After Silver Rush 50 on July 15, I drove all the way back to Park City as I was excited to get home and see Emily after 21 days. It was a busy 11 days at home spending time with Emily, getting caught up with things around the house, seeing friends, recovering, training, unpacking, cleaning and repairing gear, re-packing, and having family in town. I left for Leadville again on July 27 with the goal of riding most of the LT100 Bike course over the first weekend.
Instead of camping, I found a large RV (it has 5 beds) to rent for the 3 weeks. With the afternoon thunderstorms this would be better for my training and recovery and it is also large enough for Emily and my parents when they are here for the bike, for Emily, Emily Sullivan, and Brent when they are here for the run, and for some other friends who have talked about coming through town.
Kitchen/dining/living area of the RV. The photo is taken from the bedroom/bathroom and there are 2 full size beds behind the closed door.
I have not been pushing my training too hard since the Silver Rush 50 as I feel as though I have been balancing a fine line between recovering and needing to continue to train. Due to this, I wanted to get out on the LT100 Bike course, but make sure that I didn’t over-do it. In the first 2 days back I rode 70 miles of the course and all but 1,500’ of the climbing. I had a great ride from the starting line to Fish Hatchery and back on my first day. This got me on 4 of the 5 big climbs of the course (St. Kevins, Sugarloaf Pass, Powerline, and St. Kevins). The next day I rode miles 40-60 which took me up and down Columbine Mine (the longest climb of the race at ~7 miles and 3,500’). Both of these were great rides and I averaged a much faster pace than I thought I would be able to. Seeing the course and having a good pace definitely helped me build mental confidence for the race. I have since climbed St. Kevins, Sugarloar, and Powerline an additional time to get just a little bit more comfortable with the climbs. My running has definitely taken a back seat the last 2 weeks with only 3 runs. Mentally, that has been challenging since I am placing the most weight on the LT100 run, but I know that I am in running shape and this is the best thing to do. As I have mentioned in previous posts, balancing the running and biking training has been one of the biggest challenges of preparing for Leadman. I definitely could not have been as prepared as I am without the help of friend and coach Matt Hart.
Chad at Columbine Mine – mile 50 of the LT100 Bike
Every year the first week of August marks Boom Days in Leadville. Boom days celebrates Leadville’s mining history and includes things like a parade, numerous mining events, and a 21 mile burro race (running 21 miles with a burro packing 37 lbs of gear). I was excited to be able to be in town during Boom Days and watch some of the festivities. The festivities started on Friday night with some motorcycle competitions (not sure how this relates to the mining heritage, but they were entertaining). Saturday had the parade and numerous mining competitions (single jack leg drilling, spike driving, hand-mucking, singles hand steeling, and more).
Leadville Trail 100 Parade in the Boom Days Parade
I have never had a chance to check out Park City’s mining competitions, so this was a great opportunity.
Spike Driving: see who can drive a spike the farthest into a rock in 5 minutes – quick video
One of the things I most wanted to see was the burro race. After having heard of these races for many years and having tried to deal with a burro in Ladakh when we were helping harvest, I couldn’t imaging getting a burro to go 21 miles. The burros were as stubborn as you would expect, and it was a lot of fun to watch both the start and some of the finishers.
Start of the Burro Race
On the Saturday of Boom Days, Matt came out to get some acclimatization and for some scouting of the peaks for his and Jared Cambell’s attempt of Nolan’s 14. It has been great having company out here even though I am bummed I cannot join him on his daily runs.
The days are counting, each day more and more racers are showing up in Leadville and by Friday the town will be hopping. It is exciting, but I also find myself hiding away in the RV resting and focusing. The next 12 days will likely be some of the most physically and mentally challenging days I have ever had as I prepare for each race, race, and recover only to do this 3 times in 8 days. Excitement and nervous anticipation are the words the currently best describe my feelings.