Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The workout day off == no adventure.

Today is my normal workout day off.  Well, it's probably my last normal workout day off for a few weeks, because next week is race week and I'll take Thursday off (which is typical for long endurance racing...you take the day two days before your race off, then do a light workout the day before).  After that, I'll take at least a full week off and who knows what after that.  I guess it really depends on if I survive the race at all!

So what do I do on my day off?  Get a massage!  And thanks to finding a wonderful massage therapist in Erin at Blue Earth, I get to keep my normal groove going.  So I slept in (yes, two days in a row!), had some breakfast, got my massage, and then came back and Matt and I had some lunch across the street at the Pastime Bar.  Matt snuck this picture of me enjoying the heck out of my wings:

The sauce is just about as hot as I can handle, but man is it good.  And they really do have awesome fries.  Oh, and Fat Tire.  Yeah, it was a Fat Tire at lunch kind of day.  Then it was back to the RV to kick back for a bit and do a couple loads of laundry.  After that, I headed out to take my prescribed walk, which involved some pics from around town...

Still haven't been here.
Love this sign.
An All-American street.

Amazing church, including "DANGER AVALANCHE" sign due to roof.
I don't know why they currently have costume rentals, but okay.

Awesome old school downtown drugstore, the only one in town.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Okay, a little less adventure today...

We slept in a bit today, and then got to work on the motorcycle problems that lingered from yesterday.  I started doing some more work on the bike while Matt was kind enough to run to the hardware store for some tools and some supplies.  He found almost everything we needed except for one spacer (and to his credit, he did find a spacer that would have probably done okay, but I wanted better).  As we looked around for possible other solutions for a spacer, we found a spoke weight from his bike that was no longer being used.  It was the right outside diameter and the right length, but needed a bigger hole in the middle.  While we discussed how to make that happen, Matt noticed a "machine shop" within walking distance of the RV!  So $5 later, including tip, we had the spacer we needed.

After some reassembly, it started to rain.  We had just finished, but had to rush to get the tools put away.  For the next few hours, it rained on and off.  I decided that it would make sense to go try to do my 45 minute easy recovery spin on the trainer in the trailer while the weather was bad, but then I hit a snag.  The Computrainer can't fit a 29" tired mountain bike.  I had no idea, and that's the only bike size I brought.  Oops.  Fortunately, the rain stopped long enough to get the ride in on the road around town with only minor occasional sprinkles.

Oh!  Before that, Matt and I went to do some shopping.  First up was Alco, where we procured a few random items as well as a shower rod and shower curtain.  No, we did not need one for the shower in the RV, but instead for the middle of the RV.  You see, the RV bathroom is so small that it's nearly impossible to put on clothes after you get out of the shower.  So with this, we can just open the door to the bathroom and come all the way out, yet still have some privacy:

Next up was the grocery store.  We now have a bulging refrigerator again, along with leftover burgers and mac and cheese:

That's right, Matt did it again on the grill.  That was a KILLER burger.  And Sage said "eat a lot of red meat", so I've still got that going.  She said have more beer, too, so hellllloooooo Fat Tire!  That came from shopping stop number three, the local beer/liquor store, which has a really nice selection.  It's handy that Matt's motorcycle has so much luggage on it...we put a lot of food and beverage in there at one time.  And I really should have had Matt get a picture of me carrying a shower rod while riding a motorcyle...can you say "jousting"?  But hey, we got it done.  Since then it's been nothing but Olympics on TV (including women's beach volleyball!) and some more Fat Tire and chips and salsa.  I know, life is hard, right?!?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Every day is an adventure here in Colorado

Wow, what a day. And it's not evey 7pm yet!

I set my alarm clock to go ahead and get up and get my 1.5 hour ride in while it was cooler.  Got up at 7, got my breakfast smoothie made, ate, got dressed, and went out and loaded up my bicycle on the back of my motorcycle.  I didn't take a picture of that today, but here's an older one:

Yeah, I know, kind of nutty.  But it works.  Well, it used to.  But I'll get to that in a minute.

