This was Dave's first go at Leadville. I had met Dave a month or two earlier on a training ride with the BlackStar Racing boys from San Clemente . Dave's goal was simple, race it and complete it in under 9 hours to get the big belt buckle. He knew his goal was obtainable and he even bettered it!. Dave ended up riding a 8:12! Which is an amazing time for his first rodeo. Isaac was also riding Leadville for the first time, his goal, to complete it in under 12 hours. Which he did, riding a 11:12!! Great job guys!!
For me, I had aspirations and expectations of getting as close to 7:30 as possible. Knowing that I could go sub 8 hour for sure, I wanted more!In my first Leadville, last year I rode 8:16. I knew what to expect this year, I learned the importance of "tapering" for such a big effort, therefore would me more fresh. Being an xc and crit racer the idea of tapering for a race made little since to me. But for an 8 hour effort, you have to. I took nearly three weeks and backed off the "long" rides and brought the overall volume down. I would come in fresh for the race!! The goals were to go 7:30, be in the top 50, and not get beat by a girl(big fail btw).We were pleasantly surprised come 4:30am the morning of the race, the sky was clear and the stars were out. Knowing this would make for a cool sunny, dry day, we were happy. The idea of racing for 8 hours in soaking wet cloths and 35-50 degree temps was on everyone's minds leading up to the race. Dave and I were both in the Silver corral(second one back), putting maybe 150-200 riders in front of us. The race started fast and of course I blew myself up going up the first Climb, St. Kevins. I gathered my lungs and crammed them back down my throat and came down Powerline with a few guys just behind a large group. We worked together and pulled our way to the group as there was a lot of flat land for the next 15 miles or so. To be in a group is important at that point. I got to the twin lakes aid station(40 miles in) fast and knew I wanted to be at the top of Colombine (50 miles in, the turn around point, elevation 12,300) by the 4 hour mark, which I did. At this point I knew I was making good time. Last year I arrived at the Columbine time check at 4:20. I descended the 9 mile climb and came in to the twin lakes aid station one last time, the legs felt good and I was ready for the final 40 miles. Every think went well, I worked with guys, dropped guys, and kept eating. I came to the Powerline climb, got up and over it and descended down to Turquoise lake. I had one more climb, my time was looking good, and I had it in the tank for a good finish.
Then it happened, I made a wrong turn, or missed the turn. I'm still not sure how it happened but I remember doing this in a pre ride last year. According to the other guy I was with, he missed the turn. All I know is he was then behind me and I was hammering knowing it was about to go down hill, then flat road to the finish. It didn't, it kept going!! He said, "I don't remember descending this much on the way out". As he said that I started to panic, looking for markers that should be in the trees. I rode harder wanting to believe our turn, the decent was just over the next little kicker. It wasn't! There was a dead end! He said "Fuck, its dead end". I couldn't believe it, I turned around and descended the climb fast, trying to see where we went wrong. Next thing I know I was at the bottom of the last little kicker again and there were riders climbing up. I went in a circle so it seemed. I came up on some guys I knew and at that point I knew I had lost some valuable time, just wasn't sure how much yet.I rode it in and saw the heart crushing time of 8:18.
I didn't realize how much time that had cost me until I looked at my avg speed for the day. It was 13.2mph. I should have ridden at 7:35-7:40. Unbelievable!! I guess thats bike racing tho. Just now some 4 days later am I accepting this. I do however have something to prove next year. Im capable of going under 7:30 and being in the top 50 and that's what I'll do next year!!!
Other than the missed turn or wrong turn at the end of the race, it was an AWESOME day on the bike as usual. I was so proud to be supporting the Challenged Athletes Foundation again. I was glad to have Don Mackey who I had worked with and coached for this event out there. Don rode a 9:44 and is pumped to go sub 9 next year!! The equipment I chose and rode was flawless and went fast. The Lefty on my new Cannondale F29 was so solid on the horrifyingly fast descents. The Continental Race King tires were rock solid and the nutrition from Infinit I had trained with and race with worked perfect.
I want to thank John Tzinberg, Bike Religion, and everyone I work with at Bike Religion for the constant support they offer me. Im looking forward to racing with the team on the road for the 2014 season. For the remainder of this year I plan to race the Big Bear 50/US CUp State Championships in Oct and spend some time training and racing a few late season crits leading up to that.
I raced Leadville in 2012 and 2013 as a part of the Challenged Athletes Foundation team. I raised money and awareness of this great non profit group. Thanks to everyone who has donated thus far. I'm still shy of my goal and am hustling to get there. If you are able please donate something, anything helps. If you don't know anything about CAF please see their web page here: Challenged Athletes Foundation
CAF makes it possible for the less fortunate to compete in athletic events. Many of the people CAF helps are children who may have lost a limb due to cancer or an auto accident. Insurance companies wont cover sport specific prosthetic. The sport specific prosthetic these people need cost $30,000-40,000. 100% of the money raised goes to the less fortunate with CAF. Please consider a small donation. It really does help. And please, never take you health and your ability to walk or be active for granted. There are many people who would love and cherish the ability to run, swim, or ride a bike like you can. I still have money to raise for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Click here to go to my personal fundraising page
Stay active, be thankful, and help others!!!