AS INEOS PROCEEDED TO TURN THE BEST TOUR DE FRANCE IN YEARS FROM THRILLING TO BORING, I realized how happy I am to be racing Leadville on my own terms. There's no GC to protect and no concern about how I place amongst my peers.
Unlike Bernal, I won't be playing it safe at the finish.
The only safe playing I'll be doing is making sure there is absolutely nothing left at the end.
Unlike the runners up, I won't be trying to hold on to my standing.
The only standing I'll be holding onto is my own time splits.
No race radio in my ear giving me updates.
My race radio will be SurferGirl swapping out my bottles.
No team car to bail me out of a mechanical mishap.
My old, weak hands will have to bail me out if needed.
No teammates to protect me from the wind.
Just sprinting to the riders ahead, surfing one group to the next.
After reviewing all the time splits for my age group for the last few years, I realized my buddy Jeff's time from 6 years ago was almost exactly what I was shooting for. That was Jeff's 10th and fastest year.
On my top tube will be Jeff's time and my goal splits. I think I'll go out a little slower than him, and I hope I can come back a little faster. And it's just a hope.
My mission is to beat my PR set 19 years ago - 8 hours and 20 minutes. The other 4 attempts are between 8:32 and 8:36 - which is weird when you consider the weather is never the same, I've flatted, I've jammed my chain, etc.
On the surface it seems completely unreasonable given the time span and the unpredictable nature of racing on a given day, but... I'm the lightest I've ever been for the event. My bike is top notch. My training best ever. And, the course is constantly getting faster. Plus, Jeff and I are pretty even most of the time.
Whatever happens, it won't be boring.
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