I rode out of town, found a good spot to park, and jumped on the bike to get another ride on the St. Kevin's climb.  Did that part of the race course and doubled back on the road and finished up right on time.  Loaded up and headed back to the campground.  While I was gone, Matt had gotten some breakfast, gone for a little exploratory motorcycle ride, and returned with some groceries while I was in the shower.  When I got out of the shower, he helped me with a couple of nagging plumbing issues we had with the RV, then we geared up and decided to go do some exploring.

Ashley had bought a couple of great books on Colorado off-road trails, and we used Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel-Drive Trails.  In it, we found that a nice loop looked to be to take the Mosquito Pass over to Fairplay and down and back across on Weston Pass.  Mosquito was labeled "moderate" with Weston labeled as "easy."  Hmm, alrighty then!

We set off and pretty quickly found ourselves on a dirt road through abandoned mine country.  We passed a large area of parked SUV's with ATV trailers and kept going.  Soon the road turned to large loose rocks and not much more than what you'd call "trail."  And it started going WAY up.  And things started looking like this:
Yeah, that little road on the right is what we rode up.

And a while later, we made it to the summit:

The camera and Aerostich pants on top of jeans adds 20 pounds
That was seriously some of the most intense, crazy, scary riding I've ever done.  Until we started going DOWN.  Oh my.  That was worse.  Way worse.  Oh, I forgot one interesting thing...there was a Jeep at the top with HAM radio antennas all over it.  At first I just assumed it was some dude monkeying around with talking to really far away places by getting his antenna REALLY high.  But no, it was a dude and his wife and they were volunteering doing communication work for the burro races.

Wait, the WHAT?!?  That's right, the burro races.  Turns out this weekend is Burro Days in Fairplay, CO.  So we were informed that if we were to see any burros (that would presumably have people with them), it would be appreciated if we would just pull to the side and stop and turn off our engines and let them pass.  Both Matt and I assumed these burros would have riders.  Mmmmkay, so we head down, trying not to fall off a bazillion foot cliff while navigating motorcycles on steep, twisty, rocky, loose "roads."  Oh, and keeping our eyes out for the burros.

We go a pretty good ways without incident and without seeing any burros and reach a point where it appears the road gets much better and there's an abandoned mine and a couple cars parked.  We stop to take a break, because both our necks and shoulders and backs were getting quite tired of all this work.  Okay, it's not hard work, but when you're that stressed about it, it's bad.  We find that one of the groups is another set of HAM operators helping with the burro races.  I quickly noticed they had a cooler and it was quite large.  And we were parched.  I asked if they'd be so kind as to sell us a couple bottles of water, but they were quite friendly and gave us each a bottle.  So we sucked those down and got ready to mount up.  In smalltalk with those folks, I mentioned I was glad it looked like we had the worst of the road behind us.  "Oh, well, there's one more pretty bad spot on down.  Be careful."  Oh great.

Turns out his idea of a bad spot and ours were way different.  It really wasn't much of a big deal and soon we found ourselves on a long stretch of normal gravel road.  And then it happened.  Burros!  But apparently these aren't racers because they're just walking the burros.  We crawl past them and give them plenty of room, only to see they have race numbers on the burros.  And each burro had a pack  on its back with a gold mining pan, shovel, and various other things that appeared to be "spec."  Matt commented at one brief spot in between burros that he wanted to tell one of them to "get your ass out of the road."  But I think he knew that wouldn't come across quite right from out from under a motorcycle helmet, since he was only kidding.  We had nowhere to be, and well, how often do you get to see a real live burro race anyway?

We made our way through that and to the highway and turned toward Fairplay.  Wow, Burro Days are huge.  Took a while to get through town and to the other side where we stopped at a store to top off our fuel tanks, hit the restrooms, and get a snack.  Then we made our plan to head further south and go back across the much easier Weston Pass.  And it was easier, with parts of it simply "unmaintained for low clearance vehicles."  So it was very rough and rocky, but never particularly steep.  At one stop, however, minor disaster.  Matt shook my bike's rack and it moved.  A lot.  No, I wasn't carrying a bicycle, but I did have the top box on it there. 

