Yup, its true, I have a much coveted spot to the start of the Leadville 100 trail. 100 miles (I have been told it is actually 104) at 10,000+ ft elevation with roughly 13,000ft of climbing. Just typing those numbers has me trembling in terror. What am I thinking? I am thinking that what scares me also inpires me. It is good to be scared of something and show it respect. The first time I lined up at an Ironman I was terrified. I even cried at the start I was so scared. Ironman no longer scares me. Oh, I still respect it and it is hard and you go to that deep dark place inside of yourself but I know I can finish. Leadville, not so much. I really have my work cut out for me and this is to chronicle my journey.
Recently, I came across a quote 'he who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life' - Ralph Waldo Emerson. This blog is one of the many things I have feared. I mean, really, who wants to read my drivel? Perhaps, I can inspire someone else to go outside their comfort zone and really reach for something. Perhaps, no one will read this and give a damn and I will have a private journal of my journey to the start line of my first dirty hundy (o four- because really those last 4 are going to be the hardest four!).
Ken Chlouber at the pre race meeting 2009
It all started when a friend got a spot into the 2009 Leadville race and I volunteered to crew. I really thought it was a great chance for a road trip and I could see who these crazies were up close-but mostly it was for the road trip. I was warned that I would get the bug but was pretty sure I was inoculated against it. I made it through the pre race meeting where the love of the event vibrates in the air still thinking, it is pretty cool that I can crew for this and feel such a part of it. For anyone who has never been to the Leadville pre race meeting it is like a revival meeting! They pump you up and get you to really believe that 'you are better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can'. There were people at the meeting who have completed every Leadville trail there has been - and they weren't in strait jackets! Ken Chlouber one of the race directors has the racers all chant 'I commit, I will not quit'. It was GREAT but still, who the heck would do this thing. Race morning came and I was able to watch the riders come off the starting line after the shot gun went off. Seriously, how awesome is it that they start the race with a shot gun! At the first aid station it was raining and cold and the riders came through not looking too excited to be out there.
Dave Wiens and the leaders at Pipeline (some guy named Lance was there)
These guys were on the front and were covered in mud and not looking like they were having any fun and the people at the back weren't looking non too chipper either. Of course as the day wore on I thought that this was insanely hard and was more and more convinced that I wouldn't ever undertake it and that my friends were wrong about me catching the bug. I still believe that I wouldn't have been infected if Jen hadn't crashed coming down from Columbine mine and been out of the race. What, your friend crashing made you want to do it? What kind of friend are you? Seeing the disappointment on her face in the med tent and the rest of the day made me come up with a plan. We would come back together and finish what had been started. I would post the picture of her in the med tent, but I want to stay friends;) Before I would really commit though, I needed to make a phone call to line up the best crew member I know. I called Alison, who has crewed so many events and is a pro and told her my plan. I know what you are thinking, shouldn't have the first call gone to your husband? Well, that would make sense except that he knows me better than I know myself and he already knew that I would want to do this once seeing it and was in the camp that I would come home with a terrible case of Leadvilleitis. Alison being the consummate adventurer didn't hesitate to jump on board (wonder if she'll get infected??)
Now the months of waiting for the lottery to open and putting in my application and waiting to get rejected started. Rejected, I thought you said you had a spot. That is a story for another day.
Tana helping me crew (get used to it, you will see alot of pictures of her in this blog!)