In a previous post I alluded to a bike race I am doing this year. That race is the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. This will be my third year battling the course. I wrote a couple of columns about the event in 05. At some point I will disclose how it is someone manages to cross the finish line with only five seconds to spare; but not today.
Today's story really began late in 2006. The story line has all the ingredients of a good western movie, set in an old mining town with a history of heros, power disputes and clandestine plans. Leadville is the perfect setting for a showdown between Lance Armstrong, Floyd Landis and the lesser-publicized Dave Weins.
Late in 2006, the Leadville Chronicle released a story that confirmed Lance planned to race in the 2007 event. His interest in the event was sparked by his long-time coach Chris Charmichael's participation in the 2006 event. Chris apparently lost a bet that he would complete the event under nine hours, the special time cut for "La Plata Grande" the BIG belt buckle.
Race Director Ken Chlouber invited Floyd to do the race after Lance decided to do the event. To have two strong horses race though the middle of town is a good opportunity for the race and the city. For many, these guys remain heros of the American cycling movement. Yep, a grand opportunity for a good showdown, horse race or both.
After press, stories and the ususal hype expected from this kind of a race, Lance announced that he had a "scheduling conflict" and would not be able to do the race after all.
Last week Chris Charmichael reported he rode the Leadville course with Lance and hinted to the possibility that Lance may still race at Leadville. Ah, clandestine plans.
Also last week, Ken Chlouber made it very clear he wants Floyd on the start line and is willing to find an independent insurance company to insure the event. The race is sanctioned by NORBA for insurance purposes. NORBA is the National Off-Road Bicycling Association and a division of USA Cycling. USA Cycling falls under UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) rules. Floyd is currently under investigation for doping charges and if found guilty will be ineligble to compete in any UCI events for two years. Chlouber will do whatever it takes to have Floyd on the start line at Leadville.
Floyd said in a press story last week that he still plans on doing the event and has been busy whipping that new hip into shape.
Meanwhile, quietly preparing for the event is Dave Wiens - I'm guessing. There has been some press about the four-time Leadville winner, but not much. He is a Colorado native, former World Cup racer and a 2000 inductee into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Leadville racers love him. He is approachable, friendly and shouts encouraging words to racers as he passes them when he is returning on the out-and-back course.
Now that you have the basic story, belly up to the bar and place your bets.
Will Lance do the race?
Will Floyd's new hip work as well or better than his old one?
Does living in Colorado and knowing the course give Wiens an advantage?
Which horse will charge across the finishline first?
On Wednesday I go to Leadville for my pre-ride of the year. If I see any secret training going on, I'll let you know. You may want to change your bet...
I've been spending this week recovering from riding a bike tour around the northern mountains of Colorado. I have to say I love doing bike tours for the sheer pleasure of focusing on riding from point A to point B, deciding what to eat, deciding the length of my afternoon nap, deciding what to eat, enjoying the great Colorado scenery, deciding what to eat and looking forward to the next day.
For a few years now - seven? I've used week-long bike tours as a crash training week to prepare for long events such as Ironman races or ultra-distance mountain bike races. The mountain bike race is this year's goal. More on that later.
My favorite part of this year's ride was cruising in the center of my very own lane, not obstructing traffic, descending the east side of Trail Ridge Road. New pavement too! It doesn't get much better than that...
A photo of the elevation sign at Rock Cut and my snoozing friend Todd below.
The second weekend in June, I was in Vancouver, British Columbia supporting the ITU Development Team. On Saturday before the race it was raining and it was cold. Not just a little rain, a lot of rain.
On a trip to the grocery store a short distance from my hotel, I could hear chanting. It seemed a demonstration of some sort was heading toward me. I looked down the street and I could see cyclists approaching - but something wasn't normal.
Know how you glance at something, then your brain resisters that what you are seeing is does not fit with stored data?
The brain responds with, "What is wrong with this picture?"
You stare more, trying to sort out exactly what is going on. What is going on?
They were chanting, "Use less gas. Use more ***. Use less gas. Use more ***." Chanting away while riding bicycles naked. Most of them were naked anyway. A few of them had swim suits or underwear on, but most were in the buff. Keeping with the intended spirit of "The World Naked Bike Ride", the ones that wanted rain gear to stay warm and dry wore transparent rain slickers. Impressive in an odd sort of way.
Once past the shock of seeing what I was seeing, the analytical part of me began to question. Geeze, aren't there chaffing problems? Pressure points, you know where? How is this possible without extreme pain?
I suppose I could be accused of ogling. There are guidelines for the ride that admonish ogling. But, maybe that is just for participants, regarding each other?
In defense of my (and everyone around me) ogling, I decided getting an audience to pay attention was one of the main objectives. If the ride organizers organized a "regular" ride to bring attention to using bicycles for transportation and using less gas and oil, I'm certain it would not have recieved the same level of attention.
Did the ride have the intended impact? I'm not sure, but I can say I do remember the catchy chant and I'm still wondering about the multiple issues related to no-clothes bike riding.
Welcome to my blog. Many of you may be familiar with my columns or training plans on the Active Network. Those tools will continue to exist.
What you will see in the blog is a variety of current-event oriented topics. That means a mix of my personal adventures, training information I find useful for the athletes I coach, answers about how to modify pre-built triathlon training plans or cycling training plans to meet personal needs, advanced-athlete topics and more.
I look forward to traveling the blog journey with you.