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It's Time for the LT100 Race Report

Posted Oct 04 2009 11:14pm
It's been a month during which I have gotten some much needed rest and rejuvenation. Quietly getting work done, getting caught up at home, doing some other things "for fun" in order to reload and get back to a point where I WANT to get on my bike. You ask... "not get on your bike?"... yes, b/c you can't go full tilt all the time. And often by getting off for a little while or mixing up the normal routine you greatly improve b/c we all need good rest. That doesn't mean I have been "active"... you know me better than that!

So... the story of my 2009 Leadville 100 mtb race? Okay, here we go!

By race morning I'd been in Colorado for 15 beautiful days. Hiking, riding, and exploring had been both fun and well scheduled to have me as ready as an east coaster can be for the race. The pre-race meeting for the LT race is always a treat, and with all of the hype surrounding the Showdown -- Round 2, it was an awesome experience again. Lance didn't make an appearance, but crowd favorite and 6-time champ Dave Wiens did along with hundreds of other heroes and heroines. One of the coolest moments was when those who had finished 10 or more races stood, and the few dozen were whitled down to the 3 gentlemen that had finished every LT100 since its inception. Awe inspiring!

I woke up early, even for my version of early, on race morning... 2:30AM. With almost 6 hours of sleep I had breakfast, hit a quick shower, suited up, grabbed what gear wasn't already in the truck, and off we went. It was raining at the house and basically all the way to Leadville. As we neared the Climax mine, with my head starting to play "rain games", I popped on my IPod and just closed my eyes... if this was to be how the 09 LT mtb race would go, I wouldn't back down and had prepared for it. I didn't realize it, but I actually fell asleep in the last 15-20min of the drive. When I woke up we were in Leadville,and the rain had stopped giving way to a partly cloudy-starry sky. Sweet... maybe we've got a chance to stay dry...

At 5:30AM it was 35-36 degrees F. Over the next hour I made multiple bg checks, one last inspection of the bike, gathered up the food, water, and the gear I'd need (yes, packed the rain jacket at the start) for the first 40 miles. Then it was really just a "hurry up and wait" scenario -- get warmed up, stay warm, final pit-stops, and watch the media frenzy along with the building anticipation of the other 1200+ non-pro's getting ready to roll into this beast of a race -- 100 miles @ elevations from 9200 to 12600 with aid/check stations @ 23, 40, 60, 76 mile marks and over 13,000 feet of climbing total... all with the goal of an official finish of under 12hrs (avg finisher times fall in the 10-12hr mark).

It was a fun sight to watch overall. Most of my crew had never been to the LT and they were really excited, anxious, and to a degree nervous... they were familiar with the course, many have "played" with me on numerous occassions in bad weather during ice climbing, mountaineering, and riding trips, so they knew what the weather potentially held. They were amazed by the media... Carlleena looked at me with mouth agape and pointed up... I said "Yeah, we normally don't have a helicopter for video coverage!" ;) There were webcast crews all over the place and the film crew from Citizen Pictures shooting a feature film of the race called "Race Across the Sky" -- RAS will be in theatres on Oct 22 (

My bg's had been a little high that morning which isn't abnormal since my "nighttime" basals are regularly MUCH lower than my daytime rates. When I woke it was 137. Knowing it would be a little up b/c of breakfast and with the drive from the house I bumped my temp rate to match what my normal daytime basals are. 2 hours after breakfast I was 227 with 2.3u IOB... not bad, but I needed to watch it. Since I tend to get adrenaline spikes at the start of big events, I wanted a little "extra" running when I started the race but not overkill. At 5:30 I was 187... still a bit high given my IOB and an increased % chance for a spike... so I bolused .5u. At 6AM I dropped my basals to 35% of normal & a bg check had me @ 171, which warranted a gel about 15min into the race due to the IOB... perfect b/c that'll put it before the first climb up Kevins!

