Monday, August 7, 2017

Leadville: Thoughts and Prep and Stuff

Major edit (I'm putting this first because I feel bad that I may have come across as too self depreciating before): I don't feel inadequate per say, just I don't think I do well with pressure. I have an amazing coach and team of people in my corner and I know that the preparation has gone well, and that coach has gotten me where I need to be for this test of physical ability. I am excited to be at this place in the process, where you get to see how that work pays off. I am excited to represent such an awesome team and to participate in such a rad race, and most of all I feel incredibly lucky to be here. To everyone who said all the encouraging things this week and this year and all the time, thanks :) You all really do make a difference and I am also so lucky to have such great friends. 

I'm not one to hide my feelings, or pretend to be super confident when I'm not. I know there is a school of thought out there that you should pretend to be healthy and happy and confident all the time, and then your competition (and sponsors and all the people) will think you have everything under control. I just can't do that though, when I feel nervous or scared or worried or sick or injured it feels fake to hide that. And I've been struggling big time lately with feeling inadequate/worried about this Leadville thing.

Yeah, I just did 2 high altitude 100 mile races, but this is the big one, the only one that really matters. Hearing about the super fast women who will be there is making me nervous/uptight. Thinking about their times from the race in the past seems unattainable to me. I'm scared of how much it's going to hurt riding back up Powerline on the way back, I'm worried I'm going to fall apart and my pace is going to slow to a crawl on the back side of Kevins (the last real climb), and I'm nervous I won't live up to everyone's expectations of me (heck, I'm being honest, I know that sounds ridiculous). I think there is also this added pressure I'm putting on myself because of the fact that I essentially moved out to Colorado for the past 4 weeks specifically to acclimate for THIS race. I was so freaked out that last week I had to LEAVE the town of Leadville physically because just being there was making me freak out. I blew my last workout, and ended my long ride Thursday with back pain so severe I was almost in tears (most likely from carrying all my anxiety in my left shoulder blade).
A picture I snapped at the top of the second to last climb on the course, I wasn't a happy camper when I took the picture, but at least it was pretty out. Hopefully I can focus on the beauty on Sat, and not the pain!

The time away from the course has provided some perspective though. Along with some soul rejuvenating rides with some amazing women over the weekend, spending time focusing on enjoying my bike, the scenery and taking care of my body has helped me re-focus my perspective. I'm going into this week, the last 5 days before the big day, concentrating on making good decisions, and worrying only about the things that are actually in my control. When Saturday morning comes all I can do is my best, and if my best is second or third or fifth place, then I will be proud of that. I will spend my energy thinking about eating and drinking enough in the race, pacing myself like I did in Breck and keeping a positive mindset when things get painful. If I apply everything I've learned this summer about racing long distances at altitude I know I will make my sponsors and friends and family proud. I already know I CAN finish this race, now I get to see how fast I can do it.

In the mean time, some pictures from a weekend of remembering what it's all about and continuing to fall in love with Colorado.

Friday and Saturday I got to spend some time in Colorado Springs with my old teamie Amy. We went on a wicked good ride Saturday morning, and Captain Jack's trail had me smiling till my ears hurt and giggling like a little kid. The dirt was perfectly tacky from Friday afternoon's rain, and screaming down twisty, pumpy singletrack was a good reminder that it is after all summer vacation, and I just really LOVE riding mountain bikes! I also got to have coffee and ice cream with road teamie Leah, which was icing on the COS cake!
Amy and I both rocking Kenda tires, and loving life. Following Amy was rad because she shreds. Riding with talented women is so inspiring :) 

Amy took me on a rad tour of Cheyenne Canyon from her house, which included LOTS of single track, some getting lost, and these SWEET tunnels on Gold Camp road! 
Immediately after the ride I jumped in Van Diesel and headed to Aspen to spend a little quality time with mentor and team director Nicola. I don't get to see Nicola often, so it was really nice to spend part of the weekend hanging out with her and even going for a ride Sunday! The drive to Aspen alone made me want to cry it was so pretty, but Aspen outdid the rest of Colorado with it's gorgeous trees, wildflowers and mountain views.
Driving to Aspen over Independence Pass. 
 On Sunday Nicola and I rode to Maroon Bells with local Aspen crusher Rachel. Again, the beauty of the Rocky mountains blew my mind the whole time, and again it was SO fun riding with such good company. Rachel rocked my 2015 floral kit and made me laugh the whole way up the climb, which was upsetting to a road biker we passed ;)
I had to choose who to match, kinda wish I had rocked the floral for this one :)

Apsen is like Switzerland, it keeps getting better at every turn!

At the top of Maroon Bells there is a beautiful, crystal clear lake and a stunning view of the mountains that feed it. I can't believe this place is real!

After the ride we had a race-strategizing sesh with my gracious host Pam, which was equal parts hilarious and terrifying (thinking about how fast I have to ride on Sat). It feels so good to have such a great team in my corner, Nicola and Pam were all over it and it was exciting to talk race strategy with them over lunch :) 
Sadly after lunch I had to jump back in the van and head to Boulder because I needed to wrap up some bike maintenance stuff today on my rest day. BUT it meant driving back over Independence Pass, and this time I stopped at every chance I had to make the most of the scenery!

I think Independence Pass is my favorite place in the US. 

View looking back at Aspen before finishing the ascent to the pass. 

View on the other side of the pass looking toward Twin Lakes. 
 And now here I am, on Monday afternoon, sitting in a coffee shop in Boulder, feeling much more relaxed and actually getting excited about this race. It's going to hurt, but it's going to be fun riding with 2,000 other crazy people who think 100 miles at extreme elevation is a good time :) Bring it Leadville!


  1. The two 100 races you did already are , by far, more difficult than the roadie LV race. Ask anyone who has done them all. Especially the Breck 100. You got this.
    I feel all the same stress that I will let everyone down. I am 59 with terminal cancer. I just want 12 hours. Some of my friends are dead from cancer. Some are in wheelchairs. Let's have fun!

  2. Everything is changing day by day. Habit is also changing. It is natural. So enjoy bike riding.. overdrive sport diamondback