Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Joanne's Last Trip To The Fish Hatchery

On Sunday Joanne came along with me up to Leadville for my last training ride on the Leadville 100 Mtn Bike Race route.

My goal was to ride the first 25% of the race - over St. Kevins and Sugarloaf passes, down the Powerline and on to the Fish Hatchery.   At the Fish Hatchery we refill with water and reverse our path, following the race route back the way we came in to complete the ride.  Which means - ugh - back over the two nasty hills you just came over.

I had raced Th Mt Evans Hill Climb the day before, but was pleasantly surprised that my legs did not feel like concrete when we hit the first steep climb at St. Kevins.  I was worried that this ride might be a suffer- fest after doing Mt. Evans the day before.

I practiced riding the worst line to the left side of St. Kevins to simulate race conditions and watched as Joanne took off ahead of me.   I know she rides with pain on steep climbs like that and I always remind myself "she is riding with pain, what's your excuse for being slower than her right now, slacker!"    I am always surprised at the thoughts that go through my mind when I am suffering.

We came down Sugarloaf and the Powerline with no problems, and I was surprised to see Joanne very close behind on the descent.   Her new Pivot mtn bike has really improved her descending.   Not that either of us are that good at descending, but we have slowly improved each year and I no longer get cotton mouth from fear coming down Sugarloaf and the Powerline.   [Except during the race when one is riding with 1,600 yahoos and having a little fear streak through your mind just shows you are thinking rationally.]

Then we arrived at the Fish Hatchery, filled up with water, and Joanne proclaimed this is probably her last trip to the Fish Hatchery and that she was heading back into town on the highway.

So, I took off alone on the race course back to town -with lots of time to think - pushing slowly up the steep climbs - about the many times we have ridden this course.    Most of the Leadville course is not that much fun to ride and it is more about taking on the physical challenge of doing it.   

Joanne has had her fill, and now it is time to move on to other things.    Like a lot of the milestones we reach in life, and then change direction.

Over several hours I slowly worked my way back into town on tired legs, constantly reminding myself that I wish I would feel this good on race day.   

Then I hit the final mile of pavement and pushed hard to the finish, remembering that first race finish with Joanne being just far enough ahead that I knew I couldn't catch her.   Not believing we actually had finished in under 12 hours.   Trying not to cry when Merillee hung the finisher medal around my neck, and whispered in my ear "welcome back to Leadville."

Then I got to the car and my wonderful partner said she would drive home and I could take a nap.

A pretty good day for the last training ride on the course, and a pretty good day to think about changing direction and chasing other adventures.


  1. This post just made me sad. Is Joanne no longer posting?

  2. Joanne has turned over the blog responsibilities to Phil. He's been doing a great job all summer, in spite of a crazy work load, training, and terribly ambitious landscape projects. I got a bit burned out - in several areas, I guess, as I lost interest in both blogging and intense training. Maybe I just need a break, or maybe I need a big change. Still figuring out which it will be . . . but I'm looking forward to being part of Phil's crew at Leadville. He is as fit as he's ever been, and barring any injuries, I think he'll have a record year. Keep checking back - he'll keep the updates coming.


  3. This whole blog has been a real treasure for us, as we seem to be too busy to connect on a frequent basis in any other way. Thanks for the time and care that you've both put into writing it and sharing with us. Peggy