One bolt was missing, and one bolt (caddy-corner from the missing one) was sheared off.  It and it's bushing were still there, though, and we realized that the rear pair (of which this was one) were longer than the front.  This meant that this bolt would work in place of the missing one on the front.  So we figured three were better than two and should get us home, right?  WRONG.  Not long after, that bolt sheared off, too.  Now, I had next to nothing in my top box, so it wasn't overweight or anything.  But the vibration just killed it.  So we had to stop again and remove it completely and strap it to Matt's rack.  Fortunately we had enough stuff to do that securely.

So it would seem that bike rack and top box are a bit too much weight, particularly as far back as they have to be mounted to work, on the rough trails.  That's not a huge problem because they aren't hard to take off for that kind of thing, it was just tough finding it out like this.  I need to procure a few parts, but I think I can get it back together by Tuesday.  I was a bit bugged to find that in the bouncing around it also broke my rear tail light, but then I remembered that I had a tail light upgrade that I had yet to install, and I brought it with me!  Talk about luck.  Even when I have bad luck, things have seemed to work out okay.  *knock knock knock*

So we made it back, and remember when I said Matt bought groceries? 

Well, he got steaks and he not only grilled them, he made potatoes and even got a fresh cantaloupe and cut that up for us to eat.  I knew I brought that boy for a reason!  And we did all of that before 6:30pm.  Good thing, too, because he had to finish cooking in a bit of rain as it was!  But the skies have cleared up and our bellies are full and we're ready for another day of adventure tomorrow.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Good day!

So I loaded my bicycle on the back of my motorcycle and headed over to St. Kevins, the first climb in the race.  My prescribed workout today was to walk up a 45 minute hill.  See, I'll be doing some walking in the race, and it was to be a light day since I had a long ride day yesterday.  So instead of just walking, I also pushed my bike up the hill.  That's even more like the race and that way I get to ride it down, which is fun. 

So that went fine.  After that was over, Matt headed out on my bike again to get another tube for the rear tire of his bike.  He picked up a nail two days ago, and yesterday he got the wrong tube by accident.  Unfortunately the closest place to get a tube at all was an hour-plus away, much of that because of construction on the main route between here and there.  But as he was leaving with his new tube, the guys in the motorcycle shop said "don't go around, just go through...they've been letting motorcycle guys through."  So he tried it.  And they weren't letting motorcycle guys through on this day.

So he tried to find another route, which ended in futility due to a newly reopened mine that was hogging an entire mountain top.  He ended up back at the construction site, but this time asked the foreman.  The answer was still no, but that there was a "hiking trail" just above the site that he could make it through since my bike is so off-road capable.  So he went looking for it and had to make his own trail to get there, but made it.  And at times he apparently had to basically stop and wiggle the handlebars between trees, but he made it through!

All this craziness meant it took him about an hour and a half longer than I thought (and I was kind of freaking out a little, but that was probably just because he delayed my lunch so much), but he got back and we got the tube installed.  And it seems we did everything right, because it's doing great.  We went for a late evening ride on some of the bike race course along with some exploring.  And we got these pictures:

That was cool and all and we did about 40 miles, mostly gravel with some occasional awesome pavement.  I still need to tweak my rear suspension some, but I really like the bike.  Well, other than dumping it on its side once when trying to make a very low speed turn in some very soft earth.  But it didn't hurt anything and it's light enough I had no trouble picking it back up myself.  So no harm, no foul.

Then we made it back to town and had to scare up some grub.  There's a local joint called "Quincy's" that is NOT the chain from days gone by.  This place has filet mignon Sun-Thurs and prime rib on Fri-Sat.  And nothing else.  Well, except a vegetarian lasagna, but that hardly counts.  And they have Fat Tire, which is also important.  So I ate and ate and ate this 16oz of prime goodness:

My coach said "Eat plenty of red meat."
I could swear my coach said to up my beer intake, too.  So I've been working on that.  *ahem*  Anyway, good day here in and around PbVille.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Poor Matt

So Matt got here yesterday to hang with me until the race.  I brought his motorcycle with me as well as mine so that he and I could go do some exploring in the time I'm not still training (and there will be a lot of that to kill).  Both of our motorcycles are "dual sports", which means they are street legal and very street capable, but are also very off-road capable.  That helps up here where the roads turn to rutted out rocky dirt roads with little warning.

