At 6 AM this morning, I woke everybody but Kayla up to see the bike race come by our corner of Leadville. We bundled everybody up as it was only 30 degrees outside.
At 6:30 exactly, I could hear the shotgun go off in town...since I was listening for it. I directed the crowd that had gathered at the corner into formation and we waited the couple minutes until the bikes came by us at about 30 MPH downhill.
The pictures don't do this justice. The bikes are from the lead car to the horizon where the road turns. Then there are more behind that. Watch my video from 2011 if you want to see how impressive it is.
For about 7 minutes, bikes just come by and by and by. Its amazing. The wind picks up and blows you backwards from everyone moving by.
Then we went back to bed! I got a text later on that said JT couldn't make it up to crew Tim. Damn. Well, I watched the results coming in live pretty timely. I wasn't going to Twin Lakes. That's too far and its a mad house. So I opted to hit Pipeline and catch Tim there with his drop bag of gear to load him back up. Pipeline for the bike race doesn't look like the run race at all. Its like somebody had a sale on Easy-Ups.
Within 15 minutes, my rider arrived. I had to yell at him to get his attention. Got him fresh hydration and reloads on everything I had with me. Told him he was on pace for 9 hours. Somebody else had just said that nearby and he sounded smart so I passed it on. Figured it might keep him pumping. But he was bitching about bonking. Wah. Ride that bike, boy!
I sped back out of Pipeline like a maniac and caught him again along Halfmoon Road for a few more photos.
I was kind of in race fever mode now. So I sped by a cop and ripped into Powerline minutes later. Ran down to the bridge and waited. Here he comes again.
Need anything, I yelled. Nope. OK. Later dude. He had to then ride (or push) that bike up Powerline. Holy crap that's got to suck. Hiking it is not bad but pushing a bike up with bike shoes on. No fun. Jogged back to my truck and headed home to get my work done.
Check Tim's blog for his write up.
I continue to be intrigued by this race. I have no doubt with some specific training I could ride a bike again and do this thing. My lungs are there. My legs need to adapt. I need a bike with disc brakes. Then I just need to learn to sit in the saddle for 9-12 hours. I sort of do not like the fact that these bike dudes have something different going on here. I feel like I need to ride it once to get the full cred. Not sure if that means Leadman or just the bike race. Maybe its just worth doing Leadman given that's the only missing component this season. (The 10K doesn't count.)
Well, the runners saddle up next weekend. That's my rodeo. And I am ready to ride.
View all photos from this event.
Kim and I have been debating how to spice up our Leadville land. We had been toying with the idea of building some kind of structure for the kids to play inside of. Wanted something that would work year around. Kind of doubling as a snow fort in the winter and hang out in the summer. I was so close to buying some house looking shed at Home Depot many times. But we kept seeing mini log cabins but just never could price, justify, buy, whatever. Then one day I said, what about a yurt? They are here and there in Colorado. But I had a hunch it would be a ton of dough. And they are! Because they are often used as actual living quarters. That wasn't going to work. But something else caught our eye when looking through the yurt company catalog...they sell tipis! I am told I have some Indian on my Dad's side. So let's explore our heritage with a big ass tipi! They come in many sizes but somehow we settled on a 16' tipi. That is how its measured from door to rear. 14' wide across. Ordered!
Panic set in. The tipi was about 6 weeks out but where are we going to put it. I don't really want it on the dirt. I kind of want to get it up off the ground. Maybe we build a deck. So one night Kim and I researched decks and got a PDF on how to build a 18 x 20' deck. Time to go shopping! I brought my trailer how and started loading it up with materials to drag the 100 miles up to Leadville. I was hestiant that I could even do this at first so I bought a smattering of the parts needed to try and work through it live.
Instead of pouring concrete, we went with Dek Blocks. This eased a bit of my fears of the unknown. These can be laid out and moved. Nothing permanent. Just holds once you weight it down. Seemed like a good way for this rookie to build. So I needed 50 deck blocks for the foundation. Here is what load #1 looked like.
