|Nora Lee- happy to be in Leadville and ready to ride|
Within a few minutes of arriving in Leadville and unpacking the car, we were on our bikes to circumnavigate Turquoise Lake. This was my first time on the road bike in over a year, but I guess it's like they say and you don't really forget. It was a beautiful afternoon and the ride was awesome. Some dark clouds loomed over the peaks, but the rain didn't start until we were safely back at the cozy house just east of town.
Saturday morning, after a hearty breakfast of Dutch Baby, we drove back to Turquoise Lake and got on the Colorado Trail just west of Mayqueen Campground (mile 13 of the LT100) and headed over Sugar Loaf towards Fish Hatchery (mile 23.5). Nora rode her mountain bike over some very technical and often pretty steep trail while I ran and again, we had a great time. Last year in the 100, it was on this section of trail that I knew my race wasn't going to go as planned. My legs felt spent, the way you expect them to feel at mile 80, but this was mile 15. I let go of my time goals and hoped to hold on and finish. I kept going for another 60 miles, but ran up against the time cutoffs at Fish Hatchery on the way back (mile 76.5) and had to call it a day. But on this day, I felt great running alongside Nora on the road in to Fish Hatchery and even better after a brief stop by the fish ponds for a light lunch. We headed back up the Power-line Trail, which was only really steep for the first half mile (Nora crushed this section on the bike), then rolled along at a pretty gentle grade. Running this section was a big mental breakthrough for me since I had stopped just before this part last year. We made it over the top and then cruised down the forest road to Hagerman Road and back to the lake just as the afternoon storms came in. It got pretty wet and cold for the final couple miles back to the car and we were both pretty tired, but it was a great day on the trail and a huge mental boost for my race preparation. From the point where we finished there is only 13 miles of rolling trails and gentle climbing back up to town and the finish line.
|Nora showing off her MTB skills on the Colorado Trail|
|Nora climbs the Power-line Trail|
|Best pacer ever!|
|Heading back down to Hagerman Road|
|Mount Massive summit looms behind us|
After an IV glucose drip from the EMTs and a sandwich from Nora and a lot of me feeling stupid for putting Nora through this, I was okay and the EMTs left with some encouragement to be a bit more careful with my blood sugar - yes I will. I don't need to learn that lesson again. We had a great, blood-sugar stabilizing breakfast (waffles and fruit) and then got out for a bit of a late start on our hike. We scrapped our plans of bagging Huron or another 14er and settled on a shorter, easier hike up the Mt. Massive trail to a beautiful spot at 12,000 feet with views of Leadville, Turquoise Lake, Twin Lakes and the Mosquito Range. It was a beautiful summer day and there is nothing like a hike in the mountains to clear the head of a somewhat traumatic morning.
|Pesto, tomato, cheese and egg sandwiches made for gourmet trail lunches|
|A nice spot for lunch at 12,000 feet|
|Nora flies down the Mt. Massive Trail|
|Carmelized onion, peppers and swiss chard tacos- a perfect dinner to finish a perfect weekend|
Truly an amazing weekend that leaves me not only feeling confident about the big race less than 4 weeks away, but really good about my life and all that lies ahead. As she was leaving on Saturday night, Dana told me that I must have done something really good in a past life to deserve all the incredible blessings coming in to my life right now. I have to agree.