Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Every since I made it known that I have an entry into the Leadville 100 I have been getting questions. Most of these questions have been asked multiple times. I am going to do my best to answer them all today.

This yard sculpture looks like Answers to me

Do you ride your mountain bike alot? - Not really, should I?

Have you ever ridden 100 miles on a mountain bike? - No, do I look like a lunatic! I have ridden over 100 miles before on the road though. I have heard that this course has fire road - so I am good.

How long will that take? - Who knows, see above. I do know that the official cut off is 12 hours so I am hoping less than 12 hours. It will take as long as it takes, and I will keep going. Hopefully, Supercrew is training for a long day! It took Lance Armstrong less than 6.5 hours so maybe 7;)

Are you a good climber? - Um, NO! What would be the challenge if I was a good climber and I had ridden 100 miles. Come on now!

Do you have a coach?- I don't need one. I can ask The Todd anything I need to know. Also, why would I pay someone to tell me what I already know. Ride your bike lots, ride up hills and um, you are in over your head!

How much mileage are you going to do? - As little as possible!

Don't you have a job? - Yes, I am a trophy wife. 

Are you getting a new bike? - No, see above if you wonder why. Honestly, my bike is more bike than I need with my skills!

Do you have sponsors? - Do you see any sponsor logos on this blog? - Drop me a line if you want me to shamelessly promote and plug your product. I can't promise that I will be at the front of the race but I think last ass over the pass gets lots of attention too;)

Are you going to lose weight? - Really, do you know I am a chick? Do you wonder why you are single? REALLY, you just asked me that? Since I didn't get myself a pair of C's, I am saving weight right there! 

Do you have a training plan? You are assuming that I thought this through and am not flying by the seat of my pants. I am still hoping the holding my breath method is going to work for the altitude!

Are you CRAZY? ( this question in an email from my BFF since we were 3. I love that she still has to ask this question!) - If you read my answers to all the other questions you can probably come to a conclusion on this one yourself. 

All of these questions, except that last one, come with a not so discreet head to toe examination of me. My answer to the question that is on their faces at this point is - Can you see the engine?  

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Enjoy the Ride

Supercrew Alison, showing once again why she is called Supercrew Alison, recently gave me a t-shirt that states 'Enjoy the Ride'.  I have decided that this is going to be my motto in training and in that dirty hundy for as long as I can enjoy it;)

How cute is that?

Too often the scenery passes us by unnoticed while we are focused on the destination. I have been told that I need to be more focused in training and learn to suffer more. Apparently, if I do that, I will have better results and race day will be glorious. I say, I would rather enjoy 364 days and suffer 1 than the other way around. I want to make great memories in training that will carry me through those minutes of agony (okay- maybe hours is more like it!).  

Blooming cactus beside road today

Working with my new motto has given me a new found freedom. I am more willing to explore roads and routes, not always knowing how long I will be out and how hard the ride will be. In doing this I have seen some incredible views and sights. Of course, I do have my iphone for that backup ride home if need be - I am pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy a 10 hour ride right now!

Doing some exploring

While I was thinking about how simple it is to enjoy a bike ride today, I happened to meet two fellas who exemplified this. These guys started on their bikes in Davis California 11 days ago and have ridden down the coast. Today they were reaching their final destination in San Diego. They had managed to do the entire trip on no training, one of them stating 'I figured I would get in shape on the way'. They also spent no money to do it by couch surfing along the way. The touring bikes that they were riding with panniers cost them $150, once again proving it is not about the bike! I got to hear about their multiple adventures along the way and they were sad that their trip was ending. To celebrate all the miles, they were heading to Stone Brewery! Those boys know how to enjoy the ride and reward themselves! Could they have done the trip faster? Sure. Could they have ridden fancier bikes and stayed in better accommodations? Sure. Would they have enjoyed themselves more? Doubtful!

The journey is the reward!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Poker Face

I don't play poker. I don't have a poker face. Want to know what I am thinking, look at my face. Trust me, my face is an open read and gets me into trouble all the time. I have decided that riding a bike is a bit like playing poker. First thing you have to do at the coffee shop/meeting spot is size up your opponents. The good riders are the ones that you can't read.

