"How's your descending?" asked The Monster.
"Average" I replied, internally thinking that I may not even meet that criteria.
"It's the only thing I'm good at" she says.
It wasn't braggadocio, but more acknowledgement of other perceived shortcomings. In the following minutes I witness firsthand the merit of her statement.
Earlier, I make the near 180° turn from Hagerman Pass gravel to the sweet pavement at Turquoise Lake Rd. I relax for a moment on the descent to the tip of Turquoise Lake, mentally preparing for the push up to the Carter aid station. I'm doing my best to stay positive, but disappointed in my race performance, wallowing in a bit of self pity......okay, more akin to drowning.
Leadville is an emotional roller coaster for most riders, and it's commonplace for joy and elation to quickly turn to the depths of hell with something as simple as rounding a corner. It was here The Monster rolled up beside me. I recognized her kit, bolstered by a brief interaction with her the day previous in Leadville.
With light conversation about her age, her college efforts and accomplishments behind us, I could see The Monster was ready for the suffering to stop. Unfortunately we had a substantial climb staring us in the face. At the top, the Carter aid station. Knowing well my chances of a 9hr:5Xm finish were gone, I shifted focus to this young lady. She has a good heart, and you know this within a few minutes of meeting her. As we trudge up to Carter I mentally and verbally committed to delivering her to the finish line.
"You're going to make me cry." she blurted.
I responded with "Nothing wrong with crying, but I want you to save it for the finish line."
Wednesday Dathan and I rode the rec trail from Frisco to Breck, climbed to Peaks Trail, then descended back to Frisco. It was a beautiful day, with a multitude of hikers on the trail with their dogs. A righteous stretch of the legs.
Friday, we drove to Leadville for packet pickup and the racers meeting.
|Clinton Gulch Reservoir|
After packet pickup we went for spin. I'd mapped a ride that would allow Dathan to experience the Powerline descent prior to the race. We parked at Turquoise Lake dam and worked our way up to Hagerman Pass Rd., then climbed Sugarloaf. Near the summit we were joined by a fellow rider and the three of us made our way down Powerline. Dathan now had a feel for this somewhat treacherous section of the race course. His descending is spot-on anyway, but knowing the course is even better.
We make our way back to Turquoise Lake dam and head for the racers meeting at Lake Co. High School. After the meeting, it's back to Frisco, eat dinner, complete race prep, and turn in early.