Wednesday was the first preride of the season for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike course. Right now the course is very dry, loose and has minimal canyons created by afternoon downpours. I don't expect the same conditions on race day. Even though I live at about 5,000 feet, I notice the altitude at Leadville. The city itself sits at 10,152 feet - oxygen is in short supply and high demand for endurance athletes.
A nice group of eleven of us showed up for the preride. There was a wide range of experience in the group with a ten-year veteran, a few people in the one- to two-year group, some DNFs and some newbies. I love preriding the course with newbies. I suppose some of it is nostalgia from my first preride in 2005. Some is also a chance to help someone new learn the ropes of the course. The good karma of returning to sport what sport has given to me.
The group took loads of photos, too many to attach to this story. Attached is one view of the infamous Powerline descent. I'm standing about halfway down the descent looking up. The small, currently dry canyon that Roy Gatesman is about to cross can become deep and steep when monsoon season brings heavy rains. Heavy rains cut deep scars in the mountain.
One thing that struck me when I was looking at all of the preride photos - nothing looks too steep. Sitting in my office chair sipping a homemade latte, I'm thinking I could easily climb the section that Roy is shown descending.
Ah, but that section is around 80 miles into the event on race day. Maybe Lance, Floyd and Dave will be riding it on race day; but there is a very high probability that I will be walking. I will also have plenty of company if this year is like the last two years.
I didn't see anyone of great cycling fame riding the course on Wednesday, but there has been a press release that Lance indeed plans to race in Leadville. Floyd has said all along that Leadville is in his plans.
It will be interesting to see what kind of media is present and where. If you look at the photo you will see tire tracks. I suspect the media has been sussing out places to get good shots of racers on race day. Of course I could be making that up.
Any way you slice it, it was a great way to spend a Wednesday.