Take Andy for instance. This weekend Andy showed up on our group ride wearing worn out, see through shorts, a jersey with a hole in it and a bike with hello kitty stickers all over it. I luckily, have ridden with Andy before so wasn't fooled by his exterior or his super hairy legs. The fact is Andy hammered us all on a fixed gear bike that he calls Pinky. Just proves that it is not all about the bike! 

Andy proudly displaying Pinky

Another part of the poker aspect of riding is to know when to call a bluff. That would be the guy who sprints by you so he can blow by a girl and then immediately dies. Drop a gear and call his bluff. I know my place at the poker table of the group ride. The boys all soft play me by letting me draft their rear wheel. To be completely honest and fair though, I did bet a few times on the sure thing. I went to the front and pulled when we had a wicked strong tailwind;) 

My windshields Howard and Steve

Although, right now I don't have the hand to go all in on one of these rides, I hope that by August I can up the ante on these boys. For now, I am just playing the girl card!

Now if someone can just tell me how to get this song out of my head while running 'can't read my, can't read my, no he can't read my poker face' !!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Silver Lining

As we have all heard numerous times, every cloud has a silver lining. I have come to believe that every injury has a silver lining. Remember that shoulder injury that I might have? I believe that maybe having a shoulder injury has been a good thing for a number of reasons. I am thankful for all it has done for me and taught me.

Firstly, I have a legitimate reason for not leading the lane at masters swimming. I mean, who wants the gimp with the taped up shoulder on the front. I might bail part way through the set and mess it all up. Just showing up at swimming with a shoulder 'injury' makes me look like a hard core crazy triathlete who never rests. Quite frankly, it might be found intimidating to my middle of the pack competition;) (rather than them finding out that I quite frequently blow off workouts in favor of naps). Another great thing on the swimming front is now I have a reason to do the whole workout with toys. As a triathlete who usually scoffs at relying on toys I have now learned the benefit. Of course, I am not using paddles, that would be REALLY crazy. Instead I am wearing fins and using this time to learn how to actually use my legs in the pool. I can go so much faster now, I  should probably consider swimming up a lane or two. I also don't get any grief from the coach when I decide to end the workout early to go get a pedicure, I just glance at the shoulder and I am free to go.

Amazing, the shoulder has done wonders for my biking. I am now forced to use my core for stability as I am unable to bear much weight on the shoulder. This keeps my hands nice and light on the bars and I am pretty sure that will prolong the fatigue at Leadville at least until mile 40.

My running is also reaping the benefits of this soft tissue thing I have going on (I really hate to succumb to the injury label- unless it gets me out of doing something hard!). I have a tendency to hold my shoulders high while running and my arms cross over the midline. Well, right now I have a built in reminder to not do either of those. Each time that I do, I have some discomfort.

As for the tape job itself, it has opened many a conversation with people who would have no other reason to talk to me. I have gotten to meet some really 'interesting' folks. I have also had the chance to see how AWESOME  I am going to look when one day I get a HUGE tribal tattoo on my shoulder! For now, I am going to continue to focus on the silver lining- until I get struck by lightening.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just Breathe

Just breathe. Sounds simple enough, we all do it an average of 20 times per minute. It is done without thinking most of the time. Every once in awhile we are reminded how hard it can be to breathe and how important. Things like having the wind knocked out of us, an asthma attack, and most relevantly racing 100 miles on a mountain bike above 10,000ft when you live at sea level, make breathing seem not so simple. Last year when I went to Leadville, I experienced shortness of breath... driving. Now granted I was driving uphill, and was above 12,000ft so I guess I shouldn't be too concerned.  Except, in August, I will be pedaling and that creates a little higher oxygen consumption than driving. Did I mention that I live at sea level already?- well 465ft to be exact.

Only 11,630ft above the altitude at home

Armed with the knowledge that I am not acclimated to altitude I have been experimenting and researching. There is a ton of information available on ways to improve your chances of racing at altitude. Being that I am super technical the first method I have employed is very precise. It involves holding my breath. 

