Monday, August 17, 2009


In short... I SUCK on a mountain bike...

The race started well... lots of bikes on the start line, so many that we actually couldn't get in the corral... but the gun went off and people started to move and we eased in and were on our way. I hung with Drew the first few miles on the pavement... saw a rainbow ahead. I thought this was a good sign... pretty rainbow and all... but forgot that rainbows are due to sun hitting rain... and we were heading straight towards that rain.

Got to the dirt and settled in for a long ride. Saw the first casualty, a guy down on the side of the road with a likely broken collerbone. Ouch! Don't want to be him! We hit the first climb, which I had prerode the day before, but not with a thousand of my closest friends. Add them in and it was a trackstand/crawl followed by a foot down and group trudge. Okay, no biggie. 3-4 miles up and finally there was some free space. Breathing heavy, but feeling okay. Starts to sprinkle. Starts to RAIN. The trail goes up and down and then hits a paved road and screams down. BRR! Soaking wet and cold.

Then we start going up, and up. Road turns to dirt/rocks/mud/wet. Alternate riding and trudging. My brakes (oh yeah, I have regular old rim brakes) are full of grit so my bike pulls and grinds with every roll. Still plenty of folks around. It's fun, miserable, and goofy. I have to laugh. I dread what comes at the top of the hill, a steep downhill through the powerline that Drew and I hiked up to take a looksee at the day before. I made it down on my bike, but was a total pansy doing it. Everything was slippery and muddy, and there was alot of skidding going on but I knew it was better to ride than hike...

Hit the road at the bottom and saw I was at 23 miles... CRAP! I have 17 miles to go and just over an hour to do it before the cutoff. Between the rain, the mud, and my general suckiness that first 23 took WAY too long! Tried to rally the guys around me to work together to try to make it but they just looked at me dazedly so I took off. Held speed til the next climbs and then realized there was just no way.

Came to a sweet downhill singletrack. Was near the bottom when Lance came up. Pulled to the side to let him by and got a smile and a Thank you. (We're best buddies now, think he'll put me on his christmas card list?).

Pulled into the aid station a half hour late, and they took my chip and wristband. Waited for Drew to come back by then rode it back to town on the roads...

Drew had an okay day, 10:30 for the finish. Slower than planned, but fun all the same.

So? What's next? Will I do it again?

Next up is the 24 hours road race, the Ring of Fire near Portlan in September.
Then I'll end my season by teaming up with Drew at a 25 hour mountain bike race in St George on Halloween. What can I say, I like getting muddy!

Leadville again? Maybe some day. I do really enjoy the MTB despite my lack of skills, or maybe because of it... but I think I'd need a new bike, and to go pre-ride the course several times before I commit to the race again. I do think I'll see about keeping the MTB in my schedule next year, but lowkey as strength rides... maybe a lil 50 miler on a course I ride alot (the Front Range 50)...

Back to the roads!

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