The Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania is concerned about the vital need for water a world away, and he's using this year's race to bring clean water to communities who have been without. Doug also serves on the board of WorldServe International, one of the largest private water drilling nonprofits on the African continent.
We checked in with Doug to find out how his training is going and just what it is about this particular cause that is motivating him to go the Leadville distance.
What is it about the Leadville Trail 100 that you think will help draw attention to your cause?
Leadville is one of the most recognized mountain bike races in North America and is known as a grueling suffer fest. Those we serve in Africa who need clean water suffer daily with life and death at risk. Although not equal, this effort just seemed like the perfect fit.
What does your training look like and how is it going?
Being relatively new to mountain biking, I am grateful to have joined up with Carmichael Training Systems and my coach Jane Rynbrandt. I live in Missouri and we just don't have the hills to practice sustained climbs, so CTS has me working through a rigorous program now that will include a pre-ride in June in Colorado and their Leadville Camp in July. I am currently in the 12- to 15-hours-a-week range between road bike, mountain bike, intervals, and recovery rides.
Any nutrition secrets you're learning and would like to share?
I just finished my first ever mountain bike event: a 50-miler in Arkansas. CTS helped me plan my nutrition, which helped me finish and taught me a lot. Because I'm new to mountain biking, they had me experiment with different foods and drinks on long training rides so I wouldn't have surprises during the race. We all have different tastes and our bodies react differently to different foods, so the secret is not necessarily in the item but spending the time finding what works for you.
How are you preparing mentally?
I know that these months ahead determine how I will do at Leadville, so mentally I am really focused on pushing through the pain and working to become a stronger rider. How I mentally try to handle 100 miles at Leadville will be something I will focus in on more closely at the CTS camp in July. I have also watched a number of videos and interviews on Leadville and something Dave Wiens said in one of them spoke to me: Stay relaxed and treat it like a ride with your friends, which I hope is where my head is at come race day. I know it's going to be extremely tough but I hope and expect it to be something fun and memorable.
What drew you to the cause of water in Tanzania? What are your ultimate goals there?
I visited Tanzania almost six years ago and stood in the villages where there were functioning water wells and also in those that didn't. I was moved by the immediate transformation that takes place the second a water well is dug. It was something I couldn't walk away from. Kids were not getting sick of waterborne illnesses. Girls could get an education instead of walking six hours a day fetching water. Medical, agriculture, churches and educational partners follow. Lives are saved. We now have nine drilling rigs in operation in Tanzania and two coming online in Kenya.
How did you become involved in WorldServe International?
WorldServe International president John Bongiorno heard of my work with another NGO and simply invited me to come see what they were doing in Africa. I think it is fair to say that some things choose you and it's fair to say that working in the clean water space did indeed choose me. I've been hooked ever since.
How close are you to your $100,000 goal?
We have many great partners that support our water projects but for Leadville, I am pleased to say I have raised the $100,000 via our amazing friends at OtterBox, Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches and Pentair. We will be setting up a social networking site for individual pledges as well.