Standing in front of the Leadville Courthouse at 5:54pm on August 15th, it occurred to me that for the first time in a long while, I had nothing to do. I did need a shower pretty badly, but besides that, my schedule was completely empty. Wow, what a strange feeling…
I started preparing for Leadville as I filled out my application back in January. After finally receiving my “Yippee!” card, I dedicated everything to the race. I hired a coach, religiously executed a training plan and devoted every training experience to optimize my performance in August. Everything I did was about Leadville. Everything.
Fun rides like the Triple Bypass became fitness and nutrition tests – ways for me to test how I would react to altitude. A week’s vacation in July became my High Altitude Training Camp. I routinely bailed on rides with friends, giving the excuse, “Sorry, my training plan says I need to…”
But all that came to an end as I rolled down the red carpet and across that glorious finish line in Leadville.
So… What’s next?
I think some people (maybe myself include) expected me to quit cycling after Leadville… Oh, I thought about it, sure. You spend 6 days a week on a bike for 7 or 8 months and see where you end up mentally. But deep down I know I’m not done with it yet. Rolling down that red carpet felt so good. Punching the air as I crossed the line was a declaration! It was just the beginning, really.
If I’m to figure out where I’m headed next, I needed to first decide where I’m at already. I’ve done quite a bit of introspection since the race and here’s what I know so far – The reason I raced Leadville was to learn something about myself, to see if I had what it takes to do something that hard. I think cycling still has a lot of challenges left for me and I guess I’ll keep pedaling till I’m done learning.
Whatever it is, it’ll find me – not the other way around. It always happens that way with me.