Leadville Day 2: Acclimating

My ride on Day 1 of my trip to Leadville, well it sucked. It sucked as bad as any ride I have done in a long long time. And it lead to a mental war.

The intellectual part of my brain said: ” You are tired from traveling. and It’s DAY 1 AT ALTITUDE. Give yourself a break. You will be OK.”

The emotional part of my brain said: “Holy crap you are in trouble buddy. This is going to be a SUCKFEST.”

Intellectual me put up a good fight and I went to bed last night a little unsettled, but mostly OK.

I woke up this morning (after 8 hours of sleep) and I felt, well, just better. Better all around. Physically better and more confident. Time for some breakfast and then off to a 2 hour “easy” ride.

This is what greets you on the way into town:


(And its there, lest you forget 10,200 ft, and the course goes up from there.)

Before the ride I stopped at the Leadville store and met some of the people I knew from the Leadville Yahoo group page. Then I went biking. For the first time in a while I had someone to ride with. Steven, from Glasgow, now living in Denver, and is…wait for it… doing the Leadman competition. (If you don’t know Leadman, google it. It makes me look completely sane.) Steven was on a Fatbike. (Hear that Chris???!!!) An awkward looking thing with a cult like following.

Steven and I rode start to St. Kevans. My plan was to get up to the top and then bomb back down. Putter around and go home. Steven was going to do the first two climbs.

I was feeling better from the start. And I knew it. I felt it. When we got to the climb I geared down and climbed up. It’s a good climb. Moderately long. moderately steep, very rough in places. I really understand now why it backs up here during the race (and why some people walk). There are not many lines up this hill.  (Stay at an edge on race day Doug).

I ended up walking one short section. My heart rate crept into zone 4 (a no no right now) and so I did the smart thing, got off my bike, walked a little bit, and got my HR back down.

Steven caught up to me shortly after that (I also made a wrong turn and had to back track) and we rode the rest of the way up together. We were passed at the top by a group of sub-9 hour guys. Holy crap they were fast. Anyway, Steven abandoned his idea to do the second climb and bombed down the backside of St. Kevans. I followed my plan and bombed back down the side we just climbed. I wanted to see it the other direction and the down on the backside is paved, so really nothing to learn there. Steven and I split up.

The down was fun but you really need to have some care. Some of the water channels across the trail are very deep in places (think about a 2.5 ft deep channel cut out of the road).

After that it was a little putzing around. I ended up at Turquoise Lake:


By the dam:


I decided to ride the Boulevard back to town (the official ending of the course). Just for kicks they add a different section on the way back into town. It had a 100 yard section that is steep and babyheaded up. The rest was not so bad.

At the end of the ride I felt pretty good, way better than yesterday.

I talked to Drew today and he reminded me that I will have about 85% of my power here no matter what. No matter how long I am here. Just get used to it.

Thoughts for the day:

1. I’m not at 85% yet, but I will be by next weekend.

2. It’s funny to be biking like I was last summer (hello granny gear, you and I are going to spend a lot of time together next week) all of a sudden. Wonder what would have happened last summer…….

3. It’s going to be OK.

Picture of the day. After leaving Turquoise Lake looking towards the mountains.



5 thoughts on “Leadville Day 2: Acclimating

  1. Just what I need, another engrossing blogger to follow! Someone who might even spur this near 3 score nut to tackle something this insane. Between pictures, words, and training suggestions, who knows. Good luck, be careful, and keep us regaled with great stories.

    • Thanks Dave. If you decide to do this….DO NOT underestimate how hard it is. It is easy to feel good at home (at sea level). It’s not easy.

      It has been worth it. I am better for the experience.

  2. Sounds like you’re settling in nicely! Don’t let the thin air scare you. You’ll get acclimated fine and then will be back to feeling “normal” before you know it.

  3. Pingback: 2013 A Year of….. | A Year of Living...humm...dangerous?

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