Time does not idly slip away when you are training and racing. None of the athletes I coach have any problem knowing where the summer has gone. If anyone needs a bit of a refresher you can always open up training peaks and scroll back through the weeks and months and see the workouts, training blocks, and events that we have all compiled over the past few months. The summer has gone into miles, kilojoules, and podium performances.
The last week and a half has been a bit of a summer pinnacle. I had 6 racers in Leadville 100 who Amber and I were out supporting at aid station 1 and 4. I am insanely proud that 5 of 6 had sub 9 hour finishes and 1 slipped in a few minutes over 9. It was a great day in Leadville and it awesome to witness our crew racing for their lives. After getting everyone through the last aid Amber and I took to the trails above Leadville Colorado Mountain College for an amazing singletrack play session. If all you have ever done in Leadville is push gravel you have to go see what the Cloud City Wheelers are busy creating on the southeast corner of town. The trails are so amazing I nearly loose my mind when I am riding in there.
From Leadville we made the beautiful drive down through Minturn and into Vail, where I would be making home base for the next week. I was there to support Heidi Dohse as she kicked, clawed, and punched her way to the finish line of the 6 Day stage race - Breck Epic. As most of you who I am friends with on Facebook know, Heidi runs on batteries. She is 100% pacemaker dependent and has been for the last 30+ years. This girl is the warrior princess! It was an absolutely remarkable week. Her story is inspiring on its own, but for me to be there beside her the majority of the week and witness first hand the battle she was in and her iron will, I will never forget it. Incredible stuff.
Amber came back up to Breckenridge to pick me up and head over on Friday night to Steamboat Springs. We were treated to another spectacular sunset mountain drive as we headed north on Highway 131. I love mountain driving. Seeing the little abandoned cabins speckling the landscape always gets my mind reeling thinking of the stories and the people who came to the mountains and the dream that lead to the construction of this small little shelter in the vast Rockies. I certainly feel that I connect with that same dream. When I pull into a mountain paradise like Steamboat Springs I get the sense of that dream being realized.
The Steamboat Stinger 50 mile race was Saturday morning. I was racing in this one myself. As always I had high hopes of racing strong, but I knew going in that the massive week of riding probably was not going to put my legs in the proper state. I was on my trail bike with a new Rock Shox RS-1 fork and Maxxis Minnon tires, so in the very least I was going to have fun going downhill. And that was the “at least” of it. Right away I knew that there was not much strength for pedal pushing. I wanted to keep myself comfortable enough to let it rip on the DH. The RS-1 is blowing my mind. This ups the fun factor of racing so much, and I know it is totally cliche at this point, but it really does feel like my Pike is on the front - except for it being over 1 lbs lighter. I was still blasted at the end of the race and laid out on the grass for a good 20 minutes before the need for Fajitas and Beer outweighed the pain.
Amber, Craig O’Boyle and myself enjoyed a night on the town in Steamboat before the three of us woke up and took to the Steamboat Ski Hill to sample the goods. Yes I needed to be resting and not clocking another 2k of climbing, but YOLO Ya Know! We climbed a gorgeous trail called Valley View to the top of the mountain. It was slightly confusing coming down because trails were somewhat closed for the Enduro race going on, but we found our way onto a trail called Rustlers Ridge that was filled with berms and jumps and berms and jumps. What a spectacular descent to end the week!
What a week! This is what I want my life to be full of all the time! It is an entirely new feeling to me to be so wrapped up into other peoples race results. Having the performance of the athletes I coach hanging on the line and seeing so many people step up and deliver outstanding performances is an intense joy that I never really saw coming. Beginning to see my dreams of Podium Performance coming to fruition have been amazing. Going from the idea that all of us have a Podium of some sort we want to step onto, and then seeing it go from an idea to a reality, it just simply is the best thing ever.