Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015 Leadville Trail 100 MTB Part 3

NOTE: In order to get up to speed on my 2015 Leadville Trail 100 MTB adventures, see the links below. They're all equally exciting, but in chronological have no idea.

I'm leaving Twin Lakes outbound. (This phrase is somewhat depressing if you happen to be racing Leadville). I'm 30 seconds quicker on the 2.5 mile stretch from Twin Lakes over to the base of the 3000+ ft. Columbine climb. This has potential.

It's warming up, but I leave the arm warmers in place, knowing well I'll need them descending. Somewhere in here, I lose Jake. 

(I learn from a quick exchange on the descent, he's suffering from stomach distress. Engaging in an eating contest between 10,000 and 12,000 ft. is tough on the digestive system. We've all been there.)  

I don't mind climbing Columbine below the tree line. It's hard work, but shaded and relatively smooth. I find comfort in making it further up this year before I hear the beep, beep, beep, of the lead moto as I approach the switchbacks. A few seconds later I'm inundated by a wattage storm consisting of Alban Lakata, Jeremiah Bishop, and Christoph Sauser. There may have been others in that group, but I identified them. Keep in mind, they're coming toward me at ~45 mph.....on doubletrack. 

Reminding myself, "stay focused, more are on the way". I can't help but be envious of the descending traffic. They're all happy, and going really fast. They're over the hump, on the way home. They all have 12 pound bikes, perfect teeth, and single digit body fat, along with cheering crowds anxiously awaiting their return to 6th St...........OK! Enough whining Don!. Just shut up! Shut up and, and,'s right there on the top tube. 

I compose myself, and continue on. There's a steady stream of descending traffic now. I'm breaking out of the trees, the landscape is getting barren.

It's on that sweeping left hand corner climbing up to the goat trail, I first see him. Off in the distance, a lean, muscular rider, bathed in red, accented by a blur of green. It's FATTY! He's on a mission. I give him a shout out as he screams past. This encouragement, is likely what kept him motivated, all the way to the finish line. 

Ken's there, the base of the Goat Trail. Sitting on an ATV. Shouting words of,...ahem, "encouragement". The words sounded a lot like, "You'd go a lot faster if you'd get'yer ass on that bike". I respond in kind, "Great to see you too Ken".

It's REALLY difficult to keep moving forward. This section makes you hate yourself, anyone near you, the sunshine, the Octogenarians soft pedaling past you, the absent oxygen.

Eventually you see it, off to the left, what you've been looking for. Columbine turnaround. It's a cruel thing. It's cruel because you're not there yet, but you can see it. See it clearly. 

Several more minutes of trudging and it levels off a bit. I remount, and dizzily pedal my way over to the lollipop turnaround at the Columbine aid station. A point that marks the return to Leadville. I'm running behind schedule. I try to keep positive, but quickly surmise my sub 10 hour Leadville is unlikely, if not impossible.

I struggle to square this up in my mind. All the training. Training that has me arriving here T-H-I-R-T-Y F-O-U-R seconds quicker than last year!

I've 53 miles to get it sorted. 


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