The challenge of riding 100 miles on a mountain bike in the rarified air of the Rocky Mountains on August 13, 2016 (the day after my 45th birthday) is literally going to be “the ride of a lifetime”. Yes, the Hawaii Ironman x 4 (1999, 2000, 2001 and 2003) is certainly bucket list material for any endurance athlete but I am beginning to think that the Leadville 100 MTB is going to be twice as hard as the Hawaii Ironman and take twice as much from me.
The Austin Rattler, a 100k mountain bike race in Smithville, Texas was this past weekend and it was certainly eye opening in terms of being my first true mountain bike race (I have done adventure races but not a pure mountain bike race) and my current state of fitness. While I was more than happy to finish in one piece, aside from the massive bruise on my upper thigh from hitting into a tree on the first lap, I now realize what I have gotten myself into and know that where I am fitness wise today won’t get me to the finish line tomorrow.
One thing is for sure… that was a pretty serious group of riders out there and I don’t think many would be able to enter the Clydesdale / Athena category at a triathlon. No, most if not all of the riders were lean and riding top of the line carbon fiber machines that were fine tuned and race ready. I did the race on my 2011 Gary Fisher X-caliber which one of the other riders recognized and told me that was his “favorite beater bike” and he loved riding it until he got his new carbon fiber ride with his tax return. Well, I don’t see a new bike in my future… so I’ll go with the approach that to reduce overall riding weight (me and the bike combined) , it’s easier to lose 10 pounds of body weight (and possibly cheaper) instead of getting a new bike. That means no more junk food, no late night snacks (graham crackers and milk begone) and limit the beer to only special occasions / celebrations.
Training wise, it’s time to amp up the distance for the long rides and get to where riding 100 miles – or being on the bike for 6 hours seems short. That’s the next step in the training which will take place between now and the beginning of June.
Here is a video that someone took of the start of the race.. this might give you an idea of how many riders (850) were in the race and how tough it can be to ride with that many competitive people on a short course (20 miles).
Everyone Needs a Leadville in Their Lives
All things being said, I feel pretty good about where I am today but know that there is a lot of hard work to be done to get to that finish line. I’ve been thinking more and more about what this challenge personally means to me and what has become clear is that I have a greater understanding of the importance of goals (both personal and career wise). Lately I’ve been thinking about goal setting and have determined that EVERYONE needs a Leadville 100 in their life. That one goal that scares the shit out of you and can’t be completed based on your current skill set or situation. It’s the goal that makes you change the way you live your life (for the better) and that gets you up in the morning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a personal goal, a professional goal or otherwise. It’s just important that you have something you are striving for and making you a better person each and every day.
What’s YOUR Leadville?
Hope you can join me and my T4 Global teammates at Oak Highlands Brewery in a few weeks to hear about T4 Global and our training for the Leadville 100.