Leadville Reality Check

It was the only way to hide the absence of a bulge...

Pardon the vulgarity, but this moment was captured after a 10 mile ride ( from 11,000 feet elevation to over 14,000 ft), up Leadville’s famously painful Columbine climb. Normally us Virtus boys try to keep things as PG as possible, but given the nature of the achievement….I just couldn’t help myself.

I’d like for this photo to serve two purposes. Most importantly, I want this image to inspire all of you who seek to accomplish things greater than yourselves. “Toeing the line” is the greatest hurdle we must overcome to discover ourselves. It is a scary thing entering into an event knowing full well you will likely fail. I’m sure it varies from person to person, but i think that the last few minutes before a race begins are the worst. I hate standing there looking at the other 40+ racers who are all more fit, better prepared and ready to kick my ass.

The scenery is ridiculous out here

In less than a week I’ll be “racing” in the Leadville 100. Over the last few days I’ve pre-ridden most of the course, and there is no question my attempt here will be an epic FAIL. That truth was made clear to me on day 1 when we climbed St. Kieven, Sugar Loaf and powerline. Day 2 at Columbine was the icing on the cake, and today’s ride was a cherry on top. As raceday draws near, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of doom at the failure that lies before me. I simply am not capable of completing this course in 12 hours. In all honesty, I may not be able to finish it in 24 hours.

There is always one truth arising from any form of athletic activity. On raceday,  posers will be revealed and true athletes will rise to the top. All those present will either witness your success, failure, weakness or inequality.

Think about this, though: The only people who see your “failure”, “weakness”, and “inequality” are the ones on the sidelines who didn’t even enter the damn race. So why would you care what they think anyway?

Think about this for a moment: Did you hear that Jim Davis  recently wore a cheerleader uniform during a dirt-crit mountain bike race? I bet you did. 

Next question… How did Jim finish?

Answer…Who gives a shit?

The man shows up in full costume, races like a madman, and then drinks beer and cheers for his friends/team-mates. People will talk about that day for years. Answer this: Would you rather have Jim on your team or some elitist d-bag who won’t eat bacon?? Personally, I’ll take J.D. all day long.

Today we climbed Columbine. It wasn’t easy, and at times I thought  the pain would never stop . In the end, the view was worth the pain.When we stood at the top I noticed one very important thing: There’s another mountain right over there and it looks taller than this one… Hmm…maybe Miley Cyrus isn’t so full of shit after all.

I’ll race Leadville and it will surely break me…that’s just reality. But I will not break easily, I’ve tasted failure before and I welcome the knowledge it brings. Without failure I’d never know my boundaries, and without that knowledge I’d  never be able to stand on top of a mountain with my jimmy in one hand and a middle finger in the air telling failure and doubt to fuck off.

Top of Columbine---colder than my ex-wife's panties

About Bob Jenkins

Crusher of beers.

Posted on August 12, 2010, in Training, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. You all are way too funny ! ! ! ! But looks like you are having way toooooo good of a time ! ! ! ! Just wondering – – – Are you guys gonna be able to come back here to do that work thing ! ? ! NOT ! ! ! ! ! OH BTW — RJ the 3rd — Are gonna be able to race? Or are you one of THOSE people who tend to not carry an ID ? LOL-ing

  2. Bob, I cant be the only person that believes you can do this. I guess we all risk failure when we put on our helmets and cross the start line. However, I would always risk failure than stand on the sidelines and watch. I will be thinking of you on Sat., as I attempt to complete my 2nd 12 hr bike race. ” He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” Muhammad Ali

  3. Hey, Bob! Thanks for posting before the race. I’ve been thinking about you and The Leadville 100…guess that makes me a true Virtusite. The longer the race the earlier your pre-race jitters start??? That is why I will forgive you for thinking that any of us sideliners might see any sort of “failure, weakness or inequality” in your performance on this race, belt buckle or not. My goodness, Man! You have entered THE ultra event of mountain biking! Shoot, you are there and Lance Armstrong isn’t! Nothing but respect and admiration from the virtual sidelines for someone who is going from the Ozark Mountains to race in the Rockies! You are actually going to do what MOST of the world can not even fathom. I don’t know whether you can hit the cut-off…and frankly…you don’t either…enough of this talk of failing before the gun sends you off. You came to Race Across the Sky and that is what you are going to do!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it! Susy

  4. Thanks for the support, guys. I actually “met” a couple of pro cyclists yesterday. I saw Tinker Juarez climbing/descending Columbine and I actually spoke with Rebecca Rush. Classy chick, I didn’t even know she was famous til later in the day.

    I got rid of all my anxiety last night. Normally I don’t get stressed, but after reviewing the 8.5mph pace I have to hold to hit the cutoffs I got pretty stressed out. Getting pulled a the first CP would likely be humiliating.

    When raceday comes I’ll have my shit together. Let’s hope I have an epic story to tell.

  5. Bob, you have a way with words, man. Thanks for the update.

    With the 36 hour Berryman Adventure Race coming up, I have many of the same feelings:

    “‘Toeing the line’ is the greatest hurdle we must overcome to discover ourselves. It is a scary thing entering into an event knowing full well you will likely fail.”

    That pretty much sums up how I feel about Berryman this year. I probably have no right doing that race, but I KNOW I can finish the 12 hour race. The 36 hour race?… I have no idea. But I’ll find out.

    No matter what happens on race day for you, know that we’re rooting for you and supporting you (because I am nothing if not an athletic supporter). And know that we’re proud of you. As LT100 race director Ken Chlouber says, “You’re better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!” And that’s why we do all of this, right? To find out what we’re truly made of.

    Lastly, HAVE FUN!!! Enjoy every minute of it – even when you feel like your lungs are going to spew out of your mouth – Live it up!

  6. “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have never tasted victory or defeat.” ~Theadore Roosevelt

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