More gear the next week. I was building confidence now. This was actually getting kind of fun. Laying out the blocks was probably the biggest pain. Trying to level them on an uneven surface. We hauled a lot of dirt over and made pads and used a really big level for hours and hours trying to get the bubbles just right everywhere.
Once those were good, I started throwing the decking on. This was a fun day. Walking on top of it for the first time was kind of cool. It held me up. Duh. But I felt like I created that.
Had to get the decking in two total loads. Finally got to start attaching it and screwing it all together. It was coming together. Employed the kids to help me with a few of the pieces that took a lot of hands to hold straight.
Finally, I was decked out! Everybody said it looked like a big dance platform. But few knew what was in store for it next? Why build a deck in the middle of the forest.
Spent last weekend painting in between rainstorms. I was running out of time! After a delay, the tipi was due to arrive. It had to come freight because of the 20' long poles. A huge bundle of them. A bunch of other gear and a big canvas. Its go time.
I was pretty excited and rather than waiting for help, I dug in. The book said it takes patience. I was anxious. So I followed step by step. I build this V formation between the main 3 poles. You tie them together. Then you just stand it up and kick one of the legs out to form the initial structure. Them Indians were smart.
With the poles up, it was time to start measuring. This is the only part where they give you some dimension. The distances between the poles. I was moving leg by leg to center it on the deck into its permanent home. Then you just lay the poles up on top going in a circular fashion. Once done, you just walk around the bottom with rope and tie it all together. At no time do you ever have to get off the ground to do anything. But I keep using my ladder to look up and inspect my work.
This next part was the hardest. Putting the canvas on. Basically you attach the canvas in one spot to a single pole and kind of stand it up in the air like a flag and throw it into place. That canvas is really heavy so having in on this pole and trying to basically mimic a pole vault type operation with the canvas was not easy but I got it solo! Then I realized I had the canvas on inside out. Oops. Had to do it again. In the rain. You can't stop me now.
I spent the final hours putting the door on, then bolting the legs to the deck, and then roping the canvas down to stretch it tight like a drum. All in all, its done now. We are short the inner liner that comes down and gives you the final foot of coverage to the floor. That's more a cold weather feature though. Should be in soon. Now, we just need to finish up the insides a bit. We have a fireplace in there. Putting some rugs inside. Probably some furniture of some sort. I even have the ability to run power out to it so any visiting Indians can charge their iPhones...or get some light at night. I am sure its going to be pimped out soon.
I feel like my summer projects of building have come to a close. Deck. Tipi. Treehouse. Zip line. Just in time. I have to go run next weekend...but after that maybe I can figure out something else to build!
I was trying to be a good boy and wait until I see them in November but it was killing me so I had to. Nine Inch Nails at Loolapalooza! I am so glad to have TR back after that hiatus. He is genius.
Check out the visuals at 42:00 for Closer.
After the recent completion of the tree house, I realized we had just built a nice launch platform for a zip line. So I quickly ordered up a nice 100' kit and was excited to install it. Turns out there was a nice big stopping point tree just 95 feet away. So I rigged it up between that tree and the tree house and we got going. The kids were tentative at first. They would get on and pull themselves upstream and then let go. Finally, I got them up in the tree house to launch and that's when the fun began! They ended up riding for probably 8 hours. All I could hear from the house were screams of terror and delight. Ended up being a pretty cool addition to our growing set of toys in Leadville!
Take me to the launch platform!
Even the little people get to ride!
My favorite ass man, George Zack, returned to Leadville today to defend his win last year. But Speedy Jack had other plans apparently today. We caught up with them near the end of the course and followed them in. Regardless of the outcome...and the crappy weather at the end...George always has a smile on and love to play to the fans. Great work, dudes.
The rains came. Then they stopped. The sky cleared. What a great night for a run with friends!
As has become tradition, we opened up our home to as many runners as we could to cap off the training for the Leadville Trail 100. Runners gathered at our house throughout the evening. We had the grill going. We had "In The High County" on the TV. People were swapping advice and war stories. Runners meeting other runners. It was a great social scene. But we were here to do a job. So I got everyone organized and gave me pre-run briefing before shuttled all the runners about 4 miles to the Fish Hatchery to start our journey back to the warm house along the LT100 course.
