LT100 – a race to return to relaxing

Yeah, we raced our bikes last weekend at the LT100, and I’m just now getting around to writing about it. It’s one of those things where you leave everything out there and once the next day rolls around you don’t really want to relive all the moments over again.
After camping at Turquoise Lake for four days, we had rented a house in Leadville for three nights for the race to provide us with some good sleep, washing and laundry facilities. We had set up a play camp for Bruno in Breckenridge for the time we had the house, so we dropped him off after we departed Turquoise Lake and before going to the Leadville house. What’s a few more mountain passes for Clifford anyhow, he’s quickly becoming a veteran of the mountains.

We set up at the house on Thursday afternoon rather painlessly, for it was the same house as we had rented two years ago in our first Leadville Trail 100 adventure. After we had unpacked the necessities from Clifford to the non-mobile house, we settled down for some television. After nearly two weeks without any TV, it didn’t seem like it was any better than I remembered.

On Friday, the LT100 riders meeting took a couple of hours of time in the morning, including some classic Ken Chlouber moments (I always seem to shed a few tears during these, even when I know what is about to be said). After the meeting, Robin and I headed to the house to prepare our bikes. It seemed somehow unlike us to not have had the bikes cleaned, lubed and ready to go much earlier – almost like the race wasn’t the first priority on this iteration of the event. It was almost sad to empty stuff out of Clifford to live in the house for a few days. Not that I minded warm showers and clean laundry…

Friday afternoons afternoons we delivered the box with our bottles and other nutrition to our support crew who were staying at Sugarloafing campground. I recall there were ten bottles of Roctane and close to twenty Roctane gel packs in the box. Our most wonderful crew members were going to be there for us at the Twin Lakes area on our way towards Columbine Mine and again on our return from Columbine Mine towards the return to Leadville.

The evening before the race was pretty relaxed, Robin prepared some chicken, rice and some veggies for us to fill our bellies, we also shared a bottle of red wine. Why change habits that have worked for you?

Race day, Saturday, alarm went off at 4:30am. We had some scrambled eggs, rice and salsa for breakfast. I had a lot of breakfast. This is my thing before long races and that works for me.

After eating, we packed up our bikes, got dressed up in our chosen kits for the days and headed out. Two years ago, we had ridden to the start from the house, but it was dark and cold. It also took twenty minutes. This year, we had chosen to drive downtown, park (one of our team mates had offered us parking at his rental house) and ride two minutes to the start corral. Fantastic. Except…half way to downtown, Robin realized we had forgotten our start bottles at home! We turn Clifford around, go get the bottles and get to the start area a little later than we had envisioned.

Robin and I scrambled a bit to get to our respective start corrals and settled in, waiting for the shot gun that would set us off on the course.

The gun went off. We raced. We finished.

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It was a tough day as expected, and even tougher for Robin as she suffered some completely unusual challenges with nutrition. Her finish time certainly did not reflect the “dig deep” effort she put forth, for I think most of us would have called it quits after visiting the medical tent midway through the race.

For me, looking back, had I trained as I planned since the Dirty Kanza, the time result may have been different. However, I left every bit of energy on the course and finished in 9h39 and something. A long way from my sub nine hour goal that I had set for myself last year. But somehow, after DK200, training and the LT100 race itself seems somewhat anticlimactic and the result shows it.

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After the race, we had very little to no energy left for any post race celebrations. It was off to bed early after a little food and one beer.

Now we are going to enjoy a little non cycling holiday. Our plan is to head towards Crested Butte for a few days of hiking and relaxing. We’ll see how that goes next time….

 

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