It was an amazing trip. Start to finish. Being in Leadville felt like being in a time warp… it is so tiny and historic. The townspeople are so true to their roots and genuine friendliness was all around. We felt silly even having a bike lock!On Friday, we had a bit of running around and prepping to do. We were fortunate enough to get a room in town (thanks AJ!) at the Delaware Hotel.
On raceday, 1900 riders lined up to go. Tom & I lost eachother before the gun even fired! So, I ended up only getting through the first 40 miles of the race, but still see it as a huge success. If I had tried to conquer Columbine mountain, I’m quite sure I would not have left Leadville unscathed. It was too steep for me to get down safely, especially after I exhausting myself climbing it. So I rolled into the 4 hour cut-off around 4:15, received a few hugs, and got down to business cheering I was so happy to have friends, Jen & Mike, at the Twin Lakes Aid Station to visit and cheerlead with. I saw Tom blaze down the mountain at mile 60 (looking as fresh as ever!), got him refueled, told him ‘no, you cannot stop,’ and sent him on his way back to Leadville. I was so excited for him, and again, happy that I was now on the spectating side of the day He still had a LONG 40 miles to go. Tom struggled with the heat, never-ending climbs, dehydration, and exhaustion but finished the 104 mile race!
Somewhere in Utah... The drive was breathtaking!
Canyons in Utah
The Delaware Hotel... our little home for the weekend
Yep, even the pillows have doilies!
Last Minute Preparations
Crossing the Finish Line
Uhhh Tom... You've got a little dirt on your face
The Medal... & the Muskrat
39% Racer, 61% Cheerleader... still very tired!
Post- Race Grub
An Exhausted Tom
Here we are… 15 days out from Leadville and I FINALLY had a little breakthrough on the bike! We went out for a ride in Aliso Woods, typically a most nerve-wracking experience for me, and I was able to relax and let the bike do the work – instead of me white-knuckling & screaming down hill. I think I can say that I actually had fun on the mountain bike! The only reason I wanted to stop riding was because there was no more sunlight. I’m actually thinking I may even ride after the race We have a lot of miles ahead of us this weekend, and I hope I can keep my positivity up through Leadville.
This Saturday will be our second mountain bike race… and its in Orange County! I’ve entered into the 2 lap event, for a total of 18 miles. Its the first race in Santiago Oaks and it looks like it will be great weather, a bunch of fun riders, and A PETTING ZOO!! Who could turn that down If you are interested, it is at Irvine Regional Park at 8:30 am… Come on by! Click here for the Okole Cup & Dirt Demo Day information.
A few weeks ago, Kevin Rausch (of Rausch Physical Therapy), had recommended that I see a local sports psychologist to discuss my fears on a mountain bike. After a more unsatisfactory rides, I decided that discussing my issues with falling with a professional was worth a try. So, I have just had my second session with Dr. Jack Singer and I am actually a bit more confident that I can control my downward spiral of panic while riding. We went through a hypnotic exercise designed to realign my perceptions of The Leadville Trail 100 MTB from a terrifying death march to a bike ride that I am prepared for. So far, so good I will keep you all posted, as we have a lot of riding to do this weekend!
…Or just 6 1/2 hours of Tahoe, in my case. I did not panic or have any meltdowns, but I did have issues with hydration. By my fourth, and final lap, I was 40 minutes behind pace. I’m not sure if it was the traveling, my poor race-prep, or the altitude, but I will certainly be more prepared going in to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB in 51 days! Tom, on the other hand, had a great day. He finished the full 8 hours and still had energy to go celebrate his birthday
There is still snow in Tahoe!!
The Start of the Big Blue Adventures 8 Hour Tahoe Race
- Our Rest Area
Big Blue Adventures 8 Hours of Tahoe Prerace Meeting
The Jam-Packed Chariot
We were a little bit excited and decided to leave Orange County just before 9pm last night to start out trek to Lake Tahoe. As we approached Ventura, our planned destination, we agreed that we were not tired and should just keep going to San Francisco! 10 minutes later I was sleeping.