Unfortunately, Matt realized a bit late in the game that he needed a new front tire for his motorcycle.  He ordered one and thought he'd have it in time to install it before I left, but it was a day late.  So he shipped it to Leadville and I picked it up.  He rode his bike to a dealer about 40 miles away (the closest one!) this morning to have it installed.  Unfortunately, on the way back he picked up a nail in his rear tire!  He was only about three miles away when he noticed it, and with little alternative he slowly rode it the rest of the way back to the campground.  Right now his bike looks like this:

It's missing something.

Unfortunately some part of this journey destroyed the tube in his tire to the point that there was no way we could patch it.  So we spent the next 30 minutes googling dealers and calling only to finally find one about 40 miles away.  Unfortunately the road between here and there is closed due to a tunnel collapse, so it'll be more like 60 miles for him to ride MY bike around and pick it up.  But at least it looks like we can get one today instead of having to wait until Monday at best, and that's using next day shipping.

The worst part of all this, too, is that not only did he get rained on this morning some, but it looks like it's raining in every direction from here right now and he's likely to get drenched on this trip, too.  Sucks for him, but what are you gonna do?

My day wasn't so awesome, either, but simply because I had a six hour training ride to do.  I wasn't supposed to ride terribly hard, just needed to ride for a long time.  So I did about all the riding there is to do in this area that doesn't involve crazy amounts of mountain climbing.  You can see the data here.  First thing you'll notice is I didn't go for the full six hours.  That was due to the aforementioned weather situation.  I started at 7:30, but really should have been moving by 7am and I would have made it.  But alas, I was at that last hour about to hit thirty minutes of singletrack before making the 30 minute trek back to town when I heard thunder.  Looking through the trees I quickly discerned that this was going to be a significant event.

So I skipped the singletrack and started getting my butt off the mountain.  I did get rained on pretty good, but at least I was able to get to lower elevation pretty quickly.  And while the rain wasn't ever terribly bad, there was a good bit of lightning and thunder in the area, so it seemed best to just cut it a little bit short.  I was pretty happy with how well I did at a ride this long at altitude...I'm getting more and more accustomed to it, which was the whole point.

It's kind of weird, though.  That was my last "long ride" until the race, which is now just over two weeks away.  And I probably won't have another six hour ride for a month, I'd guess, if then.  That kind of makes me happy right about now.  *grin*

Hopefully Matt gets the right tube and it stops raining by the time he gets back with it so we can install it.  That way we can go check out the Colorado Freeride Festival over in Winter Park!  Ashley and the kids and I got to see some of a similar event there last year, and it looks like a blast.  Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Good morning, Leadville!

Just some interesting photos from around town in Leadville.

Elk's Lodge with Mt. Massive in the background

Leadville Race Series offices
Leadville, USA


Kickin' it old school, or Alisa's next whip
Just a barn

Good fences make good neighbors
I'm guessing the fire department doesn't appreciate the hydrant collection

Yard art, or "just put the clothes line near the statues"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My statement is: I love Leadville.

I've heard stories that there are still some residents of this town who are not happy that this big mountain bike race happens every year.  Well, I have yet to find any of those people.  Instead all I have found are some of the most welcoming and friendly folks on the planet.

I'll start with Jerry at the Pastime Saloon.  She's been running that place for something like 30 years.  Here's what it looks like from the outside, which happens to basically be my view from the windshield of the RV parked in the campground across the street:

Pastime Saloon, Leadville, CO
 Jerry is a perfect bartender.  Tough, no nonsense, but still somehow very friendly and talkative.  She's got a full bar and a fairly limited food menu, but the food is very good.  It's also pretty fast.  She talks a mean game that she'd sell that place in a heartbeat, but I don't believe it.  Jerry is the Pastime Saloon.   And vice versa.

