(OK back from the pity party about my latest injury. I did ride a 50 mile road ride this weekend. I felt strong and good. The time in the saddle didn’t hurt. Race With the Wind, here I come! 6 days and counting. Let’s finish the story of my biking adventure…..well up till today…cause the adventure is only starting)
The end of the summer of 2011 was a turning point for me. I needed something new, something hard. And so I declared my intent to race in the Leadville 100 race. I put my stake in the ground. I was ready. Well, except that I didn’t know how to ride a mountain bike. And I didn’t even own a mountain bike.
OK. Problem 2, not a problem. Clearly time for a new bike. The owner of one of our local bike stores has this ability to find and squirrel away really good equipment that people might consider retro. Usually its metal of some kind. So what did he have hidden in his basement for me. Turns out he had a 1992 Basso Superlight Ti Hardtail frame, brandnew (wrapped in plastic), waiting for someone to build and ride. Awesome. I wanted a Ti hardtail bike. So we outfitted it with a combination of Shimano and SRAM parts. And “Worm” was born.
“Worm” (why Worm? Well worms live and play in dirt!) and I spent the fall riding and getting to know each other. Then the weather closed out the season and it was time to put the bikes away and pull out the luge sled (Luge? Yes, if you don’t know I luge in the winter. How can you Live Dangerously if you don’t continue to the stupidity in the winter ;))
In January I entered the lottery for Leadville. A friend of mine at Clarkson did his graduate work in Colorado and had ridden Leadville 7 times. We got to talking about me wanting to ride in 2013. Next thing I knew we were both signed up for the lottery. Fast forward. I didn’t get in to Leadville, but he did. We both decided to enter the Willmington Whiteface 100 Leadville Qualifier. Would I get in this year?
Fast forward again (past the big luge crash, concussion, severely bruised foot and shoulder, Story for another day dear reader I promise!) and spring had arrived. I started training for Wilmington. A combination of long bike rides, two track expeditions and some single track training. On a day in spring I realized a truth about mountain biking. I fall off my bike a good bit. WAY more than on a road bike. Talking with others this was apparently a fact of life I would have to live with.
This year officially became the “Year of Living Dangerously” when I endo’d for the first time. Riding on a single track, going fast and having a good time. I failed to see a rock in my future, had my weight a little to far forward, had my arms a little too stiff, and over I went.
What a mess. When I opened my eyes I was face down in the first. I had broken my fall with my nose, lip and chin. There was blood and dirt everywhere. Luckily nothing was broken on the bike (OK or on me either, just scrapes). I had to bike out of the woods and I must have been a sight to the people walking on the trail I passed. When I got home, Coreen was worried.
Coreen asked if I was ready to do Leadville. I had been having thoughts myself. Wondering if I could finish the epic race, because it was long and hard. Coreen was afraid I was going to not finish because I would hurt myself. The answer was a resounding, all out, (whispered) “yes?” And a mountain biker was born.
This summer has been awesome. I finished the Willminton Whiteface Qualifier, beating about 225 people (out of 450 or so). My time wasn’t great, but I learned a lot about racing and about myself. And I got a spot in Leadville by being at this race (which I deferred to 2013. Funny that was my original plan. And the universe gave me that opportunity. Its a much better plan than racing this year would have been). I rode in Colorado. I volunteered at Leadville with Noah. I learned a little about how important it is to have fun and ride with friends. I also learned about eating and hydrating while biking really long distances if you want to go fast. This weekend Noah is going to race his first race (the Race with the Wind) and I am totally pumped for him, and to close out my own season with a 46 mile race at the same event.
This fall is time to transition from biking to luge. (Did I mention I luge? Here look. Me at the Masters Nationals in Park City Utah last winter, racing against former Olympians. No I didn’t win, but I did have a ton of fun.)
Now I am looking at training programs for the winter, spring and summer next year. (Figure I might as well pretend to be an athlete and train formally for this race.) I have the Willmington Whiteface Qualifier and Leadville 2013 circled on my calendar. I might also do the Tour of the Bettenkill, if it fits. But for now, just friendly fall rides in the mountains.