I’m not a big fan of New Years as a holiday. I mean, I understand that January is month 1 and December is month 12. But really why doesn’t the new year start on say February 7 or July 13. Really.
OK rant done :).
Training: 2013 was quite the year. I looked at my bike training record. In 2012 I road a total of 5440 miles (346) hours. In 2013 that went to 5716 miles (444 hours). I spent the equivalent of 11 days in total on my bike during 2013! My outdoor biking total mileage actually decreased from 2012 to 2013 (from 4742 miles down to 4623 miles) but that is because my mountain biking picked up from 1718 miles to 3213 miles. I think it is safe to say I became a mountain biker in 2013. I used my road bike as more of a training tool for endurance rides in 2013 rather than a dedicated riding bike.
Racing: I started 2013 with the Tour of the Battenkill (which I finished in the middle of my group). I didn’t have a lot of fun in that race and ended up with an injured knee. The knee got better with some PT and a trip to the chiropractor. I learned how to ride injured and be a little tougher. Still cross that race off the list. I don’t need to go back and do it again.
And then of course there was Leadville (the focus of my year). Leadville was an experience. I look back at it now and smile (Laugh it up funny man….Hey Yeti, welcome back. Happy New Year….You hate New Year…..Yup, so Happy New Year Yeti 😉) During the two weeks leading up to Leadville I was tense and stressed. It wasn’t fun. Well it was fun for a while, then it dragged on and I JUST WANTED TO RACE! But I do have great memories leading up to the race. Picking my family up from the airport and having them at the cabin with me. Of course there were the donkeys. Having lunch with Fatty and the Hammer. And of course having my friend (and part of the BEST Leadville crew EVER) Jenni come be a part of the experience.
Two weeks may have been too long, but I was well acclimatized by race day and ready to roll. Race day? I remember feeling calm at the start. All of the nerves went away and I felt ready. When people ask me about the race and how it was I feel a little silly wanting to skip over the first 87 miles of the race. But in truth they were the most fantastic 87 miles I have ever biked in my life. I was strong, I passed people on the climbs. I rode my bike to the sky (12,600 ft) and never felt bad. In the Race Across the Sky movie they talk with people on Columbine who are just suffering. They show people puking. I never had that. I felt fantastic. I passed people all the way up that climb.
(Me above the tree line, coming back down Columbine)
My race was really 17 miles long (the first 87 were just a warm up). The last 17 miles, that was my race. Ken Chobler says you cannot do Leadville without experiencing pain and suffering. At the rider meeting he promised that if we were expecting to do this race without finding something deep inside ourselves were we in for a shock. Powerline was the hardest 3.5 miles I have ever experienced on a bike. But I got up it. The climb to Carter Summit was just long. I experienced my suffering and found that place within myself that Ken promised me 1 mile from the finish line. Ironically it was at the place were the dirt ended and the pavement began. At the place where the people started cheering on the finishers. I remember feeling the strength drain from my body and having to stop. I remember people talking to me and asking if I needed help. I remember NOT panicking or worrying. I remember getting back on my bike and just turning the cranks over. I remember crossing the finish line and then looking up at a beautiful sky from flat on my back. I remember a granola bar that was awesome. I remember some chocolate milk that made my stomach clench. I remember I finished in 10:30:05.67 (dead in the middle of the pack 758 out of 1600(ish) people who started the race).
In the end Leadville was a fantastic experience. One that I will cherish.
I’m looking forward to 2014. I am planning to solidify my position as a middle of the pack 40-49 male endurance mountain biker. Biking season seems a little far off right now. We are encased in ice and the temps today and tomorrow will not get above 0F (yeah daytime highs below 0 F, nice eh?).
Picture of the Day
“Favorite” (Thanks for the picture Jenni…)