An Open Letter to Dug, Who Evidently Does Not Realize He Is Slow and Middle-Aged, and Therefore Has Announced He Is Riding Next Year’s Leadville 100 on a Singlespeed
A Note from Fatty: My good friend Dug has recently announced his foolish intention of riding the Leadville 100 on a singlespeed next year. As a concerned friend, I feel it is my duty to dissuade him.
I take no pleasure in what I am about to tell you. No, that’s not true, because I guess I do take a little bit of pleasure in it, but my somber tone of voice is meant to convey the seriousness I want you to think I feel, regardless of whether I in reality feel it.
I know that you have chosen to ride the Leadville 100 on a singlespeed next year, Dug, and it’s important for you to know what everyone who knows you knows:
Dug, you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of finishing the Leadville 100 on a singlespeed.
It’s questionable, in fact,Â whether you’d finish the race onÂ a geared bike. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
Dug, I can see why — before thinking about it — you might think you could do a 100-mile mountain bike race on a singlespeed. After all, you have ridden White Rim on a singlespeed, and that’s 100 miles, right? And you’ve ridden the Leadville 100, so you should be able to do it again, right?
Unfortunately (for you), they’re vastly different rides. White Rim is a mostly-flatÂ basin with two short, steepÂ climbs. Leadville has 11,000 feet of climbing, with five excruciatingly long, steep climbs, each of which is miles long (and one of which is about ten miles long. You’ll have to walk all of those climbs, Dug. And don’t forget that the whole ride happens at or above 10,000 feet.
Night will have fallen before you roll into town, Dug.
If you don’t believe me, try to dig back into your own recollection. The best you’ve ever done at this race is 9:45. And that was when you were much, much fitter than you are now. Do you really think that with your decreased fitness, increased weight, advanced state of male-pattern baldness, increased age (your best time happened eleven years ago, man: eleven!), and your haphazard training style, you can do this race in only two more hours than that? On a singlespeed?
Let me give you an example, Dug: the Powerline trail. Remember how, after 80 miles of riding, riding that in your granny gear was all but impossible? How are you going to do that on a singlespeed?
How are you going to ride St. Kevins, Dug? How are you going to ride SugarLoaf? How are you going to ride eight miles of Columbine?
If you’re serious about riding the Leadville 100 on a singlespeed, Dug, I have a piece of training advice for you: bring a bike you’re comfortable pushing. ‘Cuz that’s what you’ll be doing the whole day.
Let me ask you a question, Dug. When we rode together this past summer, did you find yourself holding back for me? No sir, you did not. In fact, did you perhaps notice that you had to push yourself pretty damn hard to stay with me?
And what was my finishing time at Leadville? Ten hours, more or less. On a geared bike.
I figure you would have been an hour behind me, had you raced. Or, if you had been on a singlespeed, you would have finished the following Tuesday.
It hurts me (though not much) to tell you this, Dug, but I must: you are middle-aged, out-of-shape, and feeble.
Dug, I want to see you succeed, but you can only succeed if you give yourself attainable goals. The Leadville 100 on a singlespeed is something Kenny and Brad can do. You, my friend, are no Brad. And you’re even less of a Kenny.
Don’t be a fool, Dug. Know your limits, and race the Leadville 100 on a geared bike. I look forward to cheering for you at the finish line (which will happen, I suspect,Â roughly ninety minutes after I finish, shower, change, have a nice meal, and return to the finish areaÂ to watch for you).
The Fat Cyclist
PS: If you would like to use my blog for an acknowledgment of the foolishness of your decision, I hereby extend the opportunity.