Leadville Winter race #2 was this past weekend, thanks to Cycles of Life and the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center. Last year they put on a hell of a race and word must have gotten out as there were 65(!) entrants to this year's event. Being a night race, Marni and I met the gang in the afternoon after a lazy morning and headed up to Leadville. We stopped in town for some coffee and snacks before heading off to Ski Cooper. The parking lot was packed and we got all checked in and psyched to race. I got dressed and out to warm up pretty early as a rest week usually leaves my legs pretty dead to race efforts. I did some climbing alone and then came back to tweek tire pressures on my bike as well as Marni's. The course was pretty fast and there would be a new longer section added this year to increase our race times a bit. Before long we all gathered outside and I did my best to stay warm in my relatively light clothing.
Marni and Erik were queued up near the back along with Bill. Brett drove up with us and was racing too although I never quite found him on the start line, probably too focused on getting ready to race and staying warm.
We had a good crew racing up front again this week with Mark, Doug, Cannon, Chad and quite a few other speedy guys in attendance.
The flag dropped and off we went! I'm always happy to get rolling. After the opening scramble settled down a bit I headed up the first climb with Chad. He got a gap on a steep part where the Endo's spun but I closed back down before the downhill and jumped up into the lead. I could see a bunch of chasers so I tried to keep the bike upright on the crazy steep parts and open up a gap. By the time we hit fish flats another rider had caught me but I pulled away again as the flat section let me turn on the power a bit. The flat section was loooong and I got a good gap on most of the chasers save one, Cannon. He caught me right near the end of that section and jumped away on the first hill at the exit. I tried to close the gap but fatty (aka the Pugs) was having none of it. He snuck away, almost out of sight and the extended chase was on.
We came though the start finish area and I figured he had me but I kept chasing just in case anything happened. I finished up about a minute down to take 2nd place and put another couple minutes into third. After I finished I had to ummm, go get a sock to warm up a particularly sensitive part that got a little chilly out there. Then I grabbed my puffy and cheered on everyone else as they came across the line. Bill rocked out there and soon Erik came though too.
Another minute later and Brett came though. Nice job to Erik and Brett on their singles!
A little bit later miss Marni came through, easy to spot with the Epic Designs pogies on her bars. I didn't want her to have chilly hands and she didn't so thanks to Eric at Epic, the pogies are a success again. Marni had a short lap to go so I rode near her for her last part. She looked really tired but was still climbing the hills really well and caught even more guys on her last lap! I can't wait to see how she does on the dirt this year after a lot of SS training :)
We powered up the last hill for the 2nd time and she headed on down to the finish.
She was the first SS woman and finished midpack among all the girls, I'm so proud of her.
After we were all finished we headed inside the lodge for some great food and an awesome post race party. Eventually we had to head home so off to I-70 and a couple hours later we were tucked in bed. What a great way to spend a Saturday!
You can check out more pictures at the Vail Daily and also check out Michelle's pictures of the race. The next race is February 21st, hope to see a few more of you guys and gals out there!