The Leadville Trail 100 boasts a 43% finishing rate..... was the news after my last experience with the Leadville 100 in 2000.
That was my first race ever....
So here is what I put on my application this year where it asked for prior race history- The last Leadville 100 I did I got snowed on, spit and bolted on me and I just about died of hypothermia. I swore I'd do it again. YOU owe me.
Do you think that did it?
So I've been thinking about that race the last couple of days and figured I'd jot it down for anyone interested. What was I thinking? (sorry no pics. I didn't get a digital camera until the following year)
So I was talking to a co worker of Dot's just about the time we found our she was pregnant with our first. He is an AF family doc- Doug Mower. He told me about this great race he did the year before that was all above 10000 feet and 100 miles of dirt. I didn't believe it. You must be crazy to do something like that! (shows how clueless I was about biking) So anyway, that was the year I was planning on getting into it and the more he talked and I dreamed, it sounded doable. He even said he would help provide support. It was a good excuse to get a new bike. So I got my piss yellow 2000 Specialized Stumpy and we began to ride. Then I found out I got in!
That's when the fear hit. I swear I trained for the next 5 months with fear driving me! I was scared I couldn't do it. I had no clue what it entailed. So I rode and rode and rode. I must say it did help that Dot was pregnant and not very interested in me being around. I had served my purpose. So I rode some more. Doug was an incredible source of information and training and I actually started feeling strong. I even got a buddy to fly me into Leadville (the highest airport in the US) a month before the race and I did about 60 miles of it. I was scared again.
Well the race started out cold but actually warmed up a bit during the morning before the Columbine climb. I was feeling good at that point and the race was uneventful as I began the climb and I felt I was on track to do sub 9hrs. Then I noticed my big ring was wobbling and the chain fell off! What the... ?! I got off found out that all the bolts holding the front gear set had fallen out. Luckily I went back down the hill and found two of the bolts. I put them on and prayed they would stay on for the rest of that climb. I had lost about 20 minutes. I got to the top with my spirits improved but it was getting really cold. Then just as I passed the breakdown point and the terrain started to flatten out I flatted. Crap! I lost another 10 minutes or so.
I got to the next check point and took two more bolts off a spare bike I brought and headed off disheartened but still feeling strong. Then the rain came, Then as I started up the Powerline trail the lightening came. I literally felt like I was going to get blasted. That whole climb I was trying to figure out if it was good to be next to powerlines because they would draw the lightening bolts to them and away from me or whether they would repel them towards me. Luckily I never found out. I hiked up the steepest part of the climb since at that point it was literally a river.
I got to the top alive to realize that my hands were too frozen to shift luckily it was downhill and I didn't have to shift too much. But unluckily it was a pretty technical down hill that was extremely slick. And then it started snowing! If I stopped I'd freeze! I kept going and finally came out onto the road. I noticed people were dropping like flies but I couldn't quit. Finally the rain/snow eased up but what was left for the last 1/4 of the race as 3 inches of mud. What a slow slog that was. That was the worst part. Well I slid through the finish in 10 hr and 7 minutes shivering for the next hour. I swore I'd do it again.
God I hope this one goes better for me.
I'm 9 years older but hopefully stronger and more experienced with an awesome light new bike. I just wont have the fear to drive me to train harder.