Tag CO

Leadville 100…. I survived!

Yes, I did it!  Report, pics, etc to come soon. 

Here’s a great link to a video & pics of Dave & Lance – when you see these two struggle, you know the climbs are bad!

Amanda and I heading down to the start at 5:45am

Tawnya & I riding the red carpet in together

Me & Tawnya, happy to have made it!

the countdown has arrived

actually it’s been going on a long time. too long. i’m at the point where i’m ancy. over the wait and just ready to be at it. it’s a bit scary to think how much i’ve prepped for this one race. yeah, i’ve done bigger/longer stuff, so 12 hours should be totally doable. but all the unknowns just make the butterflies chase eachother: altitude. weather. the crowd factor (riding the course with 3 people is much different than 700+.)

altitude. during my training trip out here 1 month ago (yeah, that one i took that i never wrote about here – oops. check out pics here.), the altitude had minimal effects on me. no headache, no nausea, no extreme fatigue. not to say it didn’t tire me out some – i certainly felt it, especially on some tougher sections where my exertion level would shoot up. i’ll need to be careful there, as it seemed to kick in my asthma a bit. (my plan is to get off my bike and walk a few sections and save my breath, rather than try to muscle up it, lose all my breath, and be on the side of the trail slumped over trying to find oxygen). 
there’s all kinds of theories on acclimatization. 3-4 weeks minimum. go the day before and surprise your body. day 4 is the worse. do this, that, etc. sure, let’s quit our jobs and just move out a month before so we can be ready. but seeing as how that’s not possible, we just have to make a decision. i flew out to steamboat on the 1st (to see my friends during the relay), where i’ve been doing the taper thing all week around 6800′. i’ll have 7 days at this elevation, then driving up to leadville (10,200′) friday morning. last minute. who knows if this will be the right decision. just gotta go with it and believe you’ll be ok. sure, i felt ok during the training trip, but what works one time won’t necessarily work the next. fingers crossed and i’ll continue to hydrate and rest lots. (so far i’ve been feeling good, although some light arrhythmia today. nerves?)
weather. mother nature is always the big unknown. amanda said they’ve been getting showers every afternoon. sure, no problem. maybe it will even make the ground a bit tackier (the elevation gain/loss on the course didn’t seem to be a problem during the pre-ride, but rather the dryness and looseness of the terrain. quite unlike anything back east!) then today the weather says flash flood warnings out there. oh joy. well, i hope it just gets out of her system and we’re left with dry skies; then i can deal with the temperature change more easily. right now, the highs are in the mid-60s and lows right around 40. sounds nearly perfect! the descent off columbine will be a kicker though – that will be around 6 hrs in, topping out at 12,500′. sleet/snow/hail here are not uncommon. 
crowds: sure, any race gets crowded at the start. but take 700+ people and one nasty climb up st. kevins… and what was a challenging climb before becomes even more so when you can’t pick your line but are left to whatever your are forced to take in front of you. yeah, that’s going to be fun. not. then the start line itself. i’ll want a good starting position so that i’m not stuck too close to the back – when i’m going to be fighting to make the time cutoffs, the pack-of-the-packers are certainly at a disadvantage and i don’t need any wasted minutes. at the same time, since i know i’m not going for the gold buckle, i don’t want to be too close to the front and be “one of them”… you know, those annoyingly slow people ahead of you in races that leave you cursing them as you desperately fight your way around.
so those are my thoughts right now. at least the ones that are clear enough to write down, as a zillion things are flying through my head. i’m tired of thinking about it, of talking about it. (sorry if you’ve tried to chat with me and i’ve been in la la land). now to try and get some quality sleep. 

a quick hello from CO

i arrived in denver friday afternoon to sizzling temperatures of 100. luckily it feels better in the mtns of steamboat, but still pretty toasty.

the rock/creek race team successfully got their asses over the passes and finished the wild west relay : 195 miles of running from ft collins to steamboat. i met them en route,  then we crashed at aunt lorraine & uncle steve’s casa for the rest of the weekend. recovery efforts included banana pancakes, icy soaks in fish creek (conveniently located in the backyard), soaks in the hot springs of strawberry park, and lots of local beer. more pics to come.
matt, natalie, lisa, chad, leigh, sam, kevin
today was catching up on some work and enjoying some great weather. i need to find a tripod for better sunset photos. squint and pretend it’s all sharp. :)

Colorado Fall Vacation

These escapes west are starting to become a regular thing :) This time my primary excuse was to attend NEXT, the Biennial conference of the American Institute of Graphic Design in Denver. I went a few days early, stayed a few days late, and got inspired by everything around me, both professionally and personally.

