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Continued from the previous page.


Ah, race day. At least it didn't start at 0430 like the LT100 foot race we used to run.

It was cold, about 36 degrees. I had gloves with hand warmers, stretch pants over bike shorts, long sleeved shirt, and a jacket.

Because of all the volunteering I had done, the volunteer coordinator moved me up to the "orange" corral. This was one corral up from all the first timers.

This was a little intimidating for me but because I had been out there training on the course all summer, I felt I would do okay. Since I was up one corral, I felt like I might have a shot at finishing. I got in line really early so I'd be in the front of that group (photo above). My corral and the one directly in front of me soon filled up:


Looking toward Harrison Ave.; the start line is about three blocks away on 6th St. 
The sun is just starting to light up Mt. Massive in the distance.

Sue took pictures and gave me encouragement while I waited for the starting gun. At the last minute I gave her my long pants but kept the jacket on until Twin Lakes, 40+ miles into the race.

When the riders in my corral were allowed to slowly move up to the last riders in the corral ahead of us, crews were ushered outside the ropes. Sue gave me a big kiss and took a couple more photos from the side. We were more crowded then:


Sue left a few minutes before the start so she could drive back to our camper and walk to the nearby intersection of 6th St. and McWethy Rd., where riders make their first big turn 6/10ths of a mile into the race. She was able to see me better there than she could have at the starting line.

I heard the shotgun at 0630 and slowly inched toward the starting line at 6th and Harrison with the other riders in my corral. That took over a minute.

As riders in front slowed or were forced to stop they would shout a warning, "stopping" or "slowing." I'd never heard or been warned about that. It was very crowded going up 6th Street towards our camper, only inches between handle bars and the tires in front.

Me, rounding the curve as carefully as possible  (8-10-13)

I don't know how many times I've stood at that corner and watched as the hoard of bikes came roaring past. Now I was right in the middle of it. I feared I would crash right there, but I didn't.

[Sue's note:  We've been in Leadville for the 100-mile run about a dozen times. The bike race is one week earlier. Since our RV was parked so close to this turn, we'd go out and watch the bikes come whizzing by on race morning, then skedaddle to whatever aid station we were working that year.]

Front group of this year's riders  (8-10-13)

Since the course was now downhill with a light breeze on CR 9, I was very cold. Because of the close proximity of other riders, none of us could really generate any heat by peddling. My eyes were watering, my hands and feet were numb, and I was shivering.

Here's another version of the out-and-back race course, which starts and ends in Leadville and turns around at Columbine Mine:

Courtesy of Google Maps

We got to the dirt road (CR 9A) and again "slowing." Finally the St. Kevin's climb. Again "slowing" and "stopping."

I got the impression that many of my fellow riders had never been on this course before. It didn't seem fair that I was stuck back there with all those new and inexperienced people. After all, I had been training on this course for two months; some of them had just arrived yesterday.

CR 9 looked much different with dozens of other riders around me on race day.  (6-26-13)

When I finally made it to the top it seemed to open up a lot. Merilee (former LT100 co-race director) was at the famous Green Gate Corner directing us to SLOW DOWN for the upcoming turn. It was a fast ride to the bottom and the Carter Summit Aid Station and the paved road.

I zipped right through, thinking I'll need this station when I get back but not at the moment. Now all I had to do was ride for awhile. 

I remember hearing that I need to make good time on this paved section, to push hard and keep my heart rate at 144 bpm. I was on pace here and got to Hagerman Road without incident. The county had plowed this road in the week before race day and we thought that was stupid. By race day it was okay, though.

Hagerman Rd., nine years ago while I was training with Cody and Tater for the LT100 run. (Aug., 2004)

After making a left turn onto the rough Jeep road about a mile later, I climbed to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain non-stop with no issues.

One of the official race photographers from Zazoosh took this photo of me on that more narrow road:

I took a minor fall in one of the ditches before starting the descent on Powerline, but it wasn't a big deal. 

Jeep road up Sugarloaf Mtn. (7-26-07)

Descent on Powerline (official race photo)

I took the Powerline descent a little slower than on previous training rides. I probably rode this part of the course ten times in training the last two months.

Reaching the creek at the bottom . . .

(photo taken during one of Jim's training rides in July)

Half Moon Rd. before the turn to Pipeline AS; Mt. Elbert glows pink in early morning sun.  (7-11-13)

Dirt track before Pipeline AS  (official race photo)

I pushed hard through Fish Hatchery and on to Pipeline. Sue was there with drinks and food. 

I didn't expect Sue to be at any of the aid stations. She dreaded the crowds and hysteria at Twin Lakes where she volunteered a couple years ago. The Pipeline Aid Station was a little better organized, much less crowded, and it turned out to be a manageable experience for her.


Above and below:  crew members getting set up before the first riders come roaring through.  (8-10-13)


Here I come! I've done about 26 miles so far. (8-10-13)

The Forest Service had also plowed the Pipeline Road section of the road a couple of weeks before the race but it was fine by race day.

We hadn't talked much, but I was still close to Chris at this point. I really didn't talk to anyone on the course. That's one of the differences in cycling and running this race.

I made it down "Oh Shit Hill" without crashing and took the single track slowly.

Single track before Twin Lakes  (official race photo)

On to Twin Lakes Aid Station and the eventual climb to Columbine.

Crossing the dam at Twin Lakes during one of my training rides  (7-14-13)

Scene from Twin Lakes AS in 2011; it's the most crowded aid station during the race.

We don't have very many photos of the narrow Jeep track to Columbine. It's rougher and steeper than this  
picture illustrates. Sue took it in 2007 on our way up to volunteer at the aid station. There is a lot of  
2-way bike traffic on this "road" during the race since Columbine Mine is the turnaround point.

The Columbine climb was tough but I got to the top pretty much on schedule.

The official race photos all show me riding up, not walking. You can see my determination -- and riders going both up and down the mountain -- in this shot:

I said "Hi" and joked with the Aid Station captain at Columbine, grabbed something to drink, and left quickly.

I've worked this aid station many times. This time I was on the other side of the table. Weird!

Volunteers' view of riders coming down to Columbine Mine AS after their long uphill climb;
racers turn around here and have to ride back uphill before the long descent  (8-14-10)

I passed and said "Hi" to another friend still on her way up. It took me an unnecessarily long time to get to the bottom. I was really afraid of crashing on the way down and I lost a lot of time there.

I pulled into Twin Lakes Aid Station and ate a few watermelon chunks.

With several folks in my training group after a ride that ended at
the location of the Twin Lakes  AS (I'm on the far L).  (7-20-13)

A section of dirt road after Twin Lakes on the return  (7-14-13)

Back on the single track between Twin Lakes and Pipeline  (official race photo)

On to the Pipeline Aid Station . . . 

Continued on the next pagemy worst bike crash, an official finish, and post-race thoughts

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2013 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil