Joanne, Jeffrey, and Ned - were all coming up to the condo in Copper Mountain to make my life easier on race day.

Joanne and I have learned that having a crew really changes the Leadville 100 race experience, can save a lot of time, and give the extra motivation you need to NOT QUIT.

Because Ken is right: there will be a point somewhere along the race, maybe many points, maybe the whole way, where you want to quit.

I quit my first year.  I found that quitting is easy to do and hard to live with.  The burning question of "am I mentally strong enough this year?" is just one of many reasons why I love this race.

Next.... Race Day

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


While we all wait for Phil's race report, I thought I'd fill in with a little bit of reading that that struck close to home for me. I'm mostly off the bike right now to let an "impressive" case of tendonitis in my left knee heal up. I'm actively engaged in physical therapy, stretching, regular ice treatments and taking heavy duty non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications . . .

Still, I can't wait to get back to riding. So the following articles caught my eye today. "At least one expert would say we stubborn athletes have a psychological problem."

When Repeat Injuries Can’t Dim an Athlete’s Passion and Switch Sports After Injury? Never! (especially the reader comments following the article).

Enjoy - and stay healthy out there!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Short Story

Ten months of training ended with starting healthy, finishing healthy, beautiful weather, a wonderful support crew, another buckle, and my best time out of four races.

Hard to beat!

I'll post a more detailed race report when I have some pictures to go with it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fun Ride at the Air Force Academy

My coach had me scheduled for an easy 2 to 3 hour shake-down ride for the beginning of my taper week.   So, we went down and rode the Falcon Trail that circles the Air Force Academy.
Two hours of not too technical swoopy single track - good call by Joanne!
Well worth the drive!

Sunday was an easy spin up Lookout Mtn on our mountain bikes. Even though we took it easy, it was already getting hot, which makes the ride a bit tougher.

Much to our surprise and delight, our friend Peter from the gym was rolling down from the top.  He turned around and rode back to the top with us, which for him was an incredible easy pace since he can ride to the top of Mt Evans in about 2 HOURS!   It was great he took the time to ride with us, and we got to catch up on how his race season was going this year.

In five days 9+ months of training will be done and we will see how I do at Leadville.

Looks like I will make my first goal of getting to the start line healthy this year!  :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Beti Bike Bash

Joanne might be toning down on the long rides due to knee pain, but she certainly hasn't quit riding her bike.

On Sunday morning she participated in the Beti Bike Bash, an all women's mountain bike race sponsored by one of Colorado's women's mountain bike teams, the Yeti Betis.

Of course, I like sporty chicks, so I had a blast being a spectator and ringing my cow bell!

The race had all the normal racing classifications, but the real inspiration for the race was to introduce new people to women's racing.  So there was a big beginner race, divided up into different age brackets, which was the event Joanne entered.

They might have been beginners, but that doesn't mean they didn't want to win or do good. They were giving their all for the two 5 mile laps, and there were some pretty spectacular crashes.

Joanne finished 7th out of 78 overall (and 4th in the 40 - 49 age group), and she was all smiles starting, during, and at the finish.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Laramie Enduro With No Broken Ribs :)

The last several years Joanne and I have used the Laramie Enduro 72 mile mountain bike race as a prep/training race for the Leadville 100 [which is held 2 weeks later].    

The Laramie Enduro is a lot different than Leadville.  Not as high - 8,000' elevation vs all over 10,000'; not as chaotic - 400 riders vs. 1,600 riders; and a whole lot more single track than Leadville, which makes it more technical.

Some of the trail is weed-whacked through pasture right before the race, and some of the trail is on cow path which can be twisty and turny.  All in all, it is a lot of fun to ride.

Until it's not.


Last year I broke some ribs on the Laramie Enduro at mile 14.  It was on a gravel road going down hill about 25 miles an hour, nothing technical.  The road was soft from a huge rain the night before and I think my front wheel hit a rut filled with soft sediment from the rain.  Whatever it was that caused it, the impact was fast and violent.  I didn't know my ribs were broke and I tried to shake it off, but the technical, rooty, twisty, turny section called the Enchanted Forest, at around mile 22 to 25, about made me pass out.   So, I quit and waited for Joanne to finish.


This year there was no Joanne to chase or keep of ahead of.   Totaly degrades the whole feel of the event for me, so I don't know how motivated I will be to do these long events after this year.

Weather was excellent this year, not too hot and didn't rain.

I was more used to my new bike and have gone to slower tires with a more aggressive tread [Specialized The Captain], which have saved my butt several times now.   I am never going to win one of these races, but I found out the hard way it is easy to not finish one if you have a nasty crash.

I felt strong all day and the only issue was my tush getting sore from all of the roots and rocks that you are forced to bounce over.

The last time I finished the race was in 2007 at age 47 and my time was 9 hours 21 minutes.

2010 At 50 years old, I did it in 7 hours and 58 minutes.   Joanne's training plan is certainly working, she has put a ton of time into being our coach this year.

Well, 10 months of training is almost over. 

This years Leadville goals are the same as last year - and what I failed to do last year.

Start Healthy, Finish Healthy, and Accept What Life Brings You With Joy. (Well maybe not broken ribs; nothing joyful about broken ribs.)

The race itself is not fun, I guess that is why they call it HARD.  :)