I like to ride my bike. Apparently so does Lance. Here is my theory: Lance raced Leadville not only to conquer what he didn’t last year but because he truly loves the sport and the competition. He proved he can win at one of the hardest mountain bike races in the world. Leadville definitely has a lot of double track (at least I think it does) and a perfect venue for a perfectly trained cyclist. Lance beat the record and won the race but he did it in a different way. He rode 55 miles by himself and you won’t see that happen often. That is a record all by itself. Most of the time you see someone winning within the last 4 or 5 miles and sprint to the finish. What an impressive victory to win the way he did. I wonder if anyone could do that on the road.
One thing is for sure, Lance is doing something positive about the sport that is great. He is helping our sport because he loves it and feels good about it. We don’t see the best road cyclists racing mountain bikes for a few reasons.
He is giving back to the sport like nobody else has done – for cycling in general – he has done more than anyone else has ever done. (Do I need to say that again?) I will cheer him on next year for the Tour de France. I might even go to France just to see it.
So what about my ride? The bad luck that I had in Kamloops followed me to Colorado. I had a lot of anger in me coming into the Leadville race. After loosing any chance in a podium position at Kamloops I was ready for a good result and I felt good. Really good. I knew it was a big race not only for the 100 miles or the altitude or the competition, but the potential exposure because Lance was there and so I wanted more than anything to be on that podium with him.
In my whole career, I have never put that much effort into training and preparing for the high altitude. I can’t even remember deliberately preparing like this for any other race before – even the Olympics qualifiers. As a sea-level resident I have always suffered at the altitude races and I felt this race was an important step in my career and integral for continuing for the next few years. Oh yes I am disappointed – beyond belief. I wanted the proof to myself for seeing how fast I could do the course and that I am able to compete with that particular competition.
Well I guess when I have bad luck I have really bad luck. Damn freak mechanical. If it could have held out for at least 80 miles I would have finished standing.
After all is said and done - I feel good about the way I was racing for the time I was in. I’ve been training for endurance for many years now and felt like I had a good chance to be on the podium. I will make this race a focus for 2010.
My biggest thank you to MonaVie-Cannondale, Matt Ohran our team manager, and my teammates for all the support, and especially to Cannondale for sponsoring the race. Check out the photos and stories on the MonaVie-Cannondale.com website. The MonaVie Emv is seriously helpful. I am very very impressed for what it does for my performance and cannot say enough how much I like the energy drink.
And a very big thank you to Ken Chlouber, the promoter, for making me feel special and for such an excellent and well organized event. I’ve done a lot of 100 mile races and this was one of the best I’ve been to and I plan to be there for many years ahead. One of the best things about it was the competition, the energy of the town and the people, and being there with my team. And thank you to all the spectators and people I got a chance to talk to after the race. It was fun hanging around getting a chance to talk with everyone. Colorado was absolutely beautiful. With all the beautiful mountain passes, trees, down to earth people, and a great town -- it was a good time.
See you next year Leadville….