Garmin at Leadville 100: A tale of two rides (and two buckles)


LV2010Tomblur TOM:
Race day dawned bright and cold and Dave and I made our way to the start line. Wow. I was nervous. Can’t lie. The Leadville 100 MTB race has become one of the biggest races in the country. Where else can you race with top professional cyclists and weekend warriors all at once? At promptly 6:30 a.m. Ken Chlouber fires off the shotgun and we’re off. And I’m freezing. As we flew into the valley on the way to St. Kevin’s Gulch the temp dropped to near freezing. Coming from a week straight of 100 degree days this was a shock to my system. The climb up St. Kevin’s begins soon enough and I warmed up quickly as I settled into my pace. Using my 500 to keep track of my pace and heart rate, it was easy to keep my efforts in check. I’d never done a race (or ride, for that matter) of this duration and I did not want to earn a DNF in my first attempt.

DAVE: This year I decided to set my Edge 500 to show only heart rate and average speed and not watch the clock, and this turned out to be a great idea. The first section of the race came and went quickly. I rode efficiently watching my heart rate closely on all the climbs and accelerations. Twin Lakes came up, Marcos and Dana refueled my bike and I was off to climb Columbine. I climbed this 10-mile monster at an even pace watching the heart rate closely. The trick to Leadville is to not blow up early because you stand the chance of never recovering, especially at altitude. I hit the turn at the top and started back without stopping.

The St. Kevin’s and Sugarloaf climbs went well and Columbine lived up to my expectations (long, high, crowded). On the return trip the sun was relentless and I was able to “dig deep” to ride up and over the Powerline climb (pushed the bike up the lower section) to the Turquoise Lake road and then back down St. Kevin’s to the infamous Boulevard and the finish where my wife and parents were waiting for me.

LV2010Dave DAVE:
Inbound for home I noticed my Edge 500 was indicating around 11.3 mph for an average, which is what I needed for a nine hour finish. This was going to be close. The middle rollers came and went, then up the nasty Powerline climb and onto the finish push. Still showing 11.3 mph on the 500. As I arrived at Carter summit – which is considered 1 hour from the finish – my 500 read 8:12. Time to get busy, we’re not watching the heart rate anymore. I climbed St. Kevin’s, bombed the downhill and rode hard for the finish. As I turned onto 6th – the finish stretch – my Edge 500 read 8:58. No way. I hammered it and finished 9:01:53. I didn’t care about the buckle because I just had the best race of my life. At the awards ceremony, there is a tradition to vote in a small number of riders who just missed the 9 hour cut-off. Five of us were called up. I was the fifth and we got voted in. I’ll take it. Many thanks to my supportive family and coworkers for keeping me motivated. Already thinking about next time…..

LV2010TomPit TOM:
After 100 miles and 11,100 feet of climbing Dave managed to grab the coveted “Big Buckle” while I finished in 9:55, earning the smaller “finishers” buckle. I now know why this race is so special to so many people. It requires everyone to “dig deep” just to finish. I had wonderful support from my family both during the race and throughout my training. I learned a lot from this race and while I would have told you differently an hour after the race, I’ll definitely be back. If my wife will agree to it.

The post Garmin at Leadville 100: A tale of two rides (and two buckles) appeared first on Garmin Blog.

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