- Meeting all my biking buddies again. Over the past eight years, I’ve got to know a lot of people who are a part of this race. Going to Leadville is like a big family reunion, assuming your family is made up of guys with shaved legs and $4000 bikes.
- The drive over to Leadville. Usually, the thought of 7 hours in the car sounds awful, but with Kenny, it’s a highlight of the trip. Note to fast guys: Watch out for Kenny; he’s going to clean your clock this year.
- Wandering around Leadville with nothing much to do. I live my whole life at a fast pace. But the day before the race in Leadville, I just hang around the town. Talking with people. Looking in shop windows. Loitering. Napping. It’s heaven, I tell you.
- The Pre-race ride: Hooking up with Mark, Serena, and Bry to do a little ride the day before the race has become one of my favorite parts of the whole trip. Lots of stories, trashtalking, and wacky hyjinx. (Mark and Serena have won the tandem division every year they’ve raced it. They’re back to win a fourth. They say they haven’t trained, but they say that every year. I wouldn’t bet against them. And to hear people talk, Bry’s a lock for a sub-9 race this year. I wish I were in better shape and had a chance of finishing with him.)
- The pre-race meeting / motivational speech. Generally I’m not one for meetings, and definitely not one for motivational speeches. But Ken — the chief promoter honcho — is a funny guy with serious endurance cred — he does the running version of this race each year, which I can’t even imagine. I love hearing him shout his catchphrase: "You’re better than you think you are." For that moment, I actually believe him.
- Talking about the race at the pre-race dinner. Preferably with someone who’s never ridden it and is listening to your advice as if it’s actually helpful.
- Looking out the window at 4:30am on the day of the race to see what the weather’s like.
- Talking to people at the start line, as well as during the ride.
- My dad crewing for me. There’s nothing like seeing a member of the family to boost your morale on a big race like this.
- Dodging erosion trenches while coming down Powerline.
- The sweet agony of seeing the Columbine turnaround point — from three miles away, and knowing I’ll have to hike most of it.
- Crossing over from the Boulevard onto the pavement, knowing that I’ve made my last turn.
- Laying down on the grass after I finish the race.
I won’t be online tomorrow, but I’ll definitely have my wife post my finishing time this Saturday afternoon/evening.
It’s 4:00AM. I’ve got a plane to catch.
Today’s weight: Dunno. Too late to worry about it now. Time to think about racing.