I got her all cleaned up, put on some new rubber, lubed her, and tightened her up. We really were intimate... I packed my bags and was ready to go. Jim Dirksen showed up at 7:30 Friday morning to give me a ride to Leadville to register and go to the prerace meeting. He is a local legend who was racing in the M5 category. It hadn't rained for weeks--Of course now it was raining.
Anne and the kids were coming over in the afternoon and we would go to Copper Mountain where we had a condo that afternoon. Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bill were going to show up and watch the kids and help Anne with crewing (and be the official photographer), respectively. But unfortunately Grandma while picking daisies, slipped. The resulting fall broke her tibia, fibula and 3 bones in her foot. So with a plate installed less than a week before the race she decided that maybe she was in too much pain without a morphine drip to come. Luckily we have some great people in Gunnison that were willing to help. Becky, my scrappy partner in the Elk Mt Grand Traverse (See post) came over that night to help crew. Emily, a Western State student, came over early as we left for the race to watch the kids.
So Jim and I headed out. As we drove up Monarch Pass (11300') we were engulfed in a thick mist. Then out of the mist in front of us appeared a large suburban. The infamous Dave Wiens. He beat Lance last year but it would be difficult this year. I think he was ready to do the race as he had been training hard. We waved and hung out behind over the pass. Leadville had low hanging clouds but the weather wasn't too bad. The registration went fast. Got a water bottle, bag, Mountain Flyer magazine and a T shirt. I also got a wrist band so I could start in the front since I was 32nd last year. This would relieve some stress. The prerace meeting was the usual. Ken Choubler rallying the troops into battle, "I Commit! I won't Quit" we shouted in unison. "You're better than you think you are, You can do more than you think you can" Then Dave comes in to huge cheers and tons of cameras flashing gave a short speech. No Lance. After the meeting, Jim and I hung out to let some clouds move over, got some coffee and went on a short ride. At 3:30, Anne showed up and we loaded the bike and headed for Copper Mountain. Becky showed up and we got everything in order.
The first thing to do was to make a peanut butter sandwich that I would be offered at mile 60 or 80 during the race but probably decline it. But WAIT we forgot the jelly! No problem, I had a vanilla gu that had developed a leak. We'll use that. Here is Anne making the peanut butter and gu sandwich.
We filled water bottles with Gu2O, got extra water for Anne and Becky, got piles of gus, power bars, tools, extra tubes and clothes. Becky helped pin my number on my jersey very aerodynamically and I got the two numbers on my bike and sticker on my helmet. I also made some pancakes for the morning and set the coffee maker to go. It was a clear night as we went to bed.
At 4:30 we got up to a light rain. Emily showed up from her sister's place in Silverthorn and off we went. I grabbed a handful of pancakes and some coffee and checked the blood sugar. All good. I had taken 15 units of Lantus the night before. This is the same as I normally take. I had been real active normally so I felt that I didn't need to reduce it.
As we headed up Fremont pass on wet roads up towards the closed Climax molybdenum mine out of the mist appears the Wien's Suburban.... We found out later that they forgot the race food! Stressful! So they were a little late like us as they had to go back. I was getting worried that I may indeed freeze this day as I tried to ride at 12000' in the rain but BEHOLD first the moon appeared and then to the south as if to lead us to Leadville it was a star. THE STAR OF LEADVILLE! We followed this miracle of light, turned on the IPOD randomly as Anne can't see to well up close these days to INXS loudly (OK yes INXS is on the ipod) and as we got to Leadville the skies cleared to a light dusting of snow on the peaks.
We parked behind Dave, Susan and his brother and got the stuff out. I pumped up my tires, gave Dave a good luck high five and we all headed up to the start line.
At the start line I gave Anne some secret sign language. I think she was more stressed out than me.
At 6:00 clouds began to flow over the mountains we were heading into as the film crew in a helicopter flew over. We sent Becky back to the car to get more rain gear! At 6:30 they shot of the shotgun and off we went. As we followed the lead car we quickly accelerated to 30-35mph. Lance must have told them he wanted to go fast...to break the record... We made it to the dirt road turn off and off we went. The lead pack was gone so fast I didn't even see them go. My pack cruised along and then began the first climb. It was misty and cool with rainbows popping up here and there. We continued quickly over the first climb and the second. Here it began to rain and fingers and toes began to get really cold. Descending the power line was wet and hard to see. I hit a bump and lost a water bottle. Since I wasn't seeing Anne and Becky for 25 mi I stopped and picked it up. Big mistake as a guy I just passed got ahead of me and went really slow down the rutted out steep road. I couldn't pass safely so I stayed behind. If I raced more, I would have passed him I'm sure. So we reached the bottom and I felt a little off. We passed through the first aid at 26 mi and then down dirt roads with smaller hills. I hit the new single track and felt really not fast at all. Cold hands, sunglasses covered with water and dirt. The single track added 0.5 mi out and back to reroute around a steep hill. I eventually got to the aid station. Anne and Becky quickly put new water bottles in and lubed my chain. Susan D. helped shove dry wind resistant gloves on my hands since I couldn't move them. Here are some shots at the Twin lakes aid.
As I began to climb, it was clearing nicely and I began to get warmer. I climbed at a moderate pace still feeling off. Last year I climbed it 10 min faster. At the start I took off my cheap plastic rain coat but couldn't get it back in my pocket so after wasting to much time I tossed it behind a tree and continued. Here are some pics courtesy of Summer R. at mi 45 or so.
Only 40 miles to go! Can't help but smile....
My blood sugar was 63 a few minutes after finishing. I think it was fine for the entire race but was probably dropping towards the end. I ate regularly--gu every 35 min. I also ate a couple of power bars during the longer climbs. We went and had some pizza and headed back to Copper Mountain.