|Enjoying the Race Across the Sky|
|1210's - The Leadville's|
|Monica (Momica) Morant of New Balance (center with the big smile) at Twin Lakes Crew Station|
|My Wife and Brother with a Cadre of "Freaks for Zeke" Surrounding|
|Jude and Frances with Mom|
Hobbling around on my sore legs the last two days, relaxing with my amazing daughters, logging ample pool time, I have had time to reflect, not only on my race, but on the race as a whole. Leadville, the town, was born as a Wild West mining settlement that quickly became a city of such significance that the famous writer Oscar Wilde made sure to visit there during his tour of American. It's freewheeling attitude during the "Silver Boom" days was such that Wilde was humored by a sign that hung in a local watering hole that read, "Please do not shoot the pianist. He's doing his best." The city's population topped out at a whopping 60,000 people in the 1880's. Leadville, the race, tries to capture some of this old west spirit. It allows pacers to "mule", it allows large numbers of runners and it requires nothing more than sense of adventure and can-do attitude to enter the race. The miners of old needed just a pick ax to begin their quest for fortune and the runners of today need only be 18 years old and to pass a medical check-in to commence their journey of 100 miles.
Leadville was a place where fortunes were gained and lost. Of course, this financial and cultural prosperity was short lived, leaving the high elevation city struggling to find a sustainable economic engine. At one point the city built a 54,000 square foot ice castle to attract visitors. Molybdenum mining was Leadville's next economic driver, but demand for steel waxed and waned and so did the mining jobs that the industry generated. Eventually molybdenum production fizzled to next to nothing in the early 1980's, once again leaving Leadville void of a major source of employment. During this period I can remember driving over Independence Pass and seeing a prominent mural that was supposed to read, "We heart Leadville", vandalized to say, "We heart Deadville."
It was in this economic climate that LT100 founder and 14 time finisher, Ken Chlober dreamed up the iconic race. Today the Leadville Race Series puts on seven events, and while those events are not big enough economic generators in themselves to sustain the city, they certainly "support the hosting community." So, as I sat in the pre-race meeting, listening to the charismatic Chlober give his annual pump-up speech, one that makes a weekend jogger believe he or she could finish a 100 mile run, following the comments of two young high schoolers who had received scholarships for college through money generated by the race, I naturally got very excited for the task that await the next day! In spite of the fact that this would be my fourth time attempting Leadville, I was as fired up as my first try, so much so that I woke twenty minutes prior to my two o'clock alarm, raring to go.
|Zach Woodward and I at Outward Bound Aid Station|
I had made the mistake of carrying only one water bottle over Hope Pass and it was a relatively hot day on the course. This led to some significant dehydration, to the tune of an eight pound weight drop at 50 miles. The race official, who was none other than Hardrock course record holder, Diana Finkel, told my pacer Jeremy Duncan to make sure I got some fluids in and we were off, chasing Sharman up Hope. I could still see him, as he was only five minutes ahead of me, at the top of Hope, but I knew his downhill prowess would increase that gap as we headed to Twin Lakes. He did just that, putting an incredible ten more minutes between us. Aish was having a low point at Twin Lakes and it looked possible for me to reel him in on the climb to the Colorado Trail.
|Fueling up at Twin Lakes|
|Shuffling into Pipeline|
|Approaching Outward Bound with Zach Woodward|
Photo Credits - All Photos by Jay Johnson