Two days, 250 miles and nearly 20,000 feet of high altitude climbing. It’s an alchemy of the two of the most revered off-road road cycling events in North America. One of America’s toughest, grittiest mountain bike races followed by an equally challenging 144 mile gravel race.
For the 2020 Leadboat Challenge athlete, this is more than a test of mental and physical fortitude on the bike. For some of our athletes, just making it to the start line will be a victory.
While a handful of LeadBoat athletes live in temperate climates that allow them to train undisrupted throughout the year, many others face freezing temperatures throughout the winter and have embraced this cold weather and unconventional training. Graham Muir, from Steamboat Springs, Colorado and Rose Grant from Columbia Falls, Montana are two such athletes. Both with training already underway, they have not shied away from the outdoors in their preparation for LeadBoat.
Story #1, Rose Grant- 2019 Leadville MTB Champion
Rose reports on her recent winter training: “I accept that in comparison, my training volume is less than many of my peers, and I’m good with that. Right now, I make my training count, but I save some reserves for those I cherish, and have faith in the process for the rest. A week off the bike can feel hard this time of year, but nothing is more important than invested family time; plus some long ski days has me feeling tired just same”.
“I just spent a full week training on skate skis. This allowed me to get some longer days in to help build endurance, allow the body to move in a different way than the bike alone, and allowed me to get some quality work in outdoors”
“I’ll put my nose down most of the month of February with my structured work indoors on my Feedback trainer, and hope some days may allow me to get outside on the road with my MTB for unstructured riding, weather dependent. I make skiing with my daughter a priority and try my best to embrace the seasons and maintain a healthy balance knowing I have time. As the weather changes, longer training days become more achievable and makes Leadboat possible with it being a later season event.”
Story #2, Graham Muir (Iditarod Trail Invitational 350-mile Finisher)
Graham is training for the ITI1000 (Iditarod Trail Invitational) 1000-mile race to Nome, which will take him through the far reaches of the Alaskan wilderness, following the Iditarod Trail to its conclusion in Nome, Alaska. In this 20 to 30 day journey, Graham states that “he hopes to keep all of his toes and fingers.” Despite the impending ITI1000 followed by the LeadBoat 250, Graham states:
“I still don’t classify myself as a cyclist – more as an adventurer who rides his bike. I don’t take it too seriously as far as getting uptight or too stressed but have total respect for the toughness for the events I take on”.
Although self proclaimed ‘not a cyclist’, Graham can be found on the remote, snowy roads of Routt County on his Fat Bike in sub zero temperatures.
“My trainer is my fat-bike. During the week when I get 90 mins to 2 hrs to train before the sun comes up a couple days a week, I will go climb some hills. On the weekends when I get a bit more time, I’ll try to keep it a little flatter and just spin some slow, fat miles. The weather has to be very bad for me not to go out”.
“Now that I think about it, no weather has ever been too bad. When the mercury drops and the wind picks up this is when the challenges change but stoke stays the same”.
“I’m also in the gym three times a week where I can put some intensity into my sessions. I put a big emphasis into my recovery so I can put in the hard yards and stay injury free”.
There is something to be said about getting in those winter miles outdoors-you will very often be rewarded with the gorgeous rising or setting of the sun!
Follow Graham on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/graham.bush.muir/