This race was an awesome race to end the season. The race was held in Crested Butte, and was the last race in 2012 for a series of Leadville 100 qualifier races. It was beautiful in Crested Butte because all of the aspen leaves were turning colors. The aspen trees weren’t the only shade of yellow to be seen in the race though. Not long before the race, everyone learned that Lance Armstrong was going to be racing as well. Sure enough, at the beginning of the race during the neutral roll out, I looked over and there he was. It was incredible to see such an iconic cyclist right there in the same race as I. Lance wasn’t the only celebrity I saw, however. The day before the race, after picking up my race packet in the Crested Butte Resort hotel, I walked outside and Dave Wiens was standing right there. He could tell I was staring at him in bewilderment and asked my name while shaking my hand. He was a genuinely nice guy. Anyway, back to the racing action. The race was two laps, with a big climb at the beginning of each. After the neutral rollout, I hung with the lead peloton for a while until everyone slowly split apart. Most of the race was dirt road, and I had no intentions to try to podium, so the first lap I rode at my own pace while taking in the gorgeous views. The second lap I found myself picking up the pace quite a bit up the big climb. I caught up to a young lady who was the leader in the women’s category. She was happy to have found a partner in me to join in the painful climb to the top. After conversing for a minute, I found out she was Amy Beisel, the sister of pro-endurance racer Kalan Beisel, and this was her first endurance mountain bike race. It appears as though endurance runs in the family. I had to push really hard to help pull her up the mountain, and eventually she pulled away near the top. She ended up getting first place, which was her first for the year after racing XC all year. The poor girl was crying when she crossed the finish line because she was so happy. After she pulled away, I rode alone for quite a while until the last part of the race. A racer passed me on a downhill pavement section, and then I passed him on a short pavement climb before the last part of the race which was single track on Crested Butte Mountain Resort. I went deep into my cave of pain to stay ahead on the single track climb before a long descent to the finish line. He stayed on my tail the whole time, but I had enough left in me to sprint to the finish. Remember how I mentioned earlier that this race was a Leadville 100 qualifier race? Based on the age class size, they allot so many entries to each class. My age group was given 10 spaces, so the top 20 would be given entries, but if anyone declined, the entry would get rolled down to the next person in the rankings. Come to find out, the guy behind was in my age group… and I got tenth place! Talk about a close one! Luckily enough, 1 of the top 10 finishers did decline, so he got his entry too.
One more thing before I end this post. During the first lap in a downhill single track section I hit a stomp with my pedal which caused me to come off the bike in front of the saddle, and somehow the bike jolted forward right into a very uncomfortable to spot. I spent a good ten minutes crying out in agony after that one. Remind me not to go to prison ever.
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