Leadville Trail 100: Journey over destination
Spoke 'n' Word
Picking a big event or objective on the calendar, planning and training for it, and going for it, transcends abilities and endurance disciplines. For me it is on the bike or ski mountaineering and#8212; but it could be running, triathlon, whatever floats your boat.
From professionals to high-level amateurs to weekend warriors, everyone does it, and the beauty is in the journey and#8212; the overall approach and experience and#8212; over the destination and#8212; that is, whatever result you might achieve.
No doubt the objective destination matters and#8212; pro riders donand#8217;t get paid just to train and we all want to perform to the best of our abilities and#8212; but the big-event approach can be about so much more than a time or placing at the end of the event.
Doing a big event like the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race, with 1,900 riders ranging from pros trying to break records and rep sponsors to amateurs who just want to finish, can really highlight the journey.
For the LT100 and#8212; held annually in Colorado and arguably the biggest one-day ultra endurance mountain bike race in the world and#8212; the journey is so rich!
The race is held at altitude, starting at 10,200 feet in Leadville and featuring 11,000 feet of climbing between 9,500 and 12,500 feet. The course is primarily on dirt roads with a smattering of rutty/ rocky and#8220;realand#8221; mountain biking and some paved sections mixed in. Itand#8217;s not Downieville, itand#8217;s not a road race, it is somewhere in between.
Figuring out how to prepare your body and set up your bike and an overall race strategy and the pure logistics of getting yourself and your bike to the remote area are all part of the mix.
The unknown of the journey makes it an adventure. Do your best and embrace the energy of the pack and amazing crowds and have a blast, knowing the unexpected challenges will spank you at any moment, whether itand#8217;s a flat, a crash or a bonk.
You can, and will, finish. Even if you donand#8217;t, it is but one more chapter in the journey.
For me I set a goal and#8212; a destination and#8212; for the LT100 of a sub 9-hour finish and the big Gold Buckle. I ended up achieving that goal, but that is not really among the most definitive moments of the event.
It doesnand#8217;t compare to the excitement of deciding to try to qualify and circling the event, discussing training strategy and bike set-up and planning the trip, suffering alone training in the heat and wind high up on the flanks of Mount Rose, researching training and pacing and tire choice, planning nutrition and pacing, making the trip with my teammate, Matt Chappell, and his family, meeting and riding with fellow competitors over the hours on the course.
Equally admiring the winners who rode away from me and those I knew might not finish or be out all day (donand#8217;t they suffer more than the pros?).
Circle a big event, and embrace the journey.
and#8212; Team rider Andy Scott is the author of this weekand#8217;s Marc Pro-Strava Racing column, Spoke and#8217;nand#8217; Word. For more information, results and upcoming events from the team, visit http://marcpro-strava.com.
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