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Leadwoman – Leadville 100 MTB (8/10/19) (3rd/5 events)

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My mom gave me this years ago on a preset!

#Goatstrong peeps!

4 a.m. came early.  It was a 6 a.m. race start.  Usually, I eat breakfast 2.5-3 hours out, but the first part of Leadville is a very fast downhill for nearly 30 minutes before climbing so I would have that time to digest food longer than normal.  I was fortunate to have moved up 2 corrals from 3 years prior.  I was convinced this would help a lot.  People at the back walk a lot more.  And they do it early on.  This happened to me last time.  The race started fast just like I remembered!  Gary was right there with me.  When it was time to climb, you have to be strategic who you get behind. Will they do something stupid and make you have to get off your bike?  Because once you’re climbing and you have to get off, it’s hard to get back on and ride until it levels out.  I chose well for the first few climbs.  Then, the inevitable happened.  A guy in front of me fell over, and I couldn’t get around him so I clipped out and I’m walking. Not because I needed to though. That’s one of the many frustrating parts about Leadville.

I made it to powerline. There was a lot of talk about the regrading of powerline.  Since I didn’t get to pre-ride it, I had no idea what to expect.  Generally speaking, I LOVE to attack the downhills because I’m slower going up.  With the two crashes at Silver Rush and the unknown, I took it pretty easy.  It was still so fast and so terrifying!  I get to the road.  I’m in a pace line.  I remember Cody Brewer telling me to do this 3 years ago, but when I got to this point in the race, there was

Still in a good mood!

no was around me to pace line with.  And the people that were around me just passed me like I was standing still.  This time, I was in it.  Stude was there.  Gary was there.  I just put my head down and tried to keep up.  I had to slow down a few times because my legs just weren’t having it. I still don’t know if it was on the first climb or second that I got so behind, but when we got to Twin Lakes, I was very surprised that I was so close to the cut off time.  Honestly, I felt like the race had gone pretty well so far. Gary had said on the road part we need to make up some time, which I thought we did in the pace line.  We stopped just short of Twin Lakes at base camp to fill up on nutrition and hydration and make our way up Columbine.  Just like 3 years ago, I stayed on the bike for the 8 switchbacks up the treacherous mountain with the leaders pummeling down towards me down the mountain.  This was also the case a lot at Silver Rush. There are very few of the fast riders who care to cheer on the slow ones.  The rest of them just come straight at you and you better move out of their way or else.

Still fighting for it!

I made it up Columbine.  I could tell Gary was starting to get worried about our time.  I’d been taught by Cody before not to stay at the top for long.  The air is thin.  It’s over 12,000 ft.  Get what you need and get down.  It takes 1:45+ to get up and :25 to get down if that tells you anything.  There’s a lot of hike-a-bike in the last few miles up to the top.  And you can see the turn around that whole time!  Such a beat down.  Gary and I got back to Twin Lakes and I was chasing cut offs….again.

I already knew at this point it was going to be tough to make the 12-hour cutoff.  Off we went towards Pipeline aid station.  This is where I got pulled last time for not making the cut off.  I remember Gary telling me the whole time to pedal faster.  Get my RPM’s up.  I tried, but I couldn’t.  I had not trained doing that.  Maybe this was part of the reason I was chasing cutoffs.

Feeling defeated but it was Dr. Pepper time!

My bike also isn’t carbon and it’s dual suspension.  It weighs 1/4 of what I weigh.  I’m sure that was part of it.  I still couldn’t quite comprehend why I wasn’t doing better than I was.  I felt just fine.  Nothing was hurting.  Of course, I was tired, but there was no explanation.  Powerline was fun coming down, but not so fun going up.  I did stay on my bike for a little while, but it was mostly hike-a-bike again.  Under power lines.  With lightening.  Not the most safe environment.  And then I saw PIZZA MAN!  He had stayed until the bitter end.  For people like me.  He told me to get on my bike and he pushed me so I could ride again.  I learned that pizza man is from Flowermound, TX!  Brandon Frazier is his name.  That part I did not know!  I just know that I was glad to not get eaten alive by mosquitoes anymore and get an extra shove from a fellow Texan.  I had heard about pizza man 3 years ago but I didn’t make it far enough to see him.  Gary knew when we hit the road again we weren’t going to make the cut off.  At mile 85, I finally convinced him to leave me and try to get the sub 12-hour buckle for himself.  Off he went.

There was one more aid station at mile 91. Carter Summit.  I got there and made that cut off with 3 minutes to spare.  It had rained a lot on this part of the course. I never got in the rain, but it was muddy.  Carter Summit was also the top of  “the last climb.”  It was mainly downhill from there.  So everyone had said.  I started to descend a little and I started doing the thing.  The math thing.  Something that I know I should not be doing.  But…hear me out.  I had 35 minutes left for the 12-hour cutoff and I had 13 miles to go.  Even if it was mostly downhill, I was not going to make it. I had not averaged anywhere near 20 mph for any length of time during this entire race.  I relented.  I turned around to go back to Carter Summit.  I was going to call LP to come get me.  Was this really happening?  I wasn’t going to finish.  Again?  I get back to Carter Summit and told a nice volunteer that I just wasn’t going to finish and therefore, I didn’t see the point to continue.  I asked to borrow her phone.  She said, yes you are!  If you make it here, you have 13 hours to finish for a finisher medal.  Get back on your bike and finish this!  Was she serious?  NO WHERE…AND I MEAN NO WHERE is this stated in any rules.  This was the first time I was hearing this.  I did what she said.  Thankfully I was too tired to question it.  I jumped back on my bike and went for it.  I also decided since I wasn’t going to make the 12-hour cutoff that I would make my own award for the “muddiest rider.”  The last 13 miles I went through EVERY SINGLE mud puddle on the course.  I had fun. I was going to finish.  Then, I got to “the boulevard.”  That was just plain mean.  It was time to hike-a-bike…again.  In the last 3 miles.  I started thinking, will I even be able to ride my bike across the finish line?  I did.  With a ½ second to spare.  A ½ second people.  There was no one but my posse at the finish line.  No beer to drink.  No music. No after party.  Just my amazing family and friends.  They put that finisher medal around my neck and I could not have been happier that I did not have to come back and do this race ever again!  I had finished.

My watch said I made it!

Finisher indeed!

All smiles!

 

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