THE ROAD TO LEADVILLE: Final Touches?
Wednesday August 11, 2010 – This is where it gets funky and I’m sure I’m not alone here. Every day closer to the event, the more I wonder if what I’m doing is the best thing to be ready on Saturday. If only I had a coach, he or she could tell me exactly what I need to do and, even though they don’t really know either, I’d feel much better about it. Just the right amount of riding to prime the system but not too much so you’re tired. Now how are we supposed to figure that one out?
Earlier this summer, my plan was to ride less this week, including today’s ride, which is the last sort of ”training” ride before the race. Then, I also planned to ride very little on Friday and not on the course like I’ve always done (The only preriding of the Leadville course I have ever done consists of riding St. Kevins through the Powerline descent from the parking lot by the railroad tracks the day before the race at a very easy pace. It takes 2.5 hours.) Tomorrow (Thursday), I will either not ride or just spin very easy around Gunnison. That won’t change; I always rest two day out. And, I’m considering doing the usual preride on Friday, now.
Today (Wednesday), historically has been a longer endurance ride on my race bike: 4-5 hour and 5,000 to 6,000 vertical feet of climbing. I couldn’t get away from it so I headed for my usual parking place these past few years at Highway 50 and the Whitepine road, right at the bottom of Monarch Pass. I rode the flat 5 miles to the base of Old Monarch Pass. Old Monarch climbs about 2,500 feet, is never steep and is smooth dirt and decomposed granite road base, a great, fast surface that Snoop Dogg could drive the Gin and Juice car up, no problem. I spun easy and it took me around and hour to climb it. I saw one car. From the summit, I picked up the Crest Trail, crossing Monarch Pass proper and continued south to the top of Marshall Pass, a total distance of 25 miles from the Exploder if the signs are accurate. Turned around and came back the same way. Just kept is steady and light on the pedals; had to push a few spots. The Crest is so buffed in some places and pretty hammered by rains in others. Overall, it’s just so killer to be up there.
Here’s the data, Data: Just shy of 4.5 hours; 50 miles; 5,500 vertical; no HR monitor. Too much? Perhaps. If the race was going to start mellow, the way it had every year until last year, I’d rest more going in. But with multiple pro bike racers lining up for the first time ever, I can’t imagine the race starting any other way than balls to the wall. I will try initially, but truly don’t see myself being able to hang with the front guys. The good news is that there should be some strong chase groups. It would be nice to be with the leaders at Twin Lakes but that’s going to be a very tall order. The 2010 Leadville 100, Lance or not (and he could still show up…), is going to be a very interesting bike race!