A brief overview is below; skip right to the photo galleries here.

Monday Oct 8th: arrive in Denver, exhausted

Tuesday & Wed: I stayed with Hennie, so I was able to hang out & relax while I soaked in the elevation. Actually, I spent the mornings working on final details for the YMCA Strong Adventure Race I was putting on (a mere 2 days after I get back from vacation!). In the afternoon, I was able to join the Denver University Nordic Ski Team’s practice. Cool stuff! Hennie is the assistant coach and his roommate Dave is the head coach. (So was this sorta like hanging out with Urban Meyer??) Tuesday the team roller skied up Lookout Mountain. I borrowed a road bike and pedaled up…. with one damn foot, as I couldn’t figure out Look pedals, especially with no flat ground to practice on. Luckily my body was feeling ok after the big run only a few days before. We got a great few of the city and saw some crazy guys skateboarding (?!) downhill.

Wednesday we went on a run around nearby city parks & old neighborhoods for 1.5hrs. I was happy with how my legs were feeling and that the altitude wasn’t effecting me.

Thurs: Amanda came into town last night, so today we went to Boulder. It was a quick trip, primarily to pick up Johanna’s bike (so she could race 24 Hrs of Moab that weekend). We did get to drive around and see a good bit of the city and had a great 2hr hike around Mount Sanitas.
Thurs pm – Saturday pm: conference activities! long days, great speakers, old & new friends, good contacts, and open bars. There was a great installation of banners downtown called the Denver Urban Forest Project, all designed by local talent.
Sunday: was cold & drizzly (what a treat for everyone running the Denver Marathon) and therefore lazy for me. (more work on the Strong race). Lorraine & Susan drove down from Steamboat and after a mega shopping session, they picked me up and we headed back to SS. The rain of Denver equated to an early season snow in the higher altitudes. Luckily the roads in the pm were much better than their morning experience.

Monday: Our 24hr boot camp began with a 6:30am yoga class followed by a hearty oatmeal breakfast. Lorraine, Sophie & I went on hike around noon for a few hours, to the pools above Upper Fish Creek Falls. We topped out right around 9000′ (starting elevation around 7100′). We had a picnic up at the top enjoying the view until our shivering forced us back to our feet. Yes, we had a bit of snow up there. I think Sophie liked it just as much as me!

Tuesday: began with a 7:30am 20/20/20 (20min pilates; core; aerobic). after bfast settled, Steve took me up in his plane! The offer has been on the table the last few trips, but I just wasn’t ready until now. I did better than I thought and enjoyed it! That afternoon we returned to Denver, as Steve & Lorraine were flying out early in the morning to the east coast.

Wed: My flight wasn’t until the evening, so after some work on the race, Hennie took me on a tour of LoDo (Lower Downtown). I think I found heaven :

a 3-story REI with a Starbucks inside!

The trip as a whole was fab (as expected), although it ended poorly with my luggage not arriving until a day later. I’m already scheming on my next winter trip… hopefully to see/support Amanda in an XC race!

colorado… the final entry…

I’ve been back from vacation a week now and I’m totally missing it! I had a great time out west and highly recommend everywhere I went. Here a few links just in case you are lucky enough to indulge….

Vista Verde Ranch
Catamount Ranch & Club
Steamboat Springs
Ski Cooper
Tennessee Pass Nordic Center & Cookhouse
Melanzana – AWESOME clothes!

Day 2: snowshoeing up to the Catamount yurt for lunch

Day 3: Amanda and I up at the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse

Day 6: Winter Carnival in Steamboat… the only marching band on skis!

Day 7: classic skiing at Vista Verde

more colorado pics

the rest of my trip was of course amazing! i found out that i am a nordic girl at heart – loved the skate skiing and classic, but was absolutely terrified when i put some tele skis on and hit the beginner slope. those little kids kicked my ass down that mole hill! in general, the weather was pretty warm – not that different from chattanooga actually. (the week before though, temps were in the negatives!) now that i’m back from vacation, i have the grass is greener syndrome… i’m just about all ready to pack up and move :) now, back to reality… sigh!


winter in colorado!

having a blast out here in steamboat & leadville! will write more later about my skiing debut… pics are posted here