At 6:30AM MST, Ken C ticked off the final countdown and gave the traditional LT shotgun blast to start the race. As the leaders screamed off the line at over 30mph (while behind a leadout by the Leadville Police), the helicopter roared over the heads of the rest of the field. It was 37 degrees. I had positioned myself just behind mid-pack knowing it would be a bit of a traffic jam up Kevins but also knowing I couldn't run with the big boys up the first climb if I was going to survive the day. The sun had already broken the horizon behind us and illuminated the 14ers in front of us and coming over Mt. Massive was a wispy gray cloud that moved towards Turquoise Lake. Within a minute or two a huge rainbow shown and the right side came down on top of St. Kevins. Rolling along @ 20-25mph many folks around me were talking about how pretty it was & another guy and I verbally agreed but also pointed out that it meant it was raining on Kevins... I remember the face of one lady changing as if she'd seen a ghost... All I could do was smile and in my head shout "Welcome to the Leadville Trail 100!" also thinking of the old Mountain Hardwear ad that read "Somewhere in the back of your twisted skull, you were hoping this would happen...". If you know me well, oh how that fits so many times when I have the most fun!

Just barely a quarter-mile onto the gravel road leading to Kevins we passed the first severe casualty... an older gentleman had crossed wheels with another rider & gone down hard... I later heard he had broken his clavical and possibly some ribs. With almost 1400 riders total, the course was packed and it was important to hold your line, only changing when you knew you could and there was a hole. As we approached the base of the Kevins climb I saw the helicopter moving towards the west over the ridge... leaders were past the switchback and heading towards the fast rolling section on their way to the pavement @ Turq Lake.

The climb was 3 lines wide and many folks were struggling hard in the thin air. Kevins is a steep climb and one you want to ride briskly but not too hard. I picked my way over to the far right line b/c the speed of the group was slowing on the steepest sections, and I could walk and push at the same speed w/ a lower HR impact while basically keeping my place in the line... sounds funny I know, but it's SLOW in that pack and often safer than trying to spin and balance amongst so many others. On the bike for anything but the steepest sections and heaviest traffic I realized I was tackling the climb faster than I had in previous years and faster than my pre-ride the week before (when I was still acclimatizing). One of the highlights was riding near 2 different couples on tandem mtb's -- talk about guts!

After I made the switchback, I realized that many people were following one another as if this were a singletrack line, but much of this area still has 2-3 lines. Often the line the group was on was the "cleanest" but the 2nd line isn't much worse so I used these 2nd & 3rd lines whenever I needed to and again realized I was steadily gaining ground. Don't get me wrong, some of this Kevins area is singletrack b/c of rocks, berms, or debris, but much is classic Rocky Mtn fireroad.

I popped out on the Turq Lake road in just under 50min. I'd gotten in my ~60g of carbs during this first hour and now the weather was the "debate". It had begun to rain and gotten harder as we got to the pavement. From the Kevins exit to the western point of Turq Lake it is FAST downhill, then uphill to the Hagerman's Pass Rd, which leads to the backside of Sugarloaf and Powerline. I knew there was a "cork" of people behind me and many hadn't seemed comfortable descending little sections on the trail, so I decided to forgo the jacket for a little to build some distance. I hit 38mph on the pavement downhill and the rain had basically become a mist with only the tire spray being heavy. Lots of people were pulled over grabbing jackets from that point all the way up Hagerman's, but the climbing was keeping me warm.

As we hit the backside of Sugarloaf I was finally with a group riding at similar speed, but as we neared the top the mist was really thick and it started to rain harder so I pulled and donned my jacket knowing I would at least need it on the Powerline descent. Thermometer on my Camelbak said it was 36 degrees... that + wet = NOT GOOD! Only lost a minute and actually caught back up to the bunch I'd been with after just a short time. When we started to crest the top they all stopped for their jackets before P-Line, and I don't think I saw but one of them the rest of the day.

Powerline is a pretty technical descent in dry conditions. It has lots of lines to choose from in many places but usually only 1 of these lines goes all the way through each section... the others either end in the trees, rocks, or giant ravines and ruts that you either find a way to jump or you dismount. It's pulverized granite on a hard granite sub-surface or really loose sandy-pebble soil with lots of good sized rocks thrown in. The rain had made it even more interesting... better in spots and harder in others. Given that this was the VERY first technical descent I ever did (gotta remember Leadville 06 was the first mtb race I ever did), I love P-Line! Yes, it's obvious if you screw up, you're going to get hurt but it's also one of those descents that if you maintain control and properly scout far enough ahead you can scream down!

