Training update

It’s been awhile since I’ve blogged, so I figured now was the time for a few updates on how my cycling is progressing….

To all that haven’t heard, I got my ticket into the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race on Feb. 15th, this is a lottery drawn event, I had no expectations of getting in, but now it’s getting serious 🙂 The race is August 10th, 2013.

For those that don’t know, the Leadville Trail 100 race starts in Leadville, CO, which sits nicely at 10,152′ above sea level, the race climbs to a maximum of 12,424′. 100 miles on a mountain bike, at high altitude, should definitely make for the hardest day on a bike that I’ve ever seen. This will be a difficult day, fortunately I have plenty of time to train this year, and tons of motivation. My goal is to finish the race in the 9-10 hour range.

My training this Spring has consisted of mainly road bike riding, but still riding my mountain bike as often as possible on singletrack to keep building my handling skills…road riding consisted of tons of base mile riding in Texas, Florida & the Carolina’s. I’ve been able to race a few times, a criterium in St. Louis, two criteriums in Indy and a road race in Pennsylvania. I’m following TrainingPeaks using the Virtual Coach feature, planning to peak my fitness for Leadville. Training weeks are starting to get longer as I’m now in the “building” phases, my body seems to be handling the increased training load pretty well, recovery is happening pretty quickly thanks to a good diet and plenty of rest.

I’m sure it shocked several folks when hearing that I’m attempting Leadville since I’ve been a road racer for several seasons, never racing MTB at all, just MTB riding for the fun of it in the Fall. Last Fall was my 1st MTB race ever, thanks to Joesph Kruger for encouraging me to join him for the Lock 4 Six Hour Challenge as a two-man team, that was a great learning event, and a real eye opener!

Preparation for Leadville will include riding long distance, big days on both road & mountain bike, and training at altitude (7,000’+) as much as possible. I’ll still be doing intervals and shorter days to help handle short, punchy climbs and surges by groups I made be riding in. Holly and I plan to be in Colorado for a month before the Leadville race, and we have a cabin rented in Twin Lakes, CO (30 min. from Leadville) the entire week leading up to the Leadville race; staying at altitude for a month should help with adjusting to the high altitude for the race.

To further prepare, I’m also going to try to race as many XC endurance races as possible this Summer so I get use to the race feel and my body can experience the pains of riding a mountain bike for long distance, previously my longest day on a mountain bike, on singletrack, was around 42 miles…not at a race pace! So, I have a lot to prepare for, if want to finish Leadville in a respectable time.

Holly and I are currently in Asheville, NC, this past weekend I tried my first, solo, long distance mountain bike race, the Rivers Edge Mountain Bike Marathon. The race was advertised as 50 miles, but was actually 55 miles (5 laps of an 11 mile course). The race was held in the Uwharrie National Forest, a little east of Charlotte, NC. This would be my first time to ever ride 50 miles of singletrack in one day, and my second MTB race ever…but I needed the experience for Leadville, and it would be a good fitness check for me to see how I’m progressing. I didn’t peak for this race or do anything special, I was still in the middle of training, I just added this race onto the end of the week…earlier in the week (Thursday & Friday) I did two 100+ mile road rides along the Blue Ridge Parkway, both days had over 10,000′ of climbing, I took Saturday off to recover, then raced on Sunday…..ending the week with just over 24 hours of training.

Mt. Mitchell
Atop Mt. Mitchell, NC – highest point east of the Mississippi River

The race went really well for me, I paced myself well enough to have plenty in the tank to really mash the pedals with everything I had left on the final lap, I ended up winning the Men’s Novice category with a time of 5 hrs 9 min. The course was pretty awesome, 90% of it was singletrack with a few fire road sections. The course had a couple of serious climbs, several teeth-jarring descents, off-camber slick-rock sections, three creek crossings, roots and plenty of rock. To my surprise, there was over 6,300′ of climbing in the 55 mile race, check out my data here –

There was a 70% chance of rain during the race, we really lucked out, it sprinkled off and on most of the race….then, seriously about 5 min after I crossed the finish line, it started pouring…good timing for me!

Podium shot for the Men’s Novice Category

The MTB I’m racing on this year is a hardtail 2013 Specialized Stumpjumper Marathon Carbon 29er, this bike is amazing and very comfortable for the long distance events, I’ve changed to Maxxis Ikon tires and converted the wheels to tubeless using Stan’s No Tubes sealant and valve stems.

Next up for my training is a team camp in Chattanooga, TN for four days, then Holly and I will head west for a month, I’m registered for the Barn Burner 104 in Flagstaff, AZ on June 1, 2013, this will be my 1st 100+ mile MTB ride, and it’s at 7,000′ above sea level, so it will be a big learning experience.

I guess that’s it for now, sorry for the long gap in blogging, I’ll try to post more updates as the season progresses.

– E

End of race
After the finish

2 Responses to “Training update”
  1. SegTrain says:

    Love it!

  2. Ryan Parke says:

    I miss Leadville, good luck man.

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