Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lance @ Leadville vs. Brent @ E-Town.

Cyclist Lance Armstrong visiting the NIH (Nati...Image via Wikipedia
By: Brent

There is a movie out called "Race Across the Sky" that tells the story of the 2009 Leadville 100. A very exciting story about the 15th running of the 100 mile mountain bike race from Leadville, Colorado, up a total elevation change of 14,000 feet and back to Leadville. The movie is outstanding even in its "low budgetness". Some very big names in the biking community appear, including doper Floyd Landis, accused doper Lance Armstrong, 6 time winner Dave Wiens and others that have proven themselves in the sport of Cycling.

*Spoiler Alert*

Lance is a winner. This is something that I just can't deny, but as I am watching this movie for the first time, with 7 miles to go and the movie still giving you that feeling that he has people hot on his trail something happens. Lance gets a flat rear tire! 7 miles out. No mechanics. No support. LA dismounts and starts to inspect the tire. He decides that rather and waste the time to fix it, he will just ride to the finish on a flat. For 7 MILES! Lance goes on to win by a landslide, but it only adds to the excitement and you walk away from the movie in amazement.

After watching this (a handful of times) Jeff and I adopted the phrase "WWLD". What Would Lance Do. Did we have a reason? No. It was just so impressive, it made sense. Whatever it takes. WIN. Maybe not the race, but a P.R. or a finish, or be the first place winner to the fire hydrant and be the only competitor. Who cares. Get the job done.

FAST FORWARD to Monday. I arrive into work to have the feelings of stress magnified over and over again. My family is dealing with 2 people fighting cancer, one so fatally serious we are feeling blessed for the days we have left with him, then add a broken hip in an 89 year old Nana, and on the lighter side, my computer hard drive dies. It just added that much more stress. So this week is "Ride Your Bike to Work" week. I needed the break. At lunch I grabbed the normal PB&J and headed out to the garage. I grabbed a G2 (Orange), one water bottle, one Clif bar (Crunchy Peanut Butter) and swapped out my shirt for something sweat wicking. Out in the garage I topped off the tires with as much air as I could get into them. It was a third voyage out on new street tires on my beloved mountain bike. I headed out ready to let out some steam.

The ride from home to work is a 8 mile ride on back country roads with a 2.5 mile stretch on a wide shouldered State Road right in the middle of them. As I hit the 5 mile mark and was turning on to the next county road the front end slid a bit and my first thought was "Man, these new tires are like slicks!" but as I ventured forth I could tell bad things were happening. I was deflated. Literally. The front tube had given out with 3 miles to go and I already knew the greeting I would be getting from a certain boss of mine if I was even remotely late. I never stopped pedaling, but there was that "Lance moment", one in which you have a coupel of thoughts run through your mind...

1) This is going to be an awesome story.


3) Wait til Jeff hears this!

4) My boss is going to yell at me.

5) When my wife notices "WWLD", she will know I am a geek.

It was my Leadville moment. It was almost exciting to think that now, without choice, I too could ride a flat tire. WHY IS THAT AWESOME!?! you ask. I have no idea, but let me tell you, it was. I instantly thought how this could be tricky as the resistance was obviously a lot more and the solid high noon sun was beating on me the thought of ditching the bike and walking leisurely was a solid option. I pedaled on and hatched a plan. I would ride the next 2 miles up to a house I knew I could safely rest the bike and helmet and with a mile left, I could run out the rest running down a grass runway. Without any flaws, that was just what I did. Just like Lance would.

It cleansed me that day more than I think anything could have. In the moment I never got pissed and gave up, but I almost welcomed it and enjoyed it. After picking up my bike after work, I noticed that BOTH tires had gone flat, not just the front. Now I was twice as impressive.

And yes, I was greeted by my boss the way I had expected.

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