Winter_Park has a mountain bike series that is just a lot of fun. The competition is as good as anywhere and the courses are incredible. The series starts with a hill climb that climbs a little over 2000 feet in 5 miles. Got a good warm-up by climbing half the race course then taking some insanely fun single track back down. The first race of the season always has me nervous. How are my legs going to feel? Maybe I should have trained less during the week. Has all this running made me slow on the bike? Blah blah blah. Then the gun goes off. Five miles uphill as fast as we can go. At Winter Park they typically start the juniors with us old guys and the first few races of the year they go at a full sprint from the start. We catch every one of them within the first mile. This year was no different. There was a group of three of us that separated from the pack and we duked it out for the first couple of miles until Keith Sanders (former Masters National Champ) started to pull away. I tried to stay with him but he eventually opened a gap. I was able to open a gap with the third guy and was super motivated as I got into a rhythm. In my head I just kept chanting Go! Go! Go! I was able to keep Keith in sight for a while but could never quite close in. He slowly but surely increased his lead until I lost him. It looked like I was riding for second. When we crossed the line there were already two other guys in our race finished. Huh. Turns out they sprinted off the line with the juniors and I never noticed. So instead of second I was fourth. Ha! Great race though and a lot of fun. Sharon & I rode another 2 hours on some of the best single track in the world. Total climbing on the day - just under 5,000 ft. Very happy with the first race.
Today, Sunday, was my longest run so far this year. I felt great most of the time. 6 hrs 32 min of mountain running, just a little over 6,000 ft of climbing, not sure of the distance but I’m guessing around 35 miles. Started out by climbing Rampart Range Rd then dropped down into Williams Canyon. An absolutely beautiful morning. Climbed out of Williams Canyon and did a loop around Waldo Canyon. Dropped down to Hwy 24 then started the long steep climb up Long’s Ranch Road. I think I may of ran too much of the climb, cause Long’s Ranch destroyed me. It was a very tough decision once I hit Barr Trail to continue climbing to Barr Camp. I had one of those little discussions with myself about how the Leadville 100 will be much harder and if I quit here it will be easier to quite in the race blah blah blah. So I continued on to Barr Camp. It was slow going but I made it. After taking a short break at Barr Camp the run back down to Manitou Springs was easy and fun. I really like this stuff!