Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mountains and Valleys

There is no way to avoid mountains and valleys in a race, not when the race profile looks like this:

Leadville Trail 100 Course Profile

Being adequately prepared and having done the training meant that I was ready for these mounds and dips. I knew when on the course they would appear and how long that they would last. I also knew to expect emotional highs and lows as the day went on. At the race meeting, 6 time champion Dave Wiens told us that we would all have really LOW lows, even him! I had done enough long training days and long endurance races to know this to be true. If only we could all be supplied with a emotional course profile before we lined up at the start line. I know that my profile looked nothing like the official course profile. Sure some of the peaks and valleys lined up, but my highest highs and lowest lows didn't correspond with the course chart at all. When referring to the above graph if it were to be my mental state during the race, there would be way more high peaks and the peaks would last longer. Fortunately for me, there was only one real dip and valley that I had to endure on race day. During this time, a chart to refer to would have been awesome, it would have been great to know how long the dip was going to last because even though it was short in comparison to the whole day, at the time it lasted FOREVER. I did know that the low point wouldn't last forever and that I would recover. I drew on the strength of the courageous people I was riding for and knew that I was enduring nothing in comparison to them. As soon as that reality took hold, I was once again on a peak because I WAS RIDING LEADVILLE!!

I could blither on and on about what the day was like for me and how I managed to ride my bike up this hill and down this hill and around these people, and how I passed some guys on descents and on and on and on. Instead, since a picture is worth a thousand words, here is my story in pictures.

Me, Jen and Ries race morning- AKA 'Point of Maximum Dread'

Race Morning Downtown Leadville

On Our Way, Shotgun start!

Heading Down 6th Avenue- only 11 hours until I'm back here!

Pipeline, this wasn't actually race day but this is what it looked like. I was so happy to be actually in the race at this point that I was hooting on all the little descents. I was waving wildly to all spectators and telling them 'I'm doing Leadville'!!

Me on return from Twin Lakes, over 60 miles in and still on a peak! - and pretty much on my own working into the wind for the next hour.

Powerline climb, this is not me, I was pushing this part and in a deep, dark valley! My low point corresponded with a high point on the course chart. This was about 80 miles in and a true test of my ability to dig deep and prove I am better than I think I am and can do more than I think I can. BUT, it wasn't easy! This was sure a fun part of the course on the way out when I got to go down it;)

Heading into final 15 miles and about to hit a peak again.

Coming into the finish. As soon as I crested the hill and saw the finish 5 blocks away I started braying just like Smokey suggested!

Crossing the Leadville Trail 100 Finish Line, the Highest Peak!

Me, Ken Chlouber and MY BUCKLE!!

Sir Edmund Hillary said 'It is not the mountain that we conquer but ourselves'. I think it is the valleys that truly test us and show what we are made of, being tough ain't always enough!


  1. Are you going to wear the belt buckle or display it on a shelf? :) Nice work!!

  2. A huge congrats on your phenomenal accomplishment! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about all of your adventures. Once the high of acquiring that buckle wears off, I'd love to hear what's next. Until then enjoy the buckle! - Annemieke