Getting Dialed for Leadville

Everything is set. My bike is dialed, my nutrition plan is prepped and my legs are raring to go. Not so sure about my lungs though!

I left AZ on Saturday morning and arrived in Durango late afternoon, eager to stretch out the car legs.

Gudy’s Rest

I only got a small dose of the CO trail, but it was a nice little section of muddy singletrack. Man do I miss wet rocks and mud! It reminded me of riding in MD and PA, where I first fell in love with mountain biking almost 20 years ago.

I think the coolest part of this ride was seeing a couple of the CTR racers in the parking lot at the Junction Creek trailhead. They had finished their 470 mile long journey earlier in the day and were hanging around. They were weary eyed, but had giant grins. The CTR is a brutal, self-supported mountain bike race. I can only imagine the satisfaction of completing this race in one piece.

After my ride, I grabbed a brew and a burger at the Durango Brewery. I pitched my tent for the night somewhere in the San Juan National Forest. I arrived in Leadville late Sunday morning. Again, eager to stretch out the car legs, I decided to test my gearing and lungs by pre-riding the Columbine Mine section of the course, which marks the highest point of the race at 12,600 ft.

I was slow and steady, eager not to blow myself up. My gearing of 33/20 was feeling pretty good most of the climb until I hit grades of 19%, then it was time to hop off and hike-a-bike. Getting to the top was an absolute thrill. I’ve been dreaming of those vistas for quit some time and to be standing there, while being pelted with pea-sized hail, was pretty exciting and probably a good simulation of what conditions will be like on race day.

After the ride, I made my way to Copper Mountain, where I’m staying for the week.

Not a bad place to be for the week

I had a lot of trouble sleeping Sunday night. My heart rate was racing and I was gulping for air. I gave my self a rest on Monday and did some light hiking around the area.

Clinton Gulch Resevoir

I slept like a rock Monday night and was ready to scope out the Powerline climb/descent Tuesday morning.

I felt pretty good, but the steep grades, coupled with the elevation, seemed like they would be too much for my 33/20 on race day, so I made the decision to switch to 32/20. I took my bike to Rebel Sports in Frisco and they dialed everything in perfectly!
On Wednesday I stuck around Copper and rode some sweet singletrack around the resort.

There is a good contingent of AZ racers here in Summit County for either the LT100 or the Breck Epic (Go Melley Go!!). We had a great BBQ Wednesday evening at the Steen’s condo. It was a perfect way to end the day.
Thursday was packet pickup day. Getting my Pro card back in January allows me to start in one of the Pro corrals. I’m still behind a couple hundred racers, but it’s a great position to be in. The starting position for a singlespeeder is a big deal, especially on this course. 
After packet pickup, I did a quick video interview with Jeff Kerkove for Ergon, which was a huge thrill. I briefly talked about the two key contact points for endurance racers: the grips and the saddle. Given my wrist injury, I honestly don’t think I could even race without my Ergon GS2’s. As for the saddle, I have a few hundred miles on the SM3 Pro and it was a worthy upgrade from my Selle Italia. My sit bones almost feel like their “locked in” when I’m seated. Highly recommend.
This evening’s plan is to chill and get a good night’s sleep. I’ll do a final shakedown of the bike and gear tomorrow and spend the rest of the day trying to avoid news about the race. It’s time to forget about gear ratios, split times, etc. It’s time to decompress and embrace the fact that on Saturday, I’ll be racing my bike in the mountains of CO, with some of the most inspiring mountain bikers in the world!

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