The two most vivid memories I have of this year are: 1. we were all FREEZING!!! My hands were working well enough to hold the bars and my index finger could operate the brakes, but I was visibly shivering with the entire rest of my body... my teeth were chattering -- I was in mild hypothermia slipping towards signs of moderate but the adrenaline of the descent was working! I was still smiling... ;) and 2. a rider just barely 2 bike lengths in front of me went down on a steep wet rocky section where there was only really 1 line. Mentally I went "holy s#$%, here we go!" He lost traction on the front wheel which peeled out left, and he fell head/shoulders downhill right in the middle of the trail... basically taking up the whole trail. Funny how fast your brain works in over-drive... option 1 -- we're riding over his bike, option 2 -- we're riding over him... and either way we're probably going down too! I mean I was basically sitting on my rear wheel, grabbing brakes for all I could without endo'ing, yelling my head off so the riders behind me wouldn't pile into us, and realizing there was no where to go... he was strown across the whole trail! Even trying everything I wasn't going to be able to stop before I got to him... and then his feet came out of his pedals and the bike slid into a rut to the left as he began rolling to the right. I yelled to see if he was ok, to which he (as he rolled) replied "yes", and I told him to stay right... there were at least 5 other riders right on my tail at this point... and I shot an 18 inch gap (still with he and the bike moving down the hill) knowing if either of them bounced back in the line as I was coming through, I was done!

The rest of P-Line was a blur... literally when I got down I remember thinking "that's it?" Still with my jacket on I now popped out on the Hatchery road (CR 300), fell in with a group of riders just ahead of me, and stayed in the draft while I ate as we came to Halfmoon Rd. and into the H-Moon aid station. I stopped just long enough to check my bg & take off my jacket b/c the rain had broken in the valley and the sun was out -- I knew it was going to be a warm run into Twin Lakes. My bg was 124. I felt fairly good, still a little chilled, but I knew I'd warm up and with some calories in I'd stoke the fire better.

This is the section that most people dislike in the race b/c they say it's boring. But, it's the area where you get some recovery between the efforts of the first 20 miles and the climb from Twin Lakes to the top of Columbine. I rolled it as fast as I could without pushing LAT at all and ate while I rode. I still had a little chill from clothes drying as I approached the new section of trail that rerouted around The North Face, which "outbound" is a multi-switchback descent. The guys at the LT shop had told me some of these corners were still a little weird... broad sweeping at entry but ending tight. Overall this section wasn't bad and the builders had done a great job... yes, it takes longer than the old TNF route, which just dropped straight off the hilltop, but it wasn't very technical other than you want to stay on the trail (otherwise you ride into thick sagebrush).

As I made my way up the last moderate hill before you drop into Twin Lakes I was expecting to see the leaders coming at any point... in my previous attempts Dave W would come by me here as he was inbound and 2 years ago Landis went by me inbound as I got to T-Lakes. To my surprise I dropped over the top and as I made my way to the check station... no leaders! Without even looking at the clock I knew that meant I was ahead of the cutoff.

As I rolled through the check station I could see my crew holding up there signs... Goal #1 accomplished! They told me my time before I even checked my watch... 3hrs, 41min... almost 20min's ahead of the "cutoff" (which often is actually 4hrs 10min). A quick bg check yielded 141. They refilled my Camelbak while I inhaled a small stack of Pringles, 1/2 a poptart, and reloaded my pockets and Bento box. As we're doing all of this someone yells "Here comes somebody..." (from the Columbine direction) and I look right with my back to the course to see a motorbike with a camera crew and think "... are they in front or behind him...". Then Big Ken says " he went that way" and points to my left... and sluggishly I turn like "Huh???" Carlleena says I think that was Lance and Liz echoes the thought. Someone says "But he wasn't wearing a LiveStrong jersey?" I ask if he was wearing a Mellow Johnny's jersey, Liz says yes, and I confirmed it was Lance.