It all starts with a nice kick in the teeth as you climb up Powerline relatively fresh and only thinking one thing -- I have to do this same climb with 75+ miles on my feet in two weeks. Fuck me. But we persevered and the lead pack was at the top in about 60 minutes after leaving Fish. We regrouped and then started the colder and darker descent to the lake. I always find myself playing host and wanting to be sure that everyone has a great time and is safe. The runners are all adults but I don't want to leave anybody behind. So I played sweep and bounced around at the back of the pack keeping tabs on things.
We came into Timberline trailhead to find our aid station rocking out to Prince. The beer was flowing. The mood was hopping. However, a bunch of folks took the opportunity to abbreviate their run by getting in the warm cars for a ride back. Never! I am always trying to get a good final long run out of this night no matter what. Time on my feet.
As I came around the lake, we had a lost runner calling me and calling back to my house. He ended up missing the CT turn. Oops. Ended up on the paved road and the crew picked him up in the car. I was trying to coordinate my version of search and rescue from my iPhone while passing through Mayqueen.
The run to Tabor is far too long at night. No bearings even though I know the trail. The lake is just too dark. Ugh. Finally got there and made my way around the lake with a few other runners in toe. The trail is so sketchy through there at night so I led. Felt good to be running through that section given I have NEVER ran it in the race. Maybe this time.
I picked up a another group near the Boulevard and led them back home. Got back at about 1 AM after starting at 8. 5 hours on my feet but never really working too much minus the Powerline startup. Everyone stayed up until about 2 AM eating and drinking and socializing. Plenty of questions about how this was going to go down in two weeks.
Thanks to George Zack and Rob Timko for manning the aid station at Timberline. We threw that in a couple years back and I think its a nice add to the event. Gives you a small break and chance to view the amazing star show that Leadville offers.
All photos here are from Rob Timko. Thanks Rob! His full set from the night here.
Thanks to my wife, Kim, for allowing me to open our home to a bunch of crazy stinky people who eat our food (that she makes!) and camp in yard! I couldn't pull it off without her.
Appreciate everyone who came out to run! Hope it was a good experience. See you on the trail in 2 weeks. I feel ready. How about you?
I went 21.35 miles with an elevation gain of 2,367 feet in 04:37:35, which is an average pace of 13:00. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Its the most wonderful time of the year...August. The Leadville Race Series kicks into gear with the 100s. As previously announced, I will be hosting the UNOFFICIAL LT100 Night Run this coming Saturday.
Final instructions are available here.
I need to know how many we are transporting & feeding so RSVP if you are coming:
See you out there!
I enjoy my line of work because I build things...in The Matrix. However, I still have a fondness for building things in the real world too. However, it isn't the same. You can't just refactor your design when you are done. Its such a pain in the ass. All the planning, design, measuring, etc. I am used to just rewriting until its perfect. So this project in Leadville was my first medium scale creation. After several weeks of hauling the materials from Longmont to Leadville, I finally got to drive some screws this weekend and complete the first phase of the creation!
Check that sucker out. Its pretty sturdy too! Multiple humans can walk on it and it holds their weight. It measures about 18' by 20'. 108 2x6s. 50 concrete blocks. 15 lbs of nails. And a couple new tools later, I had it done. Of course, I did get some help. My wife "advised" me along the way. Basically, finding me a blueprint of how to build this and then questioning my moves. Thanks, honey. Then I employed child labor in a few spots like putting on some of the facia boards. Nothing like 10 hands to hold the board in place while I drive the screws.
The next phase of the project may get delivered this week. This is a base for the real "structure".
Anyway, I started walking around the yard with my creative juices flowing now. Reagan had taken a bunch of my leftover wood and wanted to build a house. I played along and found that she was trying to hang a 2x6 off of a tree as big as my wrist. That's not going to hold. So I proposed something else -- what if we build something bigger, higher, and better? She was game.
