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!|
|Driving to Aspen over Independence Pass.|
|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!|
|View looking back at Aspen before finishing the ascent to the pass.|
|View on the other side of the pass looking toward Twin Lakes.|