While I'm standing there eating, figuring out the Lance leading question, taking "orders" (gentle prompts) from Liz, I realize that my crew is so extremely ecstatic about me getting to this point so much stronger and faster than past efforts. Liz has become my official crew chief considering how many races she's gone to this year... she knows the "needs" and routine like clockwork. Big Ken and Miss Patty were the only ones who'd been to this race before. Helping them out were Liz's mom & dad, her brother Forest, Carlleena (from here out referred to as "C"), and Marcy. Liz's mom took the above pic of Lance and many of these below during the race (thanks Susan!)

At this point I know I'm tired, but I also know the engine has plenty of life left... and I'm going to need it b/c the biggest climb of the race is next... 10 miles from T-Lakes to the Columbine mine @ 12600' (3400 feet of gain)... and the clouds are thickening but spotty. I've done a climb similar to this in NC -- Curtis Creek road in the ORAMM -- but this has real altitude added to the mix. And even if it's sunny, at over 12K, the temp is going to be quite a bit cooler. I also knew there were some two short steep hills from T-Lakes to the base of the Columbine road, so that C-bine climb proper is actually only 9 miles. Now it's pretty warm finally so I removed my jacket and stuffed it in my C-bak... I'd regained complete feeling in my hands and my clothes were dry... A GOOD THING!

As I headed out, not .5 miles past the lakes Dave Wiens passed me on his way inbound. I knew he was minutes behind Lance at this point, but I also knew you can't count him out... he didn't win 6 LT100's being soft! This is a shot of Dave that Liz's mom got as he came back through T-Lakes inbound...

The initial miles of the Col climb are gorgeous mature aspen groves. It was during this time that I saw fellow Type 1 diabetic racer Jarral Ryter fly by in a pretty big group on his way inbound -- Jarral is a multi LT finisher and earned a top 100 starting spot last year. I yelled as he flew past as it's awesome to see another T1 having a great day!

The wind was picking up off and on, and it was partly cloudy so when the sun was out it was hot and when it was behind a cloud it was chilly. I couldn't really find a happy medium. I hadn't gotten rid of my arm warmers and for a while I pulled them down. As you climb higher you move into conifer forests. Being a forester & wildlife biol professionally I know this and also from "adventures" know this is where the weather conditions begin to make considerable shifts. I felt a little "out of gas" at one point, so I got off and did a few minutes of "hike-a-bike" to lower my HR and eat. Figured I needed a little bit more fuel in the tank and a quick bg check confirmed it as I walked... bg was 102. (Thirty min's later it was 158 -- Gummie bears & a Gu to the rescue!)

When on the bike I realized I was in a long procession of bikes separated from each other by only about 20-30' as far as you could see. It was a climb... aka everybody suffers until you get to the top. I laughed aloud when I realized too that we were ALL in granny gear and the revelation of a 29er's benefits began to show -- in the same gear, pedal stroke for stroke, I caught and passed many other riders on this climb. It was just a true iconic, real life, real-time example... and it made me wonder how fast Dave or Lance would be on a 29er vs the 26's they were riding... at this point, we can only imagine...

Sure I hit low mental points on this climb, everybody does. But it's one of those things Ken C talks about in the LT pre-race meeting... he's a man that would know having RUN 20+ LT 100's and finished more than 10 of them! But like anyone who loves climbing knows, everybody suffers and it doesn't stop until you reach the top... so calm down, sit back, and patiently let the climb come to you. I will admit that at this point I was really missing not having my IPod on... I'd given it up b/c of the weather earlier and was now kicking myself a little! But that's when I thought of something Jen D told me one day riding Cycle NC when we were both hurting... try to smile, keep trying to smile, eventually it'll work and you'll feel better! I laughed aloud again, now smiling, and began to mentally sing songs in my head from my IPod riding playlist.

