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......

Going to the Prom

This Saturday is the Leadville 100, ranked by many elite riders as their hardest day on a bike (ask Levi).

Getting ready for Leadville is a lot like going to the Prom… again. 

How do you like my tux? 

How do you like my tux?

It’s not too long ago that many of us agonized or perhaps celebrated the coming of our Senior Prom night.  Back in the day, the Senior Prom was a big deal, whether you were totally excited about it or not. Do you remember all the things you needed to do to get ready; all the time you spent talking with your friends about what to wear, who you were going with and what car  or mode of transportation you were going to take; and, most importantly,  all the time thinking about how the night would end… clearly the most important?  

While riding around some fun single-track here in Breckenridge this week, preparing for what might be the hardest single-day’s effort on a bike, we  realized that preparing for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race is a lot like preparing for the Senior Prom.

While agonizing over what to bring to Leadville, we realized that preparing for a one day race has never been so difficult.  Sound familiar?  What to wear, what not to wear?  What will happen, what won’t the night (day) of the big event?  Even if your gear selection only makes a one percent difference in your performance over the entire day, that’s over 5 minutes of time on the course. Is that the difference between the small buckle or the Gold & Silver bucket, the coveted sub 9-hour prize we are here to achieve.   


Will what you wear (or how you look) help you when you need it most, ie. the moment.  Having a great rental tux the night of the prom did not ensure me a fruitful outcome. Or did it?

So, one may say, why sweat the small stuff?  It’s not about the tuxedo or the dress, but rather how one gets to the prom that will make all the difference. Or does it?  I rolled up in Chevy Nova, after having crashed my sister’s VW the morning of the prom.  Did picking up my date in a Chevy change the course of the evening? Let’s just say I didn’t get the big buckle.

In the subsequent posts, CH and I will cover some of the more important details in length: the bikes we chose, the socks we will wear, the tires we love, so on and so forth. Pictures and video will follow too. Stay tuned.

Marin Century and Metric

First and foremost, we want to thank all of you who came out this morning to join in such a great event. The Studio Velo community was out in full force with well over 20 red, black and white clad cyclists joining together to share some pedaling through Marin.

Enjoy the photos & our video below:


If there's one thing we know, it's how to fuel.  Ritchie was up bright and early to have his famous croissants and perfectly brewed coffee ready and raring to go!  Thank you! Some of us were out for the full 100 miles, others knocked out the 100k.  Regardless of the route, the morning was filled with great riding, even better company, and some fantastic aid stations!  We are already looking forward to next year!