This blog series follows me, an extremely average cyclist, as I go all in to complete the legendary Leadville 100 race on a singlespeed mountain bike.
It has been a while since my last post, where I basked in the glory of not falling apart at a race that had menaced me the previous year. What have I been doing the past four weeks? I don’t remember. I literally just looked at my Training Peaks app to remind me of my own whereabouts and doings. To the surprise of no one who knows me at this point, I went right back into training. It has been pretty refreshing to stay local, though our “Spring” turned into a soul-sucking Winter 2.0. It’s been great for those who are still skiing, not so great for those of us who work outside and are sick of cold extremities and dodging decomposing dog turds. Our current statewide snowpack is somewhere at one billion percent of average, so many of our trails will be slow to dry out. Naturally, I bought a road bike, and within the span of a few days, I can easily say that I got my $175 worth out of it.
For this training block, Coach has me more focused on intensity rather than volume, but so far, my heart has not been interested in revving high. This week, I decided to do a 15 mile race, the Frisco Roundup, the first of our local Summit Series races. I prepped well, ate well, and was hoping to race well, but then it started pouring. I had already been hanging out in my chamois, soaked from attempting a warm-up ride in the rain, for two hours, when the race was postponed for the following day. I showed up again, this time in glorious weather, and had a great race. I rode well, used some tactics, made a point to hydrate, and had all of the fun. I got to see lots of familiar faces, and Lee, who was stuck working late, and Dex, who raced (and won) in the rain the previous night, before they cancelled, both turned up to cheer me on. Most importantly, I learned that I can handle two days straight of pre-race shits, and still push myself.
All in all, I feel like I am making progress. I feel stronger than ever, but as the Leadville 100 looms closer, some self doubt is creeping in. I was five minutes faster this year at the Frisco Roundup than when I did it two years ago, but between all the training and the lighter bike, should I have been faster yet? I haven’t ridden any really long climbs yet this year, will I be ready for that by August 10th? I still don’t know what kind of gearing I’m going to run (spoiler alert: It’s the Wrong Gear), but what if the one I pick is more wrong than the other? Will I burn myself out riding the same three trails because everything else will stay snowed in this year? And will the traditional Leadville 100 course remain the same, or will they have to reroute due to all the snow, leaving me to try and prove myself on something lower, lesser, smaller. Whether my fears are based in much truth or not, I suppose it doesn’t matter. The doubts can hang around if they want to, but all I can really do is keep plugging away, enjoy the small victories, learn from my failures, and embrace what’s to come.
Stay tuned for a race analysis of last year’s Leadville 100 MTB, where I delve into everything I did wrong!