A Kidney Transplant-Related Note from Fatty: Many of you helped me raise money to help out my sister and her son as they went through an incredibly difficult kidney failure. I think you’ll all be excited to know, then, that last Thursday, my sister Kellene successfully donated a kidney to her son, Dallas. Since then, Dallas has been recovering at a remarkable rate, with signs that he and his new kidney are going to be get along just fine. Kellene’s out of the hospital now and in a lot of pain, but she’s tough. She’ll be home and riding again soon.
Once again, thanks to everyone who helped!
On August 14 — just eleven days from now — I’ll start the Leadville 100 for the fourteenth time. And, provided I have a good day, I’ll finish — for the thirteenth time (remember, I didn’t finish last year) — a while after that.
This is my plan for what happens between when I start, and when I finish.
My Overarching Race Day Philosophy
Every year, I seem to have a certain goal for the Leadville 100: Sometimes it’s been to finish it in under ten hours. A few times it’s been to finish it in under eleven. When I’m really fit, it’s to finish it in under nine hours.
Of course, that’s never happened.
This year, however, I’m not bringing a time objective to the race. I think that’s because something’s changed. Maybe it’s because I’m mellowing with age. Maybe it’s because for the first time in a long time I’m riding for fun instead of to vent pent-up anger and frustration. Maybe it’s just because I’m looking at the data and facing the facts.
Or maybe it’s just that I’m getting a weird thing called “perspective.”
At the beginning of spring and throughout summer, I asked myself a question: what kind of memories do I want to have when the snow starts falling (hard to even consider when it’s 100 degrees outside, but it’s never more than a few months away)?
Memories of training hard? Or memories of having fun on my bike?
Some years, those would have been the exact same thing — there have been years when pushing myself to the absolute limit gave me intense joy and pride.
But not this year.
This year, how I’ve defined “fun” on my bike has been to go out riding with my wife. We’ve ridden a ton together, and I’ve had a blast. I haven’t done a single interval, and I don’t care. It’s been my favorite riding season ever.
As a result, I’m in good riding shape, but don’t have the eye of the tiger (nor the thrill of the fight). I’ll finish the Leadville 100, probably in about ten hours (though to be honest with myself, I’d like to keep it under ten hours). I’m going to race it hard, but if I find myself riding alongside someone who doesn’t mind talking for a few minutes, that will be just fine.
And I will do my best to have fun.
What I Will Ride
I briefly considered riding a geared bike at Leadville this year, but once my FattyFly frame arrived, that pretty much ended the debate.
And now that I’ve got it all tricked out with Shimano and PRO components, the debate is really ended. Check it out, all nice and dirty from yesterday’s ride (click image for a larger version):
PRO XCR stem and PRO XCR seatpost, along with XTR cranks and brakes make this about as nice a bike as can be imagined. Factor in the Bontrager XXX Carbon wheels, the Niner carbon fork, and the Salsa Pro Moto bar, and I’ve got a bike that weighs well under eighteen pounds.
Sure, I’ll get beat to death on the downhills, but the climbs should be nice.
Oh, and for those of you who were going to ask: 34 x 20.
What I Will Eat and Drink
I usually obsess over what I will eat at Leadville. This year, for some reason, I’m not obsessing over it at all. Maybe that’s because I have stopped looking for a magic bullet. Here’s what I’ve been carrying with me on long rides lately, which will be the same thing I have at the aid stations in Leadville:
- PRO BARs: I’m a huge fan of Art’s Original Blend. A bar that doesn’t look and taste like it was extruded from a gross vat of goo, then left to harden for ten years before packaging it? Genius!
- Clif Shot Bloks: Tropical Punch and Mountain Berry are the best.
- Campbell’s Chicken and Stars soup: Sodium-tastic.
- Water: Sometimes, nothing tastes better.
- Several mayo packets. Just in case.
Pretty easy, and I haven’t had an upset stomach with this mix of food the whole year.
How I Will Ride
Up at 10K+ feet, it’s not easy to remember stuff. Hence, I have condensed my riding strategy into easy-to-recollect bullet points, as follows:
- I will fight the urge to pass a bunch of people during the St. Kevins climb. Every pass on that climb costs three times as much energy as a similar pass anywhere else on the course.
- I will not look at my bike computer more than once every fifteen minutes. At least during the first half of the race. During the final ten miles of the race, I reserve the right to look at it every five seconds.
- I will be friendly and yell encouragement. But I will try to keep that urge under control, so as not to frighten other racers. And bystanders, for that matter.
- I will not mention that I am riding a singlespeed to anyone who does not mention it first. However, I reserve the right to grimace and strain as I pedal, in the hopes that people will take notice and look at my drivetrain.
As always, I appreciate any guidance you would care to lend me. After all, I’ve only done this race thirteen times; I’m still kind of new at it.