Leadville

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I have been thinking about the word “momentum” a lot lately. When you have it moving in the right direction it seems like no matter what you do things go your way. When the momentum is moving in the wrong direction the same applies but it seems like you just can’t catch a break. This year I have been on the wrong side of the momentum more times then not. The good thing about momentum is that it always changes direction eventually you just never know when it’s gonna happen. Of course when you have the good momentum you never want it to end and when it’s bad you just keep hoping to turn the corner.

This week I lined up for Leadville as defending champ and finally got to run the number one plate (last time I had it Olympics were the same weekend so I couldn’t try to defend it).
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I had never been more prepared for the race then I was this year. I had spent three weeks getting ready for XC Nationals in Mammoth at altitude and then another three weeks at super high altitude getting ready for Leadville with just a week at low Durango elevation in between(6,500 ft). I had done a Champions Camp in Leadville earlier in the year where we rode the course and I probably rode Powerline seven times that week. The weight was pretty good, the power was descent, I was healthy and everyone knows it only takes one great race to make a great season so i was really optimistic.

Saturday morning finally arrived and I had even slept well the night before with the 4:30AM wakeup looming. The weather was the warmest I’ve ever seen for the start with temperatures in the mid-forties at 6:30AM for the pre sunrise start. Josh fired the shotgun and we raced out of downtown Leadville. The race starts with a four mile descent on the pavement road before some rolling dirt road and the first climb hits about fifteen or twenty minutes in the race. Normally we go flat out up the first steep climb but Topeak decided to take it easy and didn’t go ballistic so it was a very civilized start that still saw the lead group of six form after about eight minutes of climbing. I was optimistic we would have a strong group and roll a good speed out to Columbine but all that came to end for me a few minutes later as we rolled up the next steep pitch of the climb I got a front tire puncture. I tried to hit it with a CO2 but it didn’t seal so I rode a flat a couple of miles to the tech zone. Brad gave me a quick wheel change but the lead group was already five minutes up at that point. I chased flat out but as you know to catch a five man break on your local group ride solo is nearly impossible, let a lone a group consisting of former and current World champions, Cape Epic winners, etc….. I spent the next 95 miles mostly alone in full chase mode losing time the whole way. It was the longest, loneliest and mentally toughest race I have ever experienced. In the end I would roll in for sixth place but miles from when the leaders crossed the line with the first sub six hour time ever recorded.
I was glad I had my aero bar setup, skinsuit and Evade helmet.
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I ran the Epic with 165 psi rear, 120 psi front. I used the Renegade S-works 1.95 front(30 psi), rear(32 psi). I ran the fork at 80 mil to get lower in the front and my saddle nose pointed a little more down then normal for all the time I was spending in the aero bars. I used road pedals with the S-Works road shoe because you never unclip and the shoe/pedal combo is a little ligther then an MTB shoe/pedal combo. It also feels like it has better power transfer with a wider contact area. I would chose the same setup again because it has worked in the past and the place and type of flat I got on a smooth dirt road climb I can only attribute to bad luck. I have run those tires every year with out any problems and spent upwards of twenty hours on the course this year training with them without any problems.

I’m hoping the momentum finally starts to swing this weekend. Meg, Coop and I are off to Costa Rica for the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge in Guanacaste. It’s another 100 mile MTB race but this one is in the jungle at sea level. It goest around a volcano and promises to be every bit as challenging as Leadville but instead of thin air it will be ultra thick with heat and humidity. My passport made it back in time for the trip so that is plus heading into the weekend.
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Also, the http://www.toddandnedfondo.com is shaping up nicely. Everything is falling into place thanks to the hard work of a lot of dedicated people and we’re even getting some cool neon green trucker hats!! The new trails are being cut, permits are granted and the parties are coming together. It’s gonna be an awesome even so I hope everyone can make it down to ride our historical trails, in the mean time I have a few more miles to log in.

I wonder what fun stuff Winston will do with Rude while we’re gone…..

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