I'll let you know how it works. Until then, slow down and just breathe.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The town of Leadville is a mining town. The mines are no longer open and operational but once a mining town always a mining town. The Leadville trail 100 is closely linked to this mining history. The turnaround point on the course is at the old Columbine Mine site which is at 12,500ft elevation. All mining towns have interesting history, full of colorful characters and Leadville is no exception. It takes a hearty breed to sustain oneself in that climate and to race in that climate requires going deep into ones own mine shaft of motivation and strength.

Mine in Leadville

All of us have a mine deep inside. The place where we go for motivation and strength in all areas of our lives. I like to picture my mine as having several different shafts for mining different areas of life. About four years ago, the vein that I was mining for racing dried up. I went deep and came up empty. All miners know that the source can dry up at some point and at that point in my life the iron vein was dry.  Since then, I have been building a new shaft and reinforcing it. I have taken a few nuggets out now and then but generally I have been letting the deposits grow. 

Mine Shaft

Mine shafts can be deep, dark, lonely places. My training is chipping a tunnel into the depths of the mine in hopes that it will be easy to get there on race day. Come August 14th when I dig deep I hope that my pick hits the motherlode. If not, as any prospector or kid can tell you, fools gold is just as sparkly!

Columbine Mine -half way point

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Beast

In six weeks I have a date with 'the beast'. If you do triathlon long enough you hear revered speak of this hill.  This year, being the year of challenges seemed like the year to make an appointment with THE BEAST. I have done some research on this hill, because who wants to go on a blind date? What I have learned is that the hill is 7/10 of a mile with 600ft change in elevation with grades between 14 and 21%. Not really sure what this means since I describe hills a little differently. My high tech descriptions are more like steep, holy crap, walk. Where this fits in I am not sure, from the picture I found I think it might be between the last two. (Hey Jen, you know that triple front ring I made fun of you having? Is it still around?)

The Beast 

Looking at this picture, I can't help but notice the beauty. Looks like I will miss the views while climbing which is a shame. For those that know me well, I promise not to stop and admire the view during the race - really I won't. In preparation for my date, I spent some time on a local hill today doing hill repeats. 

Sign at top 

I am proud to say I made all the repeats without paper boying, so I guess in my hill classification system this hill is steep. During my time to and from the hill I was able to practice my track stands at red lights. I only put my foot down twice, and yes The Todd, I had more than two red lights. I figure, I may be going so slow up the beast that being able to balance on the bike at a complete stop is necessary! 

One of the benefits of the winter rains

Climbing today I was admiring the views and the wildflowers so much I almost didn't notice how badly my legs and lungs were burning. I plan to focus on the beauty around me during the race instead of the beast. Pretty sure the beauty will last for more than 7/10's of a mile. 

Monday, March 22, 2010

So Pretty...

I hear it all the time when I am running. 'She's so pretty'. I have gotten accustomed to hearing it, I expect to hear it. I am a magnet for male attention when I am running, usually the under 10 variety and 'she's so pretty' is always followed by 'can I pet her?'. This weekend the little boy made sure my head didn't swell and I knew who he was talking about being pretty when he said 'she's so pretty and (pause...) you're so sweaty! NICE, he might need to work on his lines with the ladies for the future - or not;)

so pretty...

I have been to Leadville, it is breath taking beautiful. Breath taking because it is at 10,000ft as well. Last week a friend mentioned casually on a ride that I can work on my climbing ability but really my bread and butter is windy, flats. I looked up the Leadville course elevation profile and it seems to fit the bill- if you squint at it long enough it really does start to look flat.


Leadville 100 mtb course elevation

At least the graph is pretty, and didn't I just say that for every climb there has to be a downhill? This graph seems to prove my point. Actually, I don't see any flat sections so maybe there will be wind? One can hope. Just to be safe though, I will keep riding lots of hills and working on my climbing. 

Rode this climb last week

The next six weeks I get to be a triathlete.That doesn't mean I am going to ignore my bike handling skills, wear funny socks and walk around in my ironman finisher t-shirts. It means I am going to focus on enjoying my swimming, biking and running workouts. I might miss the smell of the chlorine coming out of my pores come August so I better soak alot of it up now.

