S0 now the big controversy the week before the race was, "Is Lance gonna be there?" There were sightings on the course and even reports that he would be there with Levi L. Then he said his hip was still sore from a crash in the tour and he would stay home.... Other big names showing? Dave Wiens, Levi L, JHK (Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski), Todd Wells, Jeremiah Bishop, Ned Overend, Matt Shriver of FLC, Travis Brown (broke his arm a few weeks before) and Tinker Juarez among others. Should be fun.My crew, Anne and the kids, and I decided to head over Thursday afternoon so that we could beat the mad rush of 1300-1500 people trying to register for the race Friday morning. We had a house to stay at with some distant relatives of Anne--Thanks Nowakowskis!! We pulled into Buena Vista and the tire is shreded! So we unloaded the car, put the spare on and I went to go find a new tire while Anne and the kids played in the park.
Here I am doing the 5min tire change. Hope I don't have to change any more tires Saturday!
Here the crew in Leadville.
It was good that we had gotten in early as the next day after I got registered in the small gym the line outside grew several blocks long. There was to be a mandatory riders meeting later. It was so crowded I went to the park nearby and played with the kids. I couldn't have gotten in anyway. Tom Verry, the rest of the crew, showed up and we went on a short ride on the first part of the course while the kids went to the pool. The weather was very nice and supposed to be nice the next day.
Friday night we got everything sorted. Since I was 28th last year, I got to start up in the front. Woo Hoo! So Tom and I drove to the start Saturday at 5:30am. It was probably 35 F out and clear. I got a spot next to Dave's brother Brian and we chatted while Tom took pictures. Then all the big dogs showed up and lined up in front of us. Starting in front is soooo nice as trying to get around all the people that think they can go faster than they can and line up toooo far forward. And then they counted down and the shot guns went off and away we went. I usually just wear a vest but this year I wore a ORANGE jacket until the first climb. See if you can see me right behind the front in these two videos!
The start.... A guy's video I linked...
A little bit farther down the road.
As you may have been able to tell the pace was fast but not scary fast like last year with Lance. It was pretty mellow really until we turned up the first climb. Here I hooked up with Troy Hiatt a Gunnison fast guy, Rebbecca Rusch and some other guys. Last year I caught her towards the end. This year she crushed us. We rode as a group to the top of the Powerline climb. Then the girls took off a minute or two ahead and the guys rode as a group to the second aid station.
Here I am coming down the Powerline descent.
At twin Lakes, I saw Anne but no Tom. Got some more water and food. There were SOOO many people here it was just crazy. They were all cheering like crazy and taking up a lot of the road as I came over the dam. It felt like a Tour de France stage.... Crazy. I think they were still pumped as the lead pack wasn't too far ahead at this time.
Now we hit the BIG climb up to the Columbine mine at 12570 ft. Here we caught Ned Overend as he was relieving himself. He hopped on his bike and we rode up the lower stretches together. I asked how he was doing. I didn't want to say, "Man you must be hurting to be back here with me!" I later learned that he gave his wheel to Todd Wells after he crashed into Levi. Then I told him I used watch him kick butt back in my FLC days and then he started to speed up, or maybe I started to slow down. It's hard to tell.
Then I see JHK followed by Levi. Both in a tuck screaming down the mountain. JHK with his Superfly 29in wheels going just really really fast. Nice. Then Wells and Wiens a few minutes back. Then just as I hit the steeper sections who do I see but the Hot Dog guy. My scrappy friend Becky Sears knows this guy and he saw my number plate and insisted that I eat a hot dog. It didn't sound very good but I reached for one, grabbed it and as I brought it to my mouth it slipped and hit the ground. Darn err good?
So far the climb went OK not great just OK. I was getting some crazy cramps for a good bit of it but kept spinning until they passed and then came back. I finally get to the top, about the same time as last year and 10 min slower than two years ago. 1:38 of climbing. Now I turned around and rode back the way we came. I was going very fast and trying to make noise so the poor oxygen starved folk coming up would get back over on their side. Then I came around a corner and there is a truck stopped on the right and bikers on the left. I hit the brakes and slowed enough to get through.
Here I am coming back through Twin lakes. I had to stop and say hey. By the way that's Dave's dad in the back ground.
The rest of the race I just didn't feel real fast. Last year I began going faster and faster over the last 40 miles and passed a lot of people. This year with the heat and my lack of energy I was just trying to not get passed. I finally made it to the finish with out losing too much time. Just before the finish my tire started spraying Stans sealant and Garth Prosser, who I had been riding with, went on to finish a bit in front. Errg... Luckly the tire sealed itself pretty quickly and I didn't have to put in a tube. Here I am finishing. 8:17 in 44th place.
Dave came over to say hey afterward. His bro came in a few minutes ahead. Nice job Brian!
Afterward I was a bit dehydrated but after a little bit, I felt pretty good. We hung out with Susan D and she invited us down for Mexican food with the Wiens crew... The next day we went to the awards deal and got another big buckle. We stopped to get coffee for the ride home and ran into Travis Brown and Dave. They had raffled off two tickets into the race to raise $ for their trail organizations. Part of the prize was having coffee after the race. They'll do it next year too! I tried to get Travis to let me help him test bikes for Trek.... He helped get the Superfly that I rode dialed in for Trek by riding several prototypes.
Then we went back over Cottonwood Pass. Here is a picture of us on a little hike up there.
Oh yeah if you were curious about the whole diabetes thing.... I took 15 units of Lantus the night before and 5 units of humalog with pancakes at 5am and nothing else for the race. I was going to test my sugar half way but I didn't see Tom who had my meeter. No biggie. On the way back at mile 80 I ate extra food so I didn't have low sugar like I have in the past. At the finish my glucose was 170ish.