(Authors note: I was considering writing a post today that talked about my continued recovery from my latest crash and what I am learning from it. Well it would be a short post. I learned I am frustrated. Frustrated that I cannot ride as hard as I want. Frustrated, and a little worried, that I cannot train for my race in two weeks. But then I thought about a friend of mine who is going to get a knee replaced on Sept. 11. He has been in constant pain for a while. And I felt, well stupid, for whining about a pain that will go away in a bit. My race is only 46 miles on a “relatively flat” course. SO yeah I may not be able to hammer it like I wanted to, but finishing won’t be a problem. My friend hasn’t been able to do the things he wants physically for a while. So shut up Doug and get over it 😉 )
(Second note: Noah and I are famous. We made Lisa Nelson’s , AKA the Hammer, account of her Leadville Experience. Read it if you haven’t!)
I will now continue then on my story of the
downward spiral upward death march to Leadville 2013.
We left off with my journey after buying my first real bike, and getting hooked. Totally hooked. I rode my first half century on that bike. (That seamed like a very very long ride.) So hooked in fact that I started looking at road bikes. This one was a hard sell at home. Road bikes look a lot like touring bikes. When I talked about getting one, that was the conversation at home. Eventually
I we settled on me saving my weekly allowance and holiday money to buy a road bike. And off I went.
But what to get? I settled on a hand built steel frame road bike made by Alan Wanta.
Steel frame, steel fork, Durace drive train. Sweet ride. Why steel? I love the feel of steel frames. I love the durability of steel frames. I love that it was a hand built lugged frame. Weight about 19 pounds. Not super light, but no worries.
On this bike I really began my long distance journey in 2010. The first spring I had that bike, two friends and I rode our first century. It was the 100 Miles of Nowhere, a charity ride sponsored by the FatCyclist. Then I rode and rode and rode some more. I finished off the summer by riding in the LiveStrong Philly ride. By the end of the summer I had ridden about 4500 miles on my bikes.
The next summer it was more riding. Lots more riding. I did 4 century rides that summer. The 100 Miles of Nowhere (again), LiveStrong Davis, LiveStrong Philly, and a local fundraiser ride. LiveStrong Davis was a blast. I rode in a large pack with Fatty, the Hammer, and a bunch of other Friends of Fatty. We flew, and I set a personal record for a century ride. I rode 4400 miles that summer.
Three things happened that summer. First, I started to have trouble with “Death Wobbles” on my road bike. Google “Death Wobbles” it is NOT fun. They happen when you are going fast (usually down hill) and cause the bike to shake uncontrollably. Very scary. (There will be a follow-up to this at some point, worry not.)
The second thing is that officially became almost skinny at about 172(ish) lbs. Coreen made me buy new clothes because I looked like a “hobo”. (I have managed to be very very constant on my weight since then. Even in the winter. That’s good cause I haven’t gone back up. Its a little troublesome because I want to be about 155 for Leadville, and that means the easy weight is already gone!)
The last thing that happened in 2011 is what lead me to Leadville. After I finished LiveStrong Philly I realized that road biking had become “easy”. I remembered when we stressed about a 50 mile ride. It was the end of the summer epic. Now I was doing 50 miles on the spur of the moment. Century rides? As long as I had a place to buy some drinks along the way, no problem. This is not to say that a 100 mile bike ride is easy or isn’t tiring, it had just become a routine do-able ride. So what next? Where was the next challenge?
I read Fatty’s post about the 2011 Leadville race. I watched the Race Across the Sky video from 2010. And I was officially…… in trouble….heading down a road to a dark place, where there is no oxygen.