Leadville Countdown: 2 Days to Go

08.11.2005 | 11:08 am

I couldn’t sleep last night. I was thinking about the Leadville race. I swear, I went through the whole race in my head. St. Kevins. Powerline. Rest stop. Flat stretch. Columbine. Now do it again, but in the other direction.
It’s like this every year. For two days before the actual race, I can’t sleep. Can’t think about anything else. Can’t wipe the big grin off my face. The Leadville 100 is just like Christmas for me.
Now, anyone who hasn’t been to Leadville won’t get what I’m talking about, but if you’ve got an annual tradition that you absolutely love — something you want to be exactly the same every year — then at some level you know what I mean.
Here’s what I’m looking forward to over the next couple days.
  • 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.


  1. Comment by Robert | 08.11.2005 | 11:33 pm

    Hey, good luck Elden. My prediction. You’ll take it out too fast, look at the clock, and think to yourself, "Hey, maybe this year I can maintain the same torrid pace for 9 hours without bonking. It’s worth a try." And bonk you will. 10:12. Bonus prediction: you’ll spend 85 minutes in the oxygen tent.

  2. Comment by Jodi | 08.12.2005 | 2:45 am

    I can’t wait to hear how it goes. I think it’s amazing that you push yourself the way you do to take part in this. Good luck!

  3. Comment by Unknown | 08.12.2005 | 4:57 am

    It’s been raining in Salida all day :( Tell Kenny to go hard for me!!Good Luck and, stay warm and have a smile on your face.

  4. Comment by Unknown | 08.12.2005 | 3:41 pm

    who are you and what have you done with Elden?

  5. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 08.12.2005 | 4:13 pm

    There is no Elden. Only Zool.

  6. Comment by Robert | 08.12.2005 | 4:22 pm

    If you can add a comment, Zool, you can post something.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 08.12.2005 | 5:05 pm

    zool is a toady.

  8. Comment by Unknown | 08.12.2005 | 5:14 pm

    Hello, you are the biggest loser pal. Ullrich could drop you anytime with one leg.

  9. Comment by Unknown | 08.12.2005 | 7:43 pm

    zool may be a toady, but he is a master of irony. even jan ullrich would understand that , despite the apparent ignorance of some of the more fanatical and less educated faithful.


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.