Next thing you know, my nephew, Ed, and I are up in trees and making stuff happen. Lots of raw cuts made it more fun than the precision of the deck project. We found 3 good trees in a triangle formation and went to work. Suddenly, I had a few boards up and was standing 8 foot in the air on my next creation. A few decking boards. Some make shift joists and I had a platform. The branches were in the way so I got out my pruner and started sawing from 8 foot off the ground. Surely, that's not in the manual.
Kim got wind of this and quickly had me adding side boards to keep the ER visits to a minimum. It worked. Made a ledge on each side. Built a ladder. Hung a rope down. Then went back up with my circular saw and cleaned it all up. Enjoy!
I am now being asked to add a second story and some bridges to adjacent trees. Don't tempt me. I create things.
|Overall||134 of 587|
|GPS Analysis||Garmin Connect|
My last run of this race produced a pretty memorable performance for me in 2011. I knew I was going to have my work cut out if I wanted to eclipse that time from before. But there were obvious issues in that performance so I figured I could address those and score a PR. This was the night before the race thinking -- which always gets me believing the wrong things. So I lined up and figured I would see what the day brought.
My kids met me along the way. Always great to see them in route. They instantly started arguing about something and I figured I had stayed long enough.
I don't know what this is but my wife tends to capture the best images of me.
I gotta go kids! Meet you at the next stop.
The rain started as I hit Printer Boy inbound. It wasn't too bad for me. Others suffered later in the day I bet as it poured.
However, an aid station guy and Kim sort of talked me into taking my coat. I wasn't keen on it but I went with it. The rain stopped minutes later and I had to drag my coat with me to the finish. This clearly cost me the course record.
Visiting with a fan club member. He wanted an autograph.
Anyway, on the race. I just didn't have any big gears today. I think its a combination of my fitness and my lungs. But I will take what I can get. Seems to warm up 3-4 hours into the run. When I had my best run on this course, I DNF'd at the LT100. Related? So maybe a mediocre run will get me what I need. I was really working to try and break 10 hours. Was doing math from the Iowa Gulch turn inbound. Ran harder there than anything else all day. Wheels started coming off with 1 or 2 miles to go. As I was 5 minutes out, I realized the reroute of the finish and I came up short. Oh well. Bottom line -- I got a good 50ish mile training run in about 4 weeks out. That's gotta do something.
Oh, and going back up Ball Mountain there was a bull moose off in the distance. Awesome! Weird. It looked like a gigantic dog and ran that way. First wild moose sighting!
Great seeing so many friends out there today. Once again got a ton of random shout-outs from people I have yet to meet. Those that pulled up by me constantly mention the blog posts I did on this race previously as a great resource. That's when I used to take a camera on my runs. Those were the days.
I went 47.60 miles with an elevation gain of 7,728 feet in 10:05:09, which is an average pace of 12:43. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
After quite a long time, we finally replaced all the lights in our cabin. There was the added difficulty that most of them are pretty high up and my ladder skills are fading as I age. But after some budgeting, designing, purchasing, delivery and such, we finally had the lights in the house. Just time for me to install them.
That one wasn't so bad. Except for the dust. The house had sat empty before we bought it and the dust accumulated on the fans. So we never used them or Kim would yell as it would create a dust storm in the house. So we lived with it because we thought the lights would be swapped out soon. But it look a bit longer.
Here you can see my extreme skills at 20 feet up. Wiring over my head with no visual. That's how awesome I am. Not even sure if I turned off the power. I cheat death.
The final one was the big one. I went up my 24' ladder fully extended. It was barely touching. I shat myself I think on about the 12th step. So I came down and promptly called my Leadville painter buddy. C'mon over! We double teamed on 2 of this 32' ladders which do not need to be fully extended and hence are more stable. But the light was heavy so it took us both to get it up and hung in a manner that would not bring the light crashing to the floor.
After it was hung, we had to install all the glass with these tiny thumb screws. Don't look down.
Final power test...yes!
I am putting my ladder away now. I hope I never have to change a bulb.