Friday, August 28, 2009

A few random belated thoughts from the sidelines of Leadville

You need a lot, as in everything, to go right, and pretty much nothing to go wrong, to hit a goal out there. While the dissapointment of not being able to throw down that day was massive, I'll be candid in saying that I'm fairly certain that the race conditions would have prevented me from hitting the number I had in my head the day I broke the hand - and I would have been disappointed at that... I think.

If you lined up finishers 100-1300, and told me to sort em' into groups that finished in 9-10 hours, 10-11 hours, 11-12 hours, and 12+ hours, I would have been wrong no less than 50% of the time. Rick M., Gary and I spent an hour watching people roll in and looked at each other countless times with that "really, that guy just rolled in at 9:30" look on our face. It was really cool every time we saw it happen. Best example of this was one in our own group - I have no problem admitting I played the fool in giving DT a zero to none shot at finishing that course, yet was shocked over and over during the day as he steadily came through the feed zones, and proceeded to do what was required that day to bring home a buckle. Really cool, humbling, and inspiring to watch guys and gals whom I wouldn't have guessed had any business being out there roll in with pretty amazing performances. I'm pretty certain that no one crosses that line having not left it all out on the course, but I agree with Dug, there are more demons conquered in the race behind the top 100 finishers, and that's the part of the pack I thought was coolest to watch and pricked some emotional engagement - you know, like watching the guy push his incapacitated son across the finish line at the Hawaii Ironman. Not quite as heartwrenching, but kind of like that.

Draper is very well represented at Leadville - to the extent that it was heard over the loudspeaker at the finish line "Draper, Ut needs to put together a team for this race" - he didn't connect all the Fat Cyclist Jersey's that matched up with those Draper racers.

Most important item in the support tent for the non SS'ers that day - chain lube. Conditions wreaked havoc on the drivetrains of literally everyone.

Felt sorry for myself due to the injury and not being able to toe the line, but my situation was trumped by Eldon's. He toed the line, got into the flow of the race, was having the day we all wanted him to have - going fast, only to have it pulled out from under him, literally, on an overcooked corner. Having it happen when your having a day is the harder pill to swallow I think.

Armstrong was sick fast.

My friends and their friends are tough folks. Most inspiring part of the day for me was watching friends come through, hurting, fighting the demons in their heads, trying to hurry when the body had little to no hurry left in it, getting a brief break to eat and see and hear some encouragement from supporters, and then having to clip back in and start slogging down the road again - and they all did it, every time..... not one of them let that race crack them. That includes the one who got more than weather related adversity that day, battling butt demons with a few squares and a hat at the top of Columbine. He'd been through a lot when he came back through Twin Lakes, but there wasn't any quit in him, just like all the others, he got back on and headed off by himself, intent on finishing, and I'm certain would have were it not for a tough call at a cut off point. Inspiring stuff, all ya'll.

One suggestion - move the gathering/lecture/meeting place from the gym down to that nice looking new football field.


Derron Tanner said...

What?!? You didn't expect me to roll in at 9:30? I guess I don't really blame you. And yes, that new football field would be a much better choice than that hot, sweaty, stinky gym with the bolted shut windows. Great post man!


eber said...

as heart breaking as the news about your hand was...i wouldn't have wanted anyone else lubing my chain on race day. that doesn't sound right. anyhow you know what I am gettin' at.

great to have you there with us. can't wait until next year. we need to make you a marshmallow suit over the winter so you don't break anything else next August.

dug said...

maybe they could just cancel that stupid mlm advertisement and just have the race.

Jason said...

DT - Darkhorse of the year award goes to you for your effort that day - seriously good stuff!

EB - Certainly not the ideal situation for me, but given what it was, can't say enough for how impressive it was watching you guys do that - major, major props to all of you. In particular, enjoyed watching how proud your wife and folks were of you - and rightly so.

Dug - like your suggestion even better. From what I gather, the speech is similar each year? Maybe put it on a CD and drop it in the swag bag with the other MLM stuff - appeases Ken who seems to like to hear himself talk, and the folks who really like it can hear it over and over - maybe put it on their playlist during the race so they can recommit when they want to quit.