As you start to break treeline, you're still a long way from the top, and the trail gets royally rough and rocky with some off camber sections thrown in. While Lance, Dave, and many of the leaders get to pick the best line up and at least part way down we in the middle and back have to share both ways. Often that means taking the crappy line. It was in this section that I began the major hike-a-bike and I put my jacket back on b/c the wind had a harsh bite now even in the sun. Just as earlier on Kevins, I could keep up with others spinning in granny gear while I was walking and it gave some of the muscle groups I'd been working a break -- it actually felt good!

This was also the third time I laughed -- 1. b/c no one I know at home is crazy enough to do something of this sort, 2. this kind of suffering fits me to a T, 3. I had never pushed my bike that far in my life, and 4. b/c no matter how much of a cyclist I have become over the last 3 years, apparently I still excel better at mountaineering! I say that b/c of the old saying, "What is mountaineering? It's walking uphill, carrying a heavy load, while not feeling very well."

There were sections I rode once we got higher up and on better terrain (aka something I could get out of granny gear on... at least a little while). The most memorable was near the top of the where I caught up to one lady who thought she was going to die, at least that's what she was saying. We chatted for about a hundred yards and when we got to a rideable section I suggested we get back on. She was cold, didn't have a jacket, just wanted this to end... and as we started to pedal... it started hailing on us. Light at first and I remember looking down saying "that looks like styrofoam... what the hell?" Then a piece hit my face and I felt the cold, wet texture as it fell harder. I thought "holy s#$%! Can this race throw anything else at us today?" Luckily it didn't last long, just one single cloud.

While I was at T-Lakes aid station, I had told my crew that if Lance stayed on pace he'd finish about the time I reached the top of Columbine. Literally not 1-2min's after I got to the top one of the aid station workers said "Lance just finished in 6hrs 28mins and change." Wow! He did it and it really did take me 3 hours to climb this dang thing! It was chilly up there and given that Lance had just finished in 6.5 hrs I knew that meant I had only 5.5 hrs to get back to town... boy was this going to be a push... but at least I knew the next 10 miles would go by pretty quick. I didn't check my bg here, just ate about 45g of carbs (including one of the best cups of Ramen noodles I've ever had! I knew & felt like I was VERY likely trending lower than I wanted to be... who'd have guessed that with 3 hours of climbing (duh!)...

I don't believe I fully processed how fast the 10 miles down were going to be until I left the station, crossed the upper "flat" back to the top of the descent and looked down. "Oh wow! This is gonna be fun!" No, that wasn't sarchasm, it was sheer joy & excitement. The upper section is nasty rocky b/c with riders coming up, you are relegated to the right side of the path. There are two options here... full slow or just stay off the brakes and ride the heck out of it! Another guy and I rode basically the whole way down "together", catching and passing lots of people over the course of the next minutes with no one passing us. Literally we were going fast enough I lost track of time b/c of the focus needed on the course. I was consistently averaging 30-35 mph for 85-90% of the descent -- I broke my mtb "personal speed record" hitting 43mph! (and I wasn't trying to...)

I rolled back into the Twin Lakes aid station and was met by Liz, her dad, brother, and mom. The rest of my crew had already gone to the Pipeline aid station to prep for me getting there. I was feeling a little better overall, but could tell the fuel tank was starting to really run low. Bg check came in @ 116. Yep, tank isn't full... They reloaded me with everything + I requested an extra pack of gummie bears in my Bento.

At this point I was kind of surprised to be honest -- what took me 3 hours to climb took 34 min's to descend. I thought coming into the station that I was going to get cut off. When I said something about it, Liz's dad said, "You're actually @ 30-35 minutes before they cut-off this station... you've actually GAINED time on your 40 mile cut-off split!" I couldn't hardly believe it... and at the same time knowing the course, and the approximate times inbound required to make the 12hr mark, I knew I was on the bubble. From here in I would need even more of "the race of my life" than I'd had to this point if I was to make it. I bolted from the T-Lakes station trying to be efficient, not press my heart rate too hard b/c I would need it later and so that I could digest food... food I knew I was starting to desperately need!

