Finish time: 06:24:56
Fastest lap: 1st 1:31:26
From: Sandy, UT
Cred: Pro and two-time Leadville Trail 100 champ
Barn Burner 104: 6:24:56 -- 1:31:26, 1:33:31, 1:38:24, 1:41:33
How are you feeling today? Anything still hurt?
Not too bad. I slept like a rock on Saturday and Sunday. The long drive home to Salt Lake City was a little rough, but after a quick session with my chiropractor Greg Freebairn, I feel ready to roll again. I see him regularly throughout the season and it makes a big difference in how I feel after each race.
There's a rumor you're aiming to take back the Leadville win this year. Why did you choose Barn Burner to help you prepare? Do you plan to do any other qualifiers?
Seems like it was 10 years ago that my friend and Leadville legend Dave took the title from me. Funny thing is that it was nine years ago. Man, how time flies! Of course, everyone knows that living in the past is only for guys like Napoleon Dynamite's Uncle Rico, but yes, my goal this year is to win the Leadville Trail 100. It will be stiff competition as always, so I'd better make this quick and get back to training.
I decided this year that I needed to prepare with some more endurance events. Barn Burner was a great prep race because of the slightly higher altitude than most other endurance races. Plus, my Garmin calculated 7,400 feet of climbing, making it close to the perfect training race for Leadville.
I am also planning to do the Silver Rush 50 and am contemplating racing in New York as well as the Lutsen 99er in Minnesota. I'll also be putting on the Leadville Camp of Champions in July.
What did you think of the course? How does it compare to Leadville in terms of course difficulty, terrain, etc.?
Man, the first word that comes to mind is dusty. I know that it is not the norm, but it was crazy. I knew I needed to race from the front this year.
It is a great course for Leadville prep because it is very demanding mentally and physically. If you let up, you could lose several minutes very easily. You have to push the entire race. There is no place to rest on your laurels and try to recover. You have to stay on it all day. It is great that you can pass at any point on the course and it is an especially great test event for anyone interested in doing Leadville. It was very hard to push all day long, but Leadville is the same way. The biggest difference is that the climbs are longer in Leadville. If you want to conquer Leadville, you must first take the enemy's flag!
You beat the record set last year by more than 15 minutes. What was your goal for this race?
During the race, Paul Thomas and Cameron Brenneman and I were off the front on the second lap and we were talking about the race. I told them the same thing I'll tell you: I was there to win and set the record. Not knowing the course, that seemed like it could end up being a big bite to swallow. But, because the race was Leadville training, I decided I was either going to set the record or I would blow sky-high trying. Sometimes racing a little more conservatively works out better, but sometimes you have to go for broke.
Did you have any moment of meltdown during BB? If so, how did you recover?
I didn't have any moments of pure meltdown, although the heat was pretty tough. I generally perform better in a slightly cooler environment so it was hard to keep on the gas once it got warmer. I haven't looked at lap times, but I am sure the heat took it out of me on the third and fourth. Thank goodness for my wife, Summer, who supplied me with drinks and ice stockings each lap, and for that volunteer at the bottom of the last climb who had some extra water.
Some of my Leadville buddies helped keep me going strong too. Marvin was a champ in the aid station, lubing the chain and making the aid stations quick. Seeing Josh, Kimo, Julie, Dave, Ken, Merilee, Shannon, Malin, John, Stephanie and so many others out there cheering me on kept me going throughout the day. When you come to Leadville the best thing you can do is bring your support crew. It isn't the same without them!
How many of these types of events do you do per year?
Usually it is just one or two but this year I will get seven. Seven is lucky, right?
What is your training going to look like during the next two months? Did you find any chinks in your endurance or preparation that you plan to work on as Leadville approaches?
I need to continue to work on my overall strength and fitness if I want to win Leadville again. Since Dave took over all those years ago, there is a new breed of stallions winning in Leadville. I'm hoping Uncle Rico found a time machine that actually works and I'll be on the top step again on August 12th.