August 10, 2012

T-minus Twelve Hours to Leadville Trail 100

by Nick Frey

I have raced a bicycle of some kind for twelve consecutive seasons now.  That accounts for almost one half of my life.  I don’t get excited for most bike races.  There is a wild start, some attacks fly, some guys get a break rolling, things settle down, a long chase ensues, and then we see who’s wearing their big britches and who’s not.


Don’t get me wrong, I love bike racing–that’s why I’m still pinning numbers on after all these seasons!  The difference is this: it takes a lot more to get me excited.  There are only a handful of races that give me goosebumps, but the countdown is on now for one that does: the Leadville Trail 100.




Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have heard of this epic event.  Lance Armstrong made it famous just a few years ago, but the incredible battles that have been waged on the Columbine and Powerline climbs in years past are the stuff of legend.  It’s a grueling test of man and machine both, and the amount of thought and preparation that each athlete puts into this race is rivaled by few other events in the world.


Well, now I’m one of those athletes dreaming of success in the high mountains of Leadville, Colorado.  It’s been on my radar from the beginning of the season, but as the summer rolled on and I got tired of racing in circles on skinny tires, I got more and more excited to roll the knobbies over rugged mountain passes.


I’m now less than twelve hours from the start, 6:30AM right at Harrison and 4th street.  I’m racing for Herbalife, a company that has put their mark on the race just like Lifetime Fitness, and is one of the main reasons the race is known around the world.  The company has brilliantly used the race as a launching pad for its nutrition supplements that you can use at all times of the day, which is nice for a race like this–you need to go in with a full take of good fuel.


Herbalife’s team is a composite group of fast-guys, many of whom have done well at this race, but many of whom are fast roadies who are putting the watts down through different rubber.  I belong to the latter group, and I’m stoked to show what I have!


The Boo RS-M 29er, the same bike with the same gearing (single 32t up front, 11-36 in the back), trick push-button Di2 shifting, and carbon Lefty fork, is humming along like a top.  I just recently put on some Enve 29er XC tubeless rims with Maxxis Aspen 2.1 tires front and rear…they are insanely stiff and fast.  The bike is locked and loaded (pictures to follow with better internet!).


The legs, I hope, are ready to play as well.  My girlfriend Candy came out and cheered me on at the Bannock Criterium on Sunday last weekend, my first criterium since June first in Glencoe, IL.  I had both Boo teammates, Keith Harper and Ty Tuttle, racing as well as my Boo sales and service man Phil Sommers helping at the tent.  It was a great race, and I ended up rolling in the winning break and taking last in the break after flatting with two laps left and riding it in ahead of the field.  I have done a lot of training up in Breckenridge and Leadville on the course, as well as the infamous Silver Rush 50…so I’m ready and willing.


But, most importantly, I’m EXCITED.  Let the countdown begin.