Bikes? Check! ... Lucky Muscrat? Check!
So Tom suffered through the next 4 1/2 hours on his own as I tossed about in the front seat. Finally we arrived in the city (with our bikes still attached!) and hunted down a valet attendant. I’m sure he has put in his notice this morning after having to haul 13 bags and 2 bicycles around at 3:30 in the morning.
Kat & Tom's Arrival to The Palace Hotel
The Lake Tahoe 8 hour Mountain Bike Race is Saturday. Thats right, we are about to ride in our first MTB race EVER! I’m a bit nervous, as you can imagine, for many reasons…
1) 8 hours on pedaling a bike. Yes we can stop for breaks, but I’ve never done anything (other than sleep) for 8 hours before!
2) Riding with people I don’t know. I don’t think that the other riders are aware that I need a 10-foot bubble around me for safety.
3) Altitude. I’ve been practicing holding my breath, but I don’t know if thats going to cut it
4) Snow. There is still snow on the ground, and its melting! This leads to my next concern:
5) Mud… And lots of it. The race preview said that they are going to have to be out there raking during the race to try to help it. That can’t be good. Mountainbikers LOVE mud. I’m imagining swimming pools.
All-in-all, I am pretty darn nervous. But, I’m glad to be getting my first race jitters out of the way before Leadville!
Know what these are?
… My new corrective boots.
And these are my huge clipless, platform pedals
This is Tom’s all-out assault on my mountain biking fears. While in Mexico last week I tried a little voo-doo magic and “tapping” to conquer my fear of falling, but I still ended up walking up & down trails that I had been able to ride just months ago. So, I came home to my last hope… sissy pedals. We rode each day over Memorial Day Weekend and I must say that my comfort has increased with more technical areas He may have done it! I may actually be on my way down a mountain without panicing or crying! I am pretty much in love with my new pedals, but climbing is much more difficult without a powerful back-stroke. I certainly will not be able to get through Leadville without clip-ins… doh!
Tools for Balancing Drills
For some reason, it seamed like a perfectly rational idea to ride our road bikes to downtown San Diego this past weekend. We were wrong. For Saturday’s ride down we had excitement, the half-way goal of meeting Julie (a breakfast stop!), and unscathed behinds.
50 - Mile coffee stop
Our Well-Earned Pit Stop
Aside from a moderate headwind and some scary traffic getting to the Gaslamp District, we made it to the Westin with smiles on our faces.
Out of the Saddle, Finally!
The way back was not as fun. After the second rainstorm, the wind changed direction and we had a 20-30 mph constant headwind. It was absolutely exhausting. The ride home took nearly an hour longer than the way out, and it took every ounce of optimism to not quit & throw our bikes on the train.
30 Miles to go...
I must say, I am very proud of us for not giving up. We both have new, random aches & some funny tan lines, but in the end we are proud of our 180-mile weekend. It also gave us a little lesson in suffering, which, I’m sure will be present throughout Leadville.
Serious Windburn, a Bruised Forehead, and Chin-Strap Tanlines
Overlooking Orange County from Blackstar
So, AJ, Tom & I set out to climb Blackstar at about 6:45 pm tonight. I was decked out with my lighted helmet and mega flood light on the handlebars… but for some reason I was ‘certain’ we’d be back before I would have to turn them on. Boy was I glad I ended up having them! One of these days I will learn to listen to people who are real mountain bikers…
It really was THIS dark!!
Low & behold, I needed my lights. Hummmm. As we climbed (and climbed and climbed and climbed) the animals came out and the temperature dropped. By the time we made it all the way up it was pitch dark and absolutely FREEZING!! AJ begged for me to hurry down the trail, but we all knew it was going to take me LONG time to get myself down.
Tom & Kat, nearly frozen
Cold & Scared (but still smiling!)
I survived my first night ride on dirt – huge exhale- It was a big day for all of us, as it was my first night ride, AJs first ride on her new 29er, and Tom finally beat me up the mountain!
AJs new wheels!