One of my primary race fuels late "in the game" is Haribo Gummi Bears. This is the point where very much fat and protein just sit and knot things up, so it's simple carbs, as often and as much as I can take. Friends have described my "reaction" to them late in a ride as me gaining the energy of a 4-yr old. I've tried gels... too slow. I've tried other "sugars"... upset my stomach. Fats & proteins this late... gut lock & gastric cramps. Most food at this point doesn't even taste good, but gummi bears do!

As I ate, I pedalled. Basically from T-Lakes to Pipeline inbound you're gaining elevation in short bouts and most of it comes on the hillside singletrack that replaced the North Face. I felt good by this point and was cranking it out w/ a good HR. Continuing on the next obstacle is MF Hill... something now one really pays any attention to outbound because it's a short, steep downhill that's just a little loose, but not technical. Uphill is an entirely different story. The pack I was running in hit the hill, which is a steep hike-a-bike section, and when we topped out you could see the pain it had caused. One guys looked at me and said, "I think I'm good when I get to Pipeline. This is enough for me." Many decided they were going to stop and take a break.

I had a completely different opinion... we were under the gun. I refused to stop or rest. This was what I came for. If I wasn't going to finish I was going to leave everything out on the course in my effort. I would not back down from this, the memories live to long in your mind! What I did notice really quick though was that my HR had spiked hard and after a few minutes back on the bike I had the ominous realization that my HR had dropped WAY BELOW what it should be running... I pulled out my glucometer and tested in flight -- reading was 127. So now still in flight I'm navigating while contemplating what's happening and if there's anything left in my bag of tricks to "fix it"...

It didn't take long. Kind of like watching a car race when one of them loses a cylinder... I'm figuring mileage, looking at speed, thinking about time, and watching as I can't turn over a large enough gear to manage an average speed anywhere close to what I need to... and there's nothing I can do about it. I switched gears. I stood. I spun. And through it all my heart rate stayed low... and when I say low, I mean almost as low as sitting on the couch resting. Reality sunk in. The "engine" was cooked and all I could do was limp in at this point. If I could make it to the station before the cut off, I knew I didn't have the horsepower to make it in by 12hrs. Yet, mentally the racer in me sprang back to life -- I began thinking about many of the quotes I've collected over the years and things I've said to folks & things folks have said to me, like... (here are a few of the short ones)

"Get off the couch!" "

"Failure is not the falling down, it's the staying down." -- climbing quote

"Talent is only part of the equation. The rest is drive, endurance, heart, determination, and an acceptance of the pain." -- Anonymous

"Worry is wasted energy." -- Anonymous

"It ain't about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward... how much you can take and keep moving forward!" -- from "Rocky Balboa"

And then I looked down at my bike... to which I had taped a long strip of athletic tape and written Ken C's Leadville Trail quote, the "I refuse to quit" saying from the pre-race meeting, and a list of "reasons" why, thinking of, whom, and for what I was riding: Liz, Marge, Bird & Miss B, Ken & Miss Patti, C & Marcee, my family, Liz's family, Type1Rider, JDRF & CWD, T1 friends, and the kids & parents that live w/ type 1 diabetes everyday. As I fought back a few tears that weld up w/ that determined stern grin some have seen, I shifted to a bigger gear, put my head down and started singing the George Canyon song "Quitters" in my head as I rode as hard as I could. The next miles were a blur w/ vague memories of a few people cheering on the sides of the course.

I came into the long straightaway to Pipeline not feeling any better... the gas tank was empty. I glanced at my watch and it read 3:04PM. As I neared the station I recognized Liz & Carlleena walking towards me on the edge of the course, and as they got there I could see that both were fighting back being upset. I stopped at them and just put my head down on my handlebars... not upset, not disappointed, not frustrated. I struggled to catch my breath -- I was wheezing... my airway was inflamed and tight. I had missed the cut-off by 6 mins. And yet, I was extremely calm and satisfied on many levels... I'd had one of the best races ever ON the day I intended to and had left everything I had in me out on the course in the effort. I hadn't failed, I just wasn't "official" by the course standard... yet! As I told them standing there... I still have work to do...