My regular massage therapist back home did some googling before I came out trying to find me a therapist here.  But she didn't come up with much and her recommendation was actually to just head over to one of the very close ski resort towns like Aspen.  But in walking through downtown, I noticed that one of the many sandwich board signs was for "Blue Earth Salon" and one of their listed services was "massage."  Hmm.  I was skeptical, but I looked up their website and found they had a couple licensed massage therapists on staff.  I also noticed they purported to do haircuts for men, and I was in kind of bad need of one of those.  So on Monday I called to see about availability on Tuesday.  Turns out I got the owner, Erin.  Boy am I glad that I did!

Erin is a recent mother of a baby boy and is married to a local firefighter.  She's from Georgia, but loves Leadville and doesn't care to live anywhere else, from what I can tell.  And how do I know so much about Erin already?  Well, she had an opening on Tuesday to cut my hair and then give me a 90 minute deep tissue massage.  Yeah, I was skeptical going in that one or the other or both would be sub-par, but honestly, I was very happy with both of her services.  And better than that, she's got a wonderful business to visit and is warm and friendly.  She's a yoga instructor as well, and I'd bet she is very good at that, too.  I'm very happy to have found her, and already have an appointment for another massage on my day off next week!

And yes, I had another workout today.  That started with some bike maintenance, and then a quick walk over to Cycles of Life.  I had heard there was some good singletrack riding right near downtown, and I figured there was no better place than the local bike shop to go find out.  Of course I had to buy a few things while I was there, but they were more than happy to point me to some fairly new trail that the local club, the Cloud City Wheelers, had built.  They even had a nice laminated map for purchase with proceeds going to more trail development.  So I picked up one and headed back to ride.

The map is well done and I followed it fine to get started, but unfortunately there are some trails out there that aren't yet on their map.  And through a mistake of my own, I ended up on one of those.  It was still a very fun trail for a while, until I encountered an awesome bridge built to cross a stream.  Unfortunately, a recent dam built by an over-zealous beaver rendered the bridge useless (it simply took you right to a large pool that the beaver was happy to call home), but there were ways around.  So I hiked a bit and was back on trail, until it emptied into a road, which I rode for a while before deciding that wasn't right, and decided to back-track.  Here's a pic from the trail:

Boulders Trail, Leadville, CO
I was almost back to where I should have been when I ran into Jeff and Banjo.  Jeff is a local runner and Banjo was his trusty canine running companion.  Jeff quickly apologized for Banjo being off-leash, but that was completely unnecessary as Banjo was perfectly friendly and more interested in looking for squirrels and chipmunks than bothering me.  But Jeff stopped to make sure I wasn't lost and then proceeded to fill me in on what I had done wrong and how I could fix it, as well as gave me more directions on how to hit some awesome downhill trail that wasn't on the bike shop map.  He was a super guy who shook my hand twice and thanked me for coming to their little town.

And then there's High Mountain Pies.  It's yet another place that you probably wouldn't find unless you saw their sandwich board sign.  Amazingly friendly dudes working their butt off right in front of you to make some of the absolute best calzones and pizzas you've ever had.  They have a thorough menu, and amazing service for a counter-service kind of place.  Just great guys who are happy to do what they do, and really happy when you enjoy what they do. 

Now, it's not PERFECT here in Leadville.  I did have some mediocre service and mediocre food at a Mexican place.  The grocery store isn't awesome by any means.  In fact, the entire "shopping" scene is pretty meager, and there's even less as far as "entertainment" (no theater, and the bowling alley doesn't look like much from the outside, anyway).  But it's a very small town, and the small town charm more than makes up for the deficiencies, in my opinion.  There's certainly even more to enjoy than the few things I've listed above.  I'll keep the Leadville love flowing as I find more of them...I really really love it here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

All Leadville, all the time!

