Yesterday things began to feel real. We checked in and got our numbers when the table opened at 9:30. Dave is number 51 and was put in the front gold corral. Since we are riding for Challenged Athletes Foundation I got number 1192 and the second to last corral behind over 1,000 other racers. I went in to panic mode. I’ve heard horror stories of crashes, pileups, and massive lost time due to the congestion at the start. I’d heard that if you have a USAC XC pro license you can move up to a better starting position. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask so I approached Abby and just mentioned the scenario. “Oh, you you’re a pro! You’re in the gold corral, here’s a sticker.” Wow, that was easy. She slapped a gold sticker on my number plate and with that shaved about 45 minutes off my race time. What a nice and cheerful individual. Huge thanks. In the afternoon we took a ride to explore a little of the course and descended Power Line, which is basically a rock and rutted fire road. It has some technical challenges but after the Seven Oaks descent at Big Bear everything seems easy.
This morning we woke up on the early side and hit the high school gym after breakfast to get our t-shirt and catch the pre-race riders meeting. The mayor spoke, the sherif spoke, and basically the whole theme revolved around how great the race is for the community. It’s cool to see so many riders out here supporting the town of Leadville and they seem genuinely happy to have us here. After the meeting we attended the CAF lunch, after all we wouldn’t be here without them. It’s an amazing cause and they played a short video and it was hard not to get emotional just watching how these athletes have overcome some huge physical disadvantages. Dave was a hit and everyone wanted a picture with him.
We just finished packing our feed bags for tomorrow. Mike will be handing them out at miles 40 and 60. Ben Bostrom had some scheme to ride with one bottle and a bunch of hand offs but I’m a little nervous about running out of water. I’d rather carry the weight. Well, the nerves are beginning to set in now. Off to bed early tonight!