The picture above was shot by Liz's mom after I had 5-10 mins to get settled down a little. (Pictured from left to right: Liz, me, Big Ken, and C... not pictured are Miss Patti, Liz's fam, and Marcee) The final total was 76 miles in 9:06 w/ between 9K - 10K feet of climbing. It had taken me a little over an hour and a half to ride from T-Lakes back to Pipeline... I'd lost all of my "advantage" I had gained earlier. I was a bit dehydrated, but not much... not much fluid intake needed before I visited the facilities. My bg reading here was 96 and it stayed between 75 and 115 well into the next day... I had completely cooked off the carb grams of over an entire big pack of gummi's after I left T-Lakes... gas tank was not big enough, so yes, more work to do!

I didn't develop any edema, but I had airway inflamation for the next couple of days. Normally post-race my bg's rise given the lower insulin levels and any food still digesting. It didn't really happen here. I wasn't carb depleted, but I didn't have any excess in my system either. As we stood and talked, I can't describe how proud I was to have such a supporting group of people in my crew for this. Of course they still said I was nuts... but shortly after... C began saying she might be interested in a future entry as well! Oh yeah... did I mention how tired I was...

We headed back to Leadville and watched a few of the 10hr finishers come in, then took off back to the house. After dinner, a session with the massage jets in the jacuzzi, and dessert (gotta love post-race rewards!), I called it a night and slept about 12 hours. Sunday morning Liz & I got up, put some things in the truck and headed back over the Leadville to catch the end of the buckle ceremony where Dave Wiens stuck around to accept his age group trophy to match his 2nd place overall finish -- Dave got a standing ovation!

As a last "event" for the trip... Liz ran the LT 10K run that day @ noon! I was very proud of her! Later that afternoon we caught up with everyone else in Breckenridge, and as we made our way back to the house near Hoosier Pass it was snowing! What a way to finish the trip!

Looking back...

Leadville is one of those events that definitely "gets you". I probably drift to memories of it at least once a day. Yet at the same time, even over a month later, I'm not disappointed with my performance. Disappointed in a way that I didn't officially finish... Well, yes. But not with how that day went for me. As Jay Hewitt tells everyone in his presentations, you've gotta set goals with high failure potential. You've got to push and test yourself in order to see what is inside and what you're made of. It makes you stronger. It makes you better.

I learned a lot that day about myself that I figured I knew. But it's an awesome feeling to have it really come out when the time arises. I didn't quit... heck, I literally refused. Physiologically I was fried before I got to Pipeline, and yet I still found more inside to keep at it. I safely raced as a type 1 diabetic in the biggest race of it's kind in mtn biking. No, it wasn't enough when compared to the standard, and yes, the competitor in me has been hard at work since I stepped off the bike formulating ways to continue to improve. Big goals and dreams wouldn't be worth the time and effort if all you had to do was show up! I sincerely hope that Jarral and I inspire some child with type 1 to tackle a major challenge they have. Maybe it's on a mtn bike, maybe it's in some other endeavor. Personally, I will be back to Leadville again, no doubt!

If all of this has piqued your interests, you should really check out the feature film that was shot during the race this year. Of course the media focus was on the Lance vs Dave rematch, but the film makers did a lot of work to capture the stories of the non-pro racers that attempt this event... a couple of whom have finished EVERY SINGLE Leadville Trail 100 mtb ever held! On October 22 this film will hit theatres nationwide for a one night showing. The film is titled "Race Across the Sky" and the website

...Lastly, I want to thank a couple of people that have helped (and tolerated) my efforts over the years and as I've chased the LT100 dream... Liz, Bird & Miss B, Marge, Big K & Miss Patti, C & M, Lynn, Doug, Bill, Jarral, Brent, Lauren & her fam, Judith & Danny,E, Rick, Joe, Dostou, Camille, Jen D, G-baby, Si, Scott, Horm, the Cary crew, Tony & Kir, T1R teammates & friends, Joe E, my campus counterparts, Ross, Meredith, Al, Sandy, and all of the other folks that constantly keep tabs on me. Many of you are inspiration and motivation for me. I couldn't do any of this without each of you in some way. Thank you!

Alright, I'm out. Next up... cyclo season (for fun) & the rest of my run training in prep for Disney... Take care --J

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