Wow, what a few days it's been in Leadville!  I couldn't help but snag a pic of this, as it seems fitting for me, too:

Since my last post, Alan has come and gone and we completed the two day Carmichael Training Systems camp for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race, so I'll start with that.  Day one of the camp covers the race start and the first 23 miles of the course.  Then you turn around and do most (or all, depending on how fast you are) of the last 23 miles.  Alan did it all, I wasn't quite fast enough so I only ended up doing most of it.  My data is here.  The most interesting part is the elevation graph:

That made for a total of about 4500 feet of climbing over nearly 40 miles.  The St. Kevins climb is a serious kick in the teeth right at the beginning, but the rest is fairly uninteresting until you get to Powerline.  That descent is fast and dangerous due to the loose soil and large loose rocks, but it is still pretty fun.  From there, we turned around and went back up.  That sucks.  Only a handful of riders have EVER ridden the first part of Powerline during the race.  It's crazy steep.  I'll be walking that and likely a lot of the rest of it, too, just because of how far into the race it is (73 miles or so!).  After that, things get somewhat sane with just run of the mill brutal climbs.  *cough*

We finished that ride up and CTS provided a killer lunch from Mountain Pies here in Leadville.  Man, that place has spectacular calzones and pizza!  Then I biodegraded.  I was beat.  Turns out the only thing I screwed up that day was my sodium intake.  I simply forgot to take it for most of the day and thought that the fact that I had to pee fairly often meant I was hydrating fine.  Wrong.  If you don't get enough salt your body doesn't effectively process the fluid.  So I was just flushing it out. 

That had me feeling dehydrated to start day 2, which wasn't good.  So I upped the early salt intake a bit along with the fluids and barely managed to stay on top of it.  That was good, because day 2 is the Columbine Mine climb and then a quick out-and-back to show you some of the course outside of Twin Lakes.  The full data is here, but here's the elevation graph from this one:

That's 4300 feet of elevation gain and almost all of it at one time over 7 miles!  That's all gravel road and isn't too bad until you get to the last mile and a half or so.  I probably walked a mile of that part, but rode the rest of it.  I think on race day I'll be able to do about the same amount.  CTS served us another excellent lunch after this one, too.  In between days they also served up a great little talk along with dinner at a local Italian place.  All in all, I'd say their coaches did a wonderful job, and I feel much more confident about the race now that I know so much more about what to expect and how to properly pull this thing off. 

Outside of that, things are going really well.  I haven't slept very well any night here until last night, but I think that's simply because I'm getting acclimated to this altitude finally.  I'm sure it was partially because I was so tired from no sleep and those two days of riding, but it was still nice to finally get out of the bed feeling well rested for a change.  Today was my workout day off, and I was fortunate enough to find not only a good place to get my hair cut (it was really getting bad due to all this traveling!), but a really great deep tissue massage, too.  This was a wonderful discovery, because I hate finding new people to cut hair, and I was sure I'd have to go to a resort town nearby for a massage, which would have meant a motorcycle ride of nearly an hour.

I'm also quite happy to be staying at the Leadville RV Corral:

Here's my RV and Dad's trailer in my campsite in Leadville
It's normally $30 per day for a full hookup pull-through site, but I am staying so long my monthly rate gets it down to $23 per day.  I'm right across the street from a pretty cool bar that has great burgers and wings, and basically less than 8 blocks from everything Leadville has to offer.  The campground has a pretty reasonable laundry facility that I've now used once that's about 25 steps from my door, and so far even the wifi has been pretty peppy.  The cable TV is reasonable and the tap water here is outstanding.  I suppose that makes sense given that it comes off of melted snow from 14' feet off a mountain somewhere close by!

So what's next?  Well, I've got workouts planned for this week along with the arrival of my friend, Matt.  He'll be here Thursday.  We've both got our dual sport motorcycles here and plan to find our way to the top of some 14k' peaks.  Look for lots of pictures as we find our way around!

Friday, July 20, 2012

First full day report from Leadville

That's me today taken on the Mineral Belt Trail that runs around the town of Leadville.  It's 11.6 miles in length and is totally paved with a handful of road crossings.  It has about 700 feet of elevation gain and loss, with basically one long climb and one long descent.

