Getting ready for Leadville

Your faithful correspondent Hobbs, here.  I am in the final stages of preparing to obliterate myself at the Leadville 100, along with Scott and Karen from the shop.  Scott's wife Rachel is also here to provide critical support (like drying my tears when I freak out).

I arrived in Denver on Monday night, hoping that 5 days is going to be enough to acclimate to the extreme altitude.  Apart from being able to survive 9 hours (I hope) of hard riding, adjusting to altitude is a key element to doing well at Leadville.

I brought a pulse oximeter with me, a device that you put over your finger and it measures your blood oxygen levels.  At sea level, I am at 98%.  In Boulder (5200' or so), I was at 95%.  By the time I got up to our condo in Breckenridge, at 9600', I was down to 88%.  Slow down, egghead!  What does that mean?  It means huffing and puffing walking up the stairs.

5 days is not really enough to acclimate properly, but I am hoping that by Saturday morning I am up to 95% or so.  Not likely, according to people who know these things.  Apparently you need to be at altitude for 2 weeks to properly acclimate, and 5 days may be worse than just showing up the day before.  Oh, well...I did not have the luxury of a 2 week vacation.

Instead of driving an hour each way to sample parts of the Leadville course, we are just riding around Breck and trying to relax as much as possible (well, if working is relaxing).  On Tuesday we rode the Peaks Trail, which is a fun singletrack between Breckenridge and Frisco.  We rode a slow pace but it still felt hard.
Scott on the Peaks Trail
Breck ski resort in the background
Wednesday morning I went for a ride at 630am to see what it will be like at our start time on Saturday.  I am glad that I did.  After 10 minutes, I turned around and went back to the condo to change into warmer clothing.  It was 37º.  I rode the Barney Ford and Moonstone trails up (and up) to the Sallie Barber mine.
Sallie Barber Mine

On Saturday I will be looking to mine a little silver and gold for myself.
Leadville 100: Under 9 hours belt buckle
The Prize--the sub 9 hour belt buckle.

This afternoon Scott, Rachel and I basically did the same course as I did this morning, which was fine as it has some fun singletrack.  Leadville is almost all smooth fire road, but that does not mean we should not have some fun this week.  Here is some video....


Rachel looked pretty happy at 10,000 feet....

But by the time we hit the top, not being able to breathe was starting to wear on her...

After the ride we had some awesome sandwiches at Amazing Grace on French St before relaxing in front of the laptops for the rest of the day (with a break for hot tub and beer).

We will be writing more as we have time.  For the equipment geeks out there, I will go over my equipment (hardware and software), as will Scott (who is riding a great Leadville setup).

Here are the Strava files for the rides......

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