One down, one to go….

The weekend at Leadville was a good one.  We rolled into town on Friday and went straight to race registration.  Being in it’s first year, the event was pretty low key, and had a great feel to it.  The entire Leadville crew were all there and they seemed really excited to host a low stress event and have a good time.

...the Buckle.

At registration, I learned that there were no other Single Speed racers signed up for the 12 hour event.  I also discovered that there was a nice silver belt buckle on the line for all 24 hour solo racers who did 7 or more laps.  I really wanted some other single speeders to race against in order to help keep myself motivated.  This fact in tandem with the belt buckle as a ‘carrot’ was enough to make me decide to sign up for the 24 hour race.  I figured I would do my 7 laps and call it good, while hopefully not riding much more than my originally intended 12 hours.

Saturday morning the weather was beautiful, albeit a bit chilly.  The race started with a run up a hill (while pushing or carrying your bike) that was probably no more than 100 feet high.  By the time I got to the top I’m pretty sure there was little to no oxygen left in my body, and unfortunately there was very little available in the air there at over 10K ft. to help my situation any!  Fortunately, the course mellowed out a bit from that point and there were several miles to recover before the real climbing began.  The course consisted of an 18 mile lap that stayed roughly between 10K-12K ft. in elevation and involved over 2K ft. of climbing per lap.  For some reason, I thought it seemed like a good idea to leave my 18T cog on for the race instead of swapping it out for a somewhat easier 20T.

The course consisted of a good mix of everything from a little pavement to some almost non-existent sections of trail where you simply followed course markings through the woods.  The climbing was very much present, but not brutally steep.  I was able to keep the pedals turning over and, in the end, was glad that I had gone with the harder gear.

...heading out for another lap.

I’d never felt quite so unprepared heading into a 24 hour race and was trying to block that fact out of my thoughts and just enjoy the ride.  My pit stops were leisurely compared to most races and it was nice to have that luxury.  At that altitude my legs were feeling great, but my lungs were having hard time keeping up.  I focused on keeping my heart rate below the “red line” on the climbs and tried to focus on how much fun the descents were to ‘rail’ on the Deus.

The race was from 10 a.m. on Saturday to 10 a.m. on Sunday.  I finished my 7th lap Saturday evening sometime just after 10 p.m.  I promptly changed out of my riding clothes and was looking forward to hanging out for the rest of the night.  Periodically, I would go and check on the progress of the single speeders in 2nd & 3rd place.  I had decided early on that my goal was 7 laps and that I was OK with being passed during the night and giving up the lead.

Around 5:30 in the morning, the 2nd place rider and I had both done 7 laps.  I wandered around the venue and spotted his bike leaning up against his RV and realized that he was waiting until daybreak before heading out for another lap.  I decided that if he wasn’t willing to take the lead over night, then he was going to have to earn it during the daylight hours.  I was getting sleepy so I went to lay down and asked a couple of people to let me know if they saw the 2nd place rider go out for another lap.

Around 6:30, Reba came to the tent and informed me that he was gone.  I didn’t know when he left, but I assumed that it was within the last few minutes.  I got up, quickly got dressed, and started to chase.  I chased for an hour with no sign of him.  At the top of the last climb, I was cursing my stupidity for not just doing another lap earlier and avoiding this ‘chasing’ thing altogether.  I figured the race was over and that I was needlessly doing another lap that was of no benefit to me.

Club Ride style....

I dropped into the descent and a few minutes later, I saw, caught, and passed him in what seemed like a couple of seconds.  I was taking some chances on the descent, but he was also being very conservative.  I went by and was out of sight and I’m not even sure that he recognized that it was me.  I had gone  incognito on this final lap, trading the ‘kit’ that I had been wearing for a much more comfortable Club Ride Apparel “Go West” jersey and “Cargo Away” shorts.

The finish line came quickly and I was happy to be done.  My legs were sufficiently tired and I didn’t want to ‘shatter’ myself anymore than necessary if I hoped to recover before the VT 125 this coming weekend.  I was happy to earn my buckle and get the “W” to boot!

After the race, we packed up our gear, attended the award ceremony, and hit the road.  I got home Monday night and am frantically unpacking, cleaning, sorting, and repacking for my Thursday departure back down to Salida, CO for the VT 125 this weekend.  I’m transforming the Deus into a ‘mule’ for this one.  I’m thinking that I’ll need to carry a good amount of gear with me and am hoping to keep as much of it on the bike (and off of my back) as possible.  I’ll post up a pic or two once the transformation is complete.



~ by ketchumgreg on September 7, 2010.

2 Responses to “One down, one to go….”

  1. It’s was nice to met you guys at that race. I really dig all the work you folks are putting into trail systems in the Wood River Valley. If you ride in it next year I will join you in SS solo category, although I wouldn’t consider myself competition. Have a great Winter!

    Tim Swaner (Former Wooed River Valley Resident)

  2. Hey Tim-
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I’m sorry for the late reply here. I haven’t been paying too much attention to the blog for the past couple of months. Too busy skiing!!

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing you out there next year and be sure to give a shout if you’re ever back in the WRV doing some riding. I’d be happy to show you around the new trails and fill you in on what’s coming up!


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