Finish Time: 5:02:28.29
From: Ketchum, ID
Cred: Pro, current Master's XC World Champion, and three-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100
What did you think of the course? Is it true that the gas was on all day, with not much chance for recovery-on-the-fly?
The course was truly challenging. I felt like it was a compressed version of the LT100 course: big, steep climbs, powerful flats and not really anywhere to recover a whole lot. It also had an out-and-back format so you did get to see other racers for some of the course, which I like. It was a huge climbing day with nearly 9,000 feet of climbing in 69 miles. Yes, it was more than 100k! I wasn't expecting that.
The terrain was gorgeous, the sections of single track were a nice treat and the Wilmington Whiteface resort finish was pretty cool.
Here's my Garmin Connect log on the actual race stats if anyone's interested in that.
What about the climbs? As one who's well acquainted with Leadville, how did they stack up?
This was definitely a climbing race. Most of the climbing was totally ride-able, but long. The course was punctuated by a few really big climbs that had people fearful. And, like the LT100 course, you knew if you went down something on the way out, you were going to go up it on the way back. This led to a little bit of squashed enjoyment screaming down fun descents on the outbound knowing I'd be pedaling up the same thing in the near future.
All of the climbing was totally ride-able if you just put your head down and kept pedaling, except for the final climb up Wilmington Whiteface. So close to the finish line, we were handed a super steep, super loose 1,500 foot gravel road climb. It reminded me a bit of how I feel on Powerline knowing I'm almost done, but still have a huge obstacle to conquer. I definitely had to walk up some sections, as most riders did. Overall, it was a hard course and I feel that if an athlete did well on this course, he or she will most likely do well in Leadville.
What is your training and racing going to look like over the next two months as the big day approaches?
I train with Carmichael Training Systems head coach Dean Golich. I pretty much just do what he says! Most of the time...ha!
Really, my training will be to keep racing the Leadville Race Series events. These are great tune-up races and I love being out on new courses. I will be at the Silver Rush 50 and Tahoe Trail 100 races. I will also sprinkle in my local short track and XC races for speed work and keep packing on the miles at home on Idaho single track.
With all your racing, you need to have your recovery dialed in. How do you personally implement the "train hard, recover harder" rule?
Recovery IS part of training and too many athletes miss that part of the equation. If you don't recover well, then you don't reap all of the benefits of your hard work. I'm essentially lazy and don't want to have my work not count 100 percent, so I take recovery pretty seriously too. First, I go through lots of GU Brew Recovery Drink, not just after races, but also after most training rides, even easy ones. It's important to keep the tank topped up and stack the odds in your favor with good recovery nutrition. Plus, the chocolate smoothie flavor tastes like I'm having ice cream to celebrate my ride.
I also have at least a couple of days a week that are either entirely off or super easy. I need this mentally and physically to be at my best on the hard days and not get burned out. I also keep track of resting heart rate, sleep, mood, and a few other factors with Restwise so that I can get an accurate gauge on how well I am recovering (or not). It's important to take life factors into consideration and alter your training accordingly. Sometimes things just don't go as planned, so paying attention to recovery and adapting quickly save you from digging yourself into a giant hole that takes a long time to get out of.
Lastly, I keep in touch with my CTS coach, Dean, to talk about how things are going and how I'm feeling. We can tweak stuff to accommodate those sensations.
Tell us about the equipment you used at Wilmington. Will you change it up for Leadville?
I raced my Specialized Fate 29er hard tail at Wilmington: SRAM XX 2x10 26-39 drivetrain with the new GripShift. I also used a Quarq power meter and a Garmin 500. The power meter is a new addition to my racing and training this year and has been a really cool tool to use with my CTS coach. It's added a whole new dimension to my training and recovery. I used Specialized S-Works Fast Trak 2.0 tires. I raced with two water bottles, no hydration pack.
I might change my tire selection or 2x10 gearing for Leadville, but I might not. Everything else will stay the same set up.