19 Sep

Turquoise Lake in Leadville… I saw this a few times!

You can fight without ever winning,
but never ever, win without a fight.
–Rush (the Band)


…first stop Denver, Colorado.  I had flown into Denver once before, but we never left the airport.  So my first exposure to “the altitude” would be on this trip,  and to be honest I could feel it the minute we walked out of the airport.  My head started getting a little fuzzy but nothing crazy, hell we were only 5680ft above sea level…. and if you don’t or didn’t know Austin Texas is only 560ft above sea level.  Anyhow, “the altitude” feeling was kept to myself… because if I made a big deal about it now, what the hell was I going to do when I got to 12,600ft?!  From the airport we went and picked up our rental and headed to Lakewood where we would stay the night and load up on groceries before heading into Leadville the following morning for check-in… and what a short but beautiful drive it was because all you can see in the horizon was the Rocky Mountains.. the same Rocky Mountains I would become REAL acquainted with come Saturday/ Sunday! 

Friday morning rolled around pretty quick but I did manage to sleep fairly well considering I don’t travel well…  The temp outside in Lakewood was 72 degrees that morning but knowing where we were going to Leadville the temp would be a lot cooler there..  so as I drove the 90 or so minutes it took I watched the temp drop from 72 to 52 within that time period… projected race temp at the start was suppose to be 36 degrees with rain!  Coming from Austin where it hadn’t dropped below 78 and averaged 104 for the last 2 months… the 52 degrees felt really nice, but 36 degrees with rain was going to be something else…  The only reason I bring that up is when I ran the Townlake 52miler it never got lower then 42 and averaged 46-47 degrees the whole time and that was cold to me!  But just like “the altitude” I kept it to myself…  The drive to Leadville was amazing, the Colorado “countryside” is beautiful and having the Rockies as my guide was such a treat!  Also as you drive from Lakewood, every little town you drive through will post the elevation on the city limit sign…. 6,000 ft…. 7500ft…. 9000ft…. 10,000 ft…. welcome to Leadville Colorado 10,200ft above sea level!  My first impression of Leadville was “welcome to the working persons/ coalminer town”. Hardcore, but beautiful at the same time.. the people were real nice but say something wrong and they would probably punch you in the face in an instant!  Anyhow, to start things off we needed to go through medical check-in… which is just fancy talk for getting my weight, 187#.  Next, get my goodie/grab bag… 10 minutes later I am checked in and now the countdown begins, T-minus 18hrs til go time!  We got real lucky, Zac was able to snag a hotel room right down the street from the start line… honestly a 3 minute drive to it!  Which was a blessing, because I had reserved a camp site for us to crash in that night that was on the course…  So after check in we went ate a big breakfast and hung out until our athletes briefing.  This was when I got my first real taste of elevation.  We parked our rental right across the street from the gym where the briefing was being held,… well the street is on a incline, nothing crazy but still an incline…  I needed to get something out of the car so I ran up the street, I hadn’t made it 30yrds and I was like “Oh shit.. this sucks!”, but keeping a positive mind set I just started laughing, because that was the first time in my life I have ever gotten winded from a 30 yrd JOG!  Another thing I kept to myself, no need to talk about it right?!  

Now it’s time for the briefing, this part I will keep short… the race director announced some of the previous winners, he also announce that Lifetime Fitness had become the main sponsor, and then he announced a man by the name of Bill Misner (age 60’s), this man has ran and finished the last 29 Leadville 100’s only missing the very first one because he didn’t know about it!   Amazing!!  What a great guy too, he acutally stayed at the same hotel as us and I was able to chat with him for a minute!  So after a second trip to the grocery store it was time to chill out and just relax, T-10 hrs til go time…. The view from our hotel was amazing, all except the massive rain cloud that had rolled in and was sitting above the mountain as well as our hotel!   The forecast said 40% chance of rain, and all 40% was sitting right over us… time to try and sleep, ON THE FLOOR!  I lost a goofy bet with Elliot and well the floor was my reward…  Lights out and asleep by 9ish, all was good until that 40% chance of rain exploded around us at about 1am.. the rain was coming down so hard it was shaking the room/ and especially the floor I was laying on.  After about 30minutes it stopped and it was back to being asleep, and just like that it was 3am… T-minus 1hr til go time!!!  

…..to be continued


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