August 13th, Leadville 100 Race.
20 till 100...
In a flash I had a new goal/job/dream/stressor/focus in my life. In twenty days I would be sitting atop my bike, trying to complete something that only several thousand have tried, and even fewer have succeeded at. With such a short time line, I resigned myself into acceptance that there was little I could do to physically prepare myself for such and undertaking. There was no "cram session" of training that I could knock out, no book I could read, no EPO locally available... Kidding.
Several things took priority, and boiled largely down to one thing. Funds. The suddenness of it all left no time to save money for such a trip, or to slowly accumulate the needed parts, plan for accommodations, or even begin to wrap my head around it. I began a fund raising effort, which in the end made it all possible. My friends, family, bosses, and other local business came together and contributed a huge chunk of change to help cover the costs of such a trip. After hours of number crunching, and several spreadsheets later, I reached a rough estimate of $1800, food not included. It did cover entry fee, gas, lodging, bike parts, and a few pieces of clothing. The largest cost of which was converting my newly built bike from single speed to geared.
The guys at Reno Bike Project, a non-profit bike co-op of sorts, came up huge and offered me all the needed parts at cost, as well as free wrenching and tuning. My friends at a local screen printing shop, Fuel Promotions, offered to print a couple jerseys and some t-shirts for my "pit crew" as well as to give as a thank you to some of the larger sponsors that helped me out. Despite what felt like an oppressive weight of the somewhat unknown, constantly lingering, it was all coming together. It consumed my life. When I wasn't at work, where I talked about my plans for the next week, I was behind my computer screen, reaching out to anyone who I felt might have something to offer. This included talking with some of my friends with competitive cycling careers, and experience in distance cycling. It was a lot to take in. Everything from nutrition leading up to and during the ride, to discussions on bike part selection. These talks helped answer some questions, but also solidified how big of an undertaking this was. The altitude, the distance, so many unknowns that lingered in the back of my head, a rookie cyclist by every measure.
One week away. The room was booked in Silverthorne, as everywhere in Leadville was full. The last of the bike parts trickled in from QBP. The jerseys and shirts were at the press. The bank account was nearly empty. But it was a go. Jonathan, my step-dad, and friend Larry were along for the ride, offering to join me for the trip, and act as my pit crew for the race. Without them, I couldn't have done it.
Packed and anxiously awaiting the road ahead, somewhat relieved that the planning and logistics were nearly over. Only a dull 17 hour drive away from Leadville...