We arrived in Leadville, the highest incorporated city in North America at 10, 200 feet above sea level. Lets just say that Quinn and Margarita were thinking twice about following me upstairs at the awesome house we rented (the entire trip they surveyed whether or not I would be up there for a long or short trip before committing). My favorite quote about the “city” of Leadville was when the mayor spoke at the pre-race meeting and said: “Welcome to Leadville, where you are two miles closer to Heaven.”
I found the house on my favorite go-to travel-with-the-pups website, vrbo.com, and, man, was it AMAZING! It could not have been better, the woman we rented from could not have been nicer or cooler, and location, location, location!! This house was practically ON the start line (and, right down the road from the National Mining Hall of Fame!!!!!!).
We knew this would come in handy race morning, especially when noting that each morning the temps hovered around a balmy 36 degrees, the less the time to get to the start line the better!
We settled into our house which we were sharing with friends from Miami also racing the event: Fast Freddy, LG (another teammate of mine), and her friend who was also from FL. Ironman Danish and I knew it was important to stick to our ride plan and not get derailed by other training options.
Our first pre-ride of the course was set to be the Columbine Mine Climb. I was tasked with riding this beast “easy.” We drove to the parking lot just before the Twin Lakes aid station (at the base of Columbine) and began our trek. There were several Florida-esque power climbs before you hit the valley that leads you the the mountain and all of it was on jeep road–rugged jeep road. I also knew I did not want to ride for more than 1.5 hours, which would most likely for me mean that I would not see the top of Columbine on my pre-ride. Ironman Danish did though and here is a sweet vid he took while up there (it looks a lot busier up here on race day):
While this climb is difficult, it was easier than anything we rode in Breckenridge that was for certain. The only major issue (which is pretty major) is the lack of oxygen at the top, but, again, it was the same amount of oxygen we didn’t have when we were up on Wheeler Pass….Could it be that we actually were well oiled for this race?
The next pre-ride took place the day before the race (we always rest two days prior to any race). St. Kevins (pronounced Keeeeeevins) where we would ride and integrate a few intervals to make sure we were warmed up for the big day. I was a little worried, Fast Freddy said it was WAYY harder than Columbine. So, in my head, I had began to picture St. Kevins looking like “Little French.” We drove the three miles from our house to the base of St. Keeeeevins, parked, and set out to see what this beast was made of….or what I was made of, since it might be pretty tough. While difficult due to the lack of oxygen, I was able to ride steady up this mountain at a reasonably easy pace (which was my goal for that day of training other than the intervals) and, in fact, turned to Ironman Danish when we were 3/4 the way up and stated “it must get harder.” Turns out, it doesn’t and, in fact, I decided if St. Kevins and Little French got in a fight, it wouldn’t even be fair–Little French would crush St. Kevins. You could give St. Kevins a spear even.
I was ready to do my thing at the LT100, nothing could make me feel unprepared for this race–not even the all night torrential rain the night before the race (yeah, that happened). I had done a ton of research trying to figure what to expect for a finish time, and learned that almost everyone who also did ORAMM had finished the LT100 in their ORAMM time plus 3 hours–ok, so 11:03…then, I did some more research, consulting my favorite Joe Friel, to learn that I should expect to perform at 20% less capacity at altitude–ok so lets figure 9 mph avg speed if you take my usual race pace minus 20%–11:14. So, my goal was 11:14 for a finish time. I knew that this wouldn’t be easy, but it was going to be possible as long as I kept the push on the pedals– he is a video of Me, keeping the push on the pedals.
As you can see from the video, I finished! Not only did I finish, but I crossed the line at 11:13 race clock time, and on my chip time 11:11!!! (yeah, the gun went off and there were sooo many people and we were in the back due to it being out first year it took us 2 full minutes to get to the start line timing matt! Yikes!)
While finishing was pretty awesome there were a lot of fun parts during this exceptionally long day of riding my bike….
1. Power Line Descent. This thing is Fun, FUn, FUN!!!!! I had a BLAST bombing down this descent.
2. Columbine Mine Climb. While it is a grueling climb and being a flatlander I am not good at going up, the best part was seeing the WHOLE race developing in front of you while you are slowly climbing up the mtn. I saw Ironman Danish bombing down the hill, all the top pros, Fatty, the runner, Fast Freddy, and caught up to teammate LG. How cool!! A chance to check in with EVERYONE.
3. St. Kevins descent on the way home. You are soooo close and you know it–so, again, bomb that thing!!
4. Being done. Yeah, the finish was pretty awesome. I also got to meet celebrity The Fat Cyclist aka “Fatty” who WON the single speed division! Now that is just asking for punishment….
So, mission accomplished! 11:11 official time for DD! 103.3 miles most of which is above 10, 200ft. Not bad for a flatlander. Ironman Danish (aka freak o’ nature) finished in 7:58, Fast Freddy in 9:30, and LG in 11:37!! Great day for all of us flatlanders!!