Super crew Alison and I on a so pretty desert ride!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baby Steps

One of my readers (thats right, I can put an 's' on reader, my husband is not the only  one reading:)) asked me to explain my signature name Kiki. Simply, Kiki was my nickname when I was little. Not so simply, I chose to use it here because this is all about going back to childhood. The days when we weren't sure we could do something but we tried anyways. Think about how many times a baby tries to stand up and falls down before they are successful. Come to think of it, if I could stand up without falling down I wouldn't have the fancy tape job I am sporting on my left shoulder right now! When does the fear of failing at something out weigh the joy of trying? Is what holds us back the judgement we think we will face? When learning to speak none of  us pronounced things properly at first (which is how Kiki came about, as most adults can't pronounce my given name so how could another kid?). We kept at it and eventually we stopped baby talking. - that is unless you are a female contestant on the Bachelor and then you still baby talk, but really we have other things we are judging you for than the way you speak! So on this journey I am on, I will fall down, and I will not have technique correct all the time, and I will not be perfect. I will try though, and I will keep trying and I will not worry about failing, I will focus on the baby steps and will celebrate the minuscule improvements.

Picture of me after falling down

My favorite quote of all times is 'one day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it is worth watching'. What kind of movie do you want yours to be? I hope to be watching a comedic, adventurous love story.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Group Ride

No naked laps for me today, or anyone else (unless Corky did some after we left, which he may have). Group rides are always interesting, you put together a bunch of athletes with varying abilities and competitive personalities and who knows what will happen. This group was fabulous and we had a great time today.

Pre ride, birthday boy in yellow in middle

There were lots of hills and I used them to work on my seated power. It was hard to not stand up on some of the climbs but I did it (except for that the one time, Pat!). We saw some beautiful parts of the county and were on rural roads most of the time. Watch out for a new fragrance on the market, eau de country, pretty sure we will make a killing with it;) The inspiration was the chicken farm we rode by. Nancy preferred the smell of the citrus groves, can't imagine why?! 

Mid ride fuel stop

For every uphill there is a greater and funner downhill and we had some swoopy, curvy descents today. I made up for my lack of climbing finesse by bombing down the hills. Pretty sure that there will be downhills at Leadville since it starts and finishes at the same place and with 13,000ft of ascending my math says 13,000ft of descending- can you say WOOHOO!! 

Post ride we got to play some volleyball. Well, most of us played, I was just decoration.

post ride, fast twitch muscle training in deep sand

These guys are all amazing athletes and I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to hang with them. When I need inspiration and motivation I don't have to go very far. Thanks for the ride today guys and for all the miles to come in my quest to make it to Leadville! You guys rock!! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Omen

I might have an injury. Thats right, three days into this blog and already talking injury. I wish I could say it was an overuse injury from all my training. No, I injured myself doing something anyone could do, I fell down some stairs. Remember I mentioned that I ran a marathon in February. Well, that day afterwards I managed to slip and fall down some stairs. The bag of groceries I was carrying went flying and I was in a heap. Problem is, I had pretty wrecked legs which couldn't stop my fall and I put out my left hand. I jammed my shoulder pretty good. The upside is it took my mind off of how sore my legs were.

this is why the stairs were slippery and I fell

Being that I am my mothers daughter, I denied that I hurt anything for awhile - read one month. Finally, it was obvious that it wasn't going away so I sought treatment. (after my husband told me I was being ridiculous!). Today, I went back to the torture chamber and had another ART (active release treatment) done on it. When I looked up from the table I saw a photo montage of a guy who had done Leadville. Perfect, while being taken to my pain edge I was staring at the words Leadville. I am training all the time, even on the table I am doing pain association training!! Pain is just weakness leaving the body and I can tell you that Dr. Robs office was full of weakness when I left. He thinks one more visit and he will have it fixed- guess if there is something to fix it is time to admit there is something wrong:(

Today was an amazing Southern California day. My bike short tan lines are coming along nicely. Pretty sure it is from time on the bike, not time sitting at the coffee shop post ride. Jen is in town for spring break and we rode today. I tried to impress with my newfound talent and took off my arm warmers while riding, I didn't even take her down;)

Me, P, and Jen celebrating her birthday 2008

Tomorrow is Corkys birthday ride. Corky loves to climb hills and says we have a 50 mile ride with 5000+ feet of climbing. Note the + , that basically means it is over 5000ft but it doesn't say how over! After the bike ride volleyball is on tap. I think that I will intimidate the opponents before I step on the court when they see my shoulder;)

