Saturday, July 19, 2008

Leadville 2008 Status Report, Part VI

Three weeks to go until the big race.

I am not ready. I repeat. I am not ready. I am five pounds heavier than I was last year. I get winded more easily climbing hills and running up the Thistle stairs. I'm telling you, I'm not ready.

Finishing Leadville in under 12 hours isn't entirely out of the question. I missed the 12 hour mark by 25 minutes, but it's not like I had a good race. The altitude messed me up from the beginning. If I'm feeling well, I could cut 25 minutes off the Columbine Mine climb. I could cut 25 minutes off the Powerline climb. Hell, I could cut off 25 minutes if I had just stopped at the last rest stop for only 5 minutes instead of 30. I could cut 25 minutes off by riding a faster bike.

So yes, if the altitude doesn't get to me, I could finish in under 12 hours. But since I live at sea level, and since the race reaches 12,600 feet, can't I assume the altitude will get to me? But that's being too negative. Here are some positives:

* Last year, two weeks before the race I went on a cruise to Alaska. While I had fun, eating rich cafeteria food wasn't exactly the best way to train.

* This year, I'll be in Utah ten days before the race instead of five days before the race. That means I can do three or four small training rides at altitude instead of just one. That could mean a lot.

* While the conditions were nearly perfect last year -- fast course, no rain, no headwind -- it was really hot in the afternoon. Maybe we'll get cooler weather and an actual tailwind. Or at least I'll cool myself off better with a water bottle.

* Last year, my single biggest mistake was accepting the pain. I should have taken Tums early in the race when my stomach was bothering me. I should have taken ibuprofen and Tums the first time I hit a wall on Columbine. I waited until I was three-fourths done with Powerline, which gave me the energy to ride faster than I had all day. If I can do a better job of pill popping, I can avoid losing so much time on the two biggest climbs.

* This year, maybe the highway won't be jammed with broken heroes on a last-chance power drive.

Estimated time if the race were held tomorrow: 12:15

Estimated finishing time on August 9: 11:59.30