It's all done. No more training! It's been a long journey of discovery and I am pretty excited to see how it unfolds. From not knowing how to clip my feet into a bike in October to now jumping it over obstacles has been an experience. A wild ride to say the least. It's hard for me to even express how much things have changed. How much I have learned about mountain biking and about myself. Trying to balance ultra running the endurance mountain biking has been interesting. Feeling lack luster on most of my footraces and watching my speed (the little I have) suffer. There have been changes everywhere. From my fitness, to my body and most of all my confidence. I joke about being sore somewhere for almost 11 months as my body adapts to the aggressive nature of MTBing to the cathartic motion of trail running. This might have been the biggest test of perseverance I can remember. Staying present and not giving up on the bike when I know I can go back to ultra running, something comfortable. You absolutely can teach an old dog new tricks!
At times this has been incredible frustrating but at other times incredibly rewarding. Letting go of all my paradigms about my athleticism and opening myself to failure (over and over). Not trying to prove I belong because I can run 100 miles but banking on that to get me through has made me better. It's given me even more appreciation for the strength ultra running has given me. The mental strength so stay in it not matter what. This has been very humbling and I love those kinds of experiences because they remind me there's always more. The other night after watching the 2009 MTB race Alex said, "Mom I and really nervous for you". I immediately thought he was worried about me getting hurt so I assured him I would be careful. He said,"No, I am worried you're not going to make it and we will all be a mess, we will all be bawling our eyes out".
With only a bit over a week before I line up with 1800 other MTBers to complete the toughest 100M MTB's around I am full of emotions. I will be fighting cutoffs all day and it's been along time since that has happened. Worrying that all the hard work, investment of time and money could be done in 4 short hours is a real possibility. I have sat for many hours with this. From the time the gun goes off I will be fighting for my line on the trail and working near threshold on the climbs. Then I must descend with speed and determination. I will need to ride down the infamous powerline (sugarloaf as we, runners, know it) at least 12 miles per hour. Then I need to rush through the speed zone, skipping the pipeline aid stop and reach mile 40 in 4 hours. I seriously can't afford one bad crash or any mechanicals. Once I reach that hurdle I have 3 more cutoffs to fight. With already 5,000 on my wheels I have another 8,000 to go in 60 miles. That includes at least 2 forced dis-mounts. The first at the top of Columbine (the high point) and the trudge back up the face of Powerline. I am banking on my experience dealing with pain and enduring to get me through the back half.
There is no getting around the facts. I will be on edge for 12 solid hours. Trusting my bike to ride over and down things at speeds I am not comfortable with but need to embrace. I have decided to plunge in this with a positive but aggressive attitude. I can't start this race with a "I might not make it" attitude. I can not be hesitant and I can not be weak mentally. Instead I have decided to give it everything I've got until they pull me off. To take each section as it's own small XC race. I have given this endeavor everything I could. I have left nothing on the table so I have no regrets. I am actually excited to experience it. There is a reason only 6 plaques on the board of over 100 are woman. Becoming a Leadwoman is hard. Riding this course in 12 hours is damb hard and makes the DNF sheets for a 100M footrace look short. Whatever this outcome I love MTBing...Watch this!
The next day I get to run or should I say get through the 10K. After that I have 5 days to pull myself together and run the 100M footrace. I am actually looking forward to that day. I know it won't be my best Leadville performance but it will be a great day to get lost in all that has happened. I want to spend the day reliving and daydreaming about all that has gone into this goal. I have gotten a year of amazement and I want to give it the emotional time it deserves. To cement it in my memory. I want to dream and think about what's next. I am also looking forward to that familiar feeling of running 100M in the mountains. If I can get that all done my name will be added to the board of Leadmand and Leadwoman and that will be so awesome!
It's been another year of pure joy.