This tape is amazing, instantly removes the pain 

Corky says that if you don't make the loop tomorrow you need to do naked laps of the volleyball court. To avoid this I may be practicing my bike pushing tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling Lucky

You would think that once I had decided I was going to do the Leadville 100 that was that. OH NO!! One of the hardest parts of doing this race is getting into it. I know what you sane non endurance junkies are thinking, you mean there are more people who want to do this and think it is fun than there are spots? Yup, but you can sleep soundly because these crazies all just want to torture themselves:) So, what does one have to do to get a spot on the start line? They hold a lottery which opened in December. Just getting my name into the lottery was an act of perseverance . This year the Leadville Trail joined the computer age and it was a computerized lottery, only there were several bugs in the system that needed to be worked out and apparently I experienced them all in my attempt to get my name into the lottery! Finally, after weeks of trying my name was entered into the lottery at the end of December. Now the waiting began.... of course prior to the lottery process the movie had come out so that made even more people want to do the race. Check out this trailer if you didn't see the movie - you'll have one of two reactions 1: I am so gonna do this someday 2: I need a beer.

Waiting for the lottery to be drawn in February was not all idle time. You see I had things to do, I was getting in and I was starting my training. I even rode my mountain bike on Christmas day and learned to wheelie (well, I got my front wheel off the ground)

Yes I am aware that the guy behind me is on a cross bike and he kicked my butt!

Besides riding my mountain bike, I had a marathon to train for and run on February 6th and the lottery wouldn't be drawn until the 8th. The night of February 7th not alot of sleeping was going on. I was up bright and early and checking to see if I had gotten the news I was in. I was texting my friends who had also applied and no news to anyone yet. Sometime the next day I got the first text that Jens husband had gotten an email that he was selected, and then The Todd let me know he too was in. Still no word for Jen or I or my friend Tony. The waiting was excruciating but I didn't give up hope and neither did Jen. Afterall, she has the luck of the irish - she was born on St Pattys day. Finally, the email from Leadville came and it began 'we deeply regret'. Well, even the optimist in me knew that wasn't good news. REJECTION - what now? Ah, they offered a way in still through Carmichael training systems. You sign up for a training camp and you get a spot. Now some people would call this buying your way in, but I looked at it as a chance to recon the course. 

Me, Jen and Ries in Sedona over Thanksgiving (see I wasn't kidding about starting the training early!)

Monday February 15th at 9am mountain time, camp registration opened. I had command central in place. Four phones were set to dial and ready, overkill you might think but not. At 8:59:59 the dialing began and the busy signal with it. They had said if you got a busy signal all hold lines were filled. My neighbors were even in on the act! Finally, my husband got through on his phone and I was 35th in line. 35th!!!  I waited for 35 mins (I see a trend here ) on hold and they kept telling me my place in line, at least it was moving the right direction. I was so nervous that I would lose connection but I got a live person, Adam. Adam informed me that he believed I was the last person to get a camp spot - thats right folks, the camps (all 3) filled in less than 40 mins. I told you there were more crazies than me out there!  SO LUCKY!  It was bittersweet because Jen didn't get a camp spot and she has unfinished business. I can't finish her business for her but I know she will git 'r done one day (maybe even a Leadville epic in the days leading into the actual race? Jen, I would totally crew for you!) Hoping that the camp imparts lots of wisdom on me, I am going to need every piece of advice I can get for this.

The Todd emailed 'have you blogged to your readers about taking off your wind vest while riding- you daredevil'. Well, firstly, it was a full sleeved jacket and I was going uphill and I was never a 12 year old boy so this was a BIG deal. I even folded it and put it in my jersey pocket:) See BIG DEAL. 

Bandy Canyon- this is where the infamous jacket removal happened!

There you go The Todd, it is now blogged about! I think that maneuver puts me in a league with Evil Knievel! Now everyone knows how I got  in the race. Now the real fun begins. Today driving I heard a song by the Fray that sums it all up 'everyone knows I'm in over my head' and I realized that they had read my blog;) 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dirty Hundy?

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!)