I've done two rides now.  Yesterday's ride was about 80 minutes and today was 60.  Just trying to take it easy and get my legs back under me while getting used to the altitude.  I have prepared about as well as I could have, but there's just nothing like being here.  My lungs feel like they're struggling very hard at times, but the nice thing is my heart rate seems to be staying in good shape even with long sustained climbs and decent output wattage.  For example, a 600' continuous climb today at 184W yielded an average heart rate of 138 bpm.  That was on pavement, so the speed at which I did it won't translate to the race climbs exactly, but it shouldn't be too far off.  And that was around 12MPH for the 4.8 miles that it took. 

I'm very happy with that, but it's also happening when I'm still "fresh" from lower altitude, too.  The real question is how that will change as my body settles in and I'm having to do much long outputs on Sunday and Monday at the Carmichael camp.

The campground I'm at has been good.  It's an easy walk to the entire downtown area and the facilities are reasonable.  I've yet to find anything important that I've forgotten.  There are a few small things, but it's all stuff that Alan can bring when he flies out to do the camp with me.  The cable TV is decent and the wifi is actually very good.  The only nagging issue seems to be how we're going to get Matt's motorcycle re-jetted so it will run at altitude fine, but we're working some angles on that.

So far everything has been so good that I'm a little nervous!  It's almost too good.  The tragedy in Aurora was a little too close, and it's hard to feel very good about much of anything today in light of that.  But all we can really do is try to move on from those things.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

It's about to get real!

That's right, I'm on my way to Leadville!

[ And I have to take this opportunity to remind you that you can still donate to my Team First Descents effort to help young cancer survivors! ]

My apologies for not blogging more, but honestly my training got pretty boring after those first few big milestones.  Since I've last posted I have a good many more rides longer than four hours, with many at the six hour length.  This calendar year alone I've now done almost two thousand miles of bicycling and well over 300 miles of running.  That's alongside something like 75 hours of weight room training.  I'm certainly in the best shape of my life.

Will it be enough for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race?  It should be.  But just in case it's not, I'm leaving pretty early so I can do the Carmichael Training camp specifically geared for this race.  Then I'm going to stay in Leadville for the three weeks in between to finish my training at altitude so that I'm as acclimated as I can get.  Next I'm going to take the start line and do my best to enjoy my day and hope that everything works out well for me.  If it does, I'll be back to the finish in something under twelve hours and join the list of Leadville finishers.  As long as it's under twelve hours, I'll consider this a raging success.  Can I get it a lot under 12 hours?  Stay tuned...

I'm writing this entry while my buddy, John, takes a turn driving us out.  He's an awesome road trip buddy who agreed to drive out with me to give me some company and help with the driving load.  I'll drop him off in Denver to fly back to NC here soon, though.  Then my buddy Alan will fly in and join me this weekend for the camp and fly back home shortly after.  Then next week another buddy, Matt, will fly in and stay for three weeks with me.  He'll be the crew for Alan and I during the race, and otherwise he and I will do some motorcycle riding around Colorado when I'm not training.

The best part is one of Matt's kids will fly with my wife and my two kids to Leadville just before the race and they will help crew, too.  Then we'll all stick around Colorado for another week after and do some sight-seeing.  We're going to have a ton of fun!  Well, they will.  I'll probably sit in the car for a few days whimpering and licking my wounds!

The worst part is being gone this long from my wife and kids.  Hopefully I can keep myself occupied well enough to not miss them too badly.  We had a long talk and the kids promised to help out really well while I'm gone, and I'm sure they will.  Otherwise Ashley is at the ready to ship ME their iPod's and the Wii remotes. *cough*

Anyway, here's a picture of the RV and trailer as we loaded up to head this way...

I'll be staying for the next month in that RV, too!  One of us may not survive...

And here's the bike rack we built on the wall:

We've got two motorcycles loaded behind those, and every bicycle part and tool that I own, I think.  And at least I'm going out early enough that I should be able to figure out everything I've forgotten in plenty of time to get it here anyway!

I'll try to write about how the camp goes, and then look for some blog posts with some pictures from some very high mountain passes (that I'll be finding via motorcycle, not bicycle!) over the next few weeks....