With only a week to recover from the Crusher in the Tusher, we ventured to Lake Tahoe to complete a 100 KM MTB race. We registered for this months ago hoping to qualify for Leadville. I got invited as part of an executive team, but Melissa still wanted to get in so we could ride Leadville together.


First, the course: it was a lot more technical than we anticipated. That, plus the heat and long stretches of single track, made for a long day in the saddle. We started at 7:00 am at the Northstar Resort. The start and finish venues were superb. Right from the start, the course pitches sharply and ascends from ~6,300 to 7,100 on a fire road. Once you reach the summit, there’s a technical descent, mostly on single track. This course is defined by undulating climbs and technical descents. The trail was incredibly dusty, making it hard to see and breath. That said, it’s beautiful.

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The heat really got intense during the second loop and that zapped our energy. Thank goodness one of the aid stations had fresh ice water and I sprayed my head and body down for relief. I found some more energy and finished pretty strong during the last 5 miles. My finish time was 6:43.

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Melissa’s ride can be memorialized by her improved technical and descending skills. This course has a little bit of everything and she did a great job managing the course intensity. She crossed the line in 7:23.

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See that gold coin? That’s the ticket to Melissa riding Leadville

After we grabbed some food and washed our dirt-crusted faces, we relaxed at the finish area hoping to win the lottery for an entry to Leadville.  Midway through the lottery, Melissa won one of ~35 slots to Leadville! I’m pumped that she will join me for our maiden Race Across the Sky.

After taking a much needed shower, we headed down to Tahoe to enjoy some good food and walk by the lake. It was a great day together making forever memories.

Brass Tacks:



Lessons Learned:

  • The Specialized Vitpak was awesome. Located where the stem and cross meet, this easy-access pack was almost perfect for electrolyte tabs and quick access to gels.
  • It’s debatable, but this course is probably best ridden on a full-suspension. Some of the technical descents were hard to manage on my hardtail.
  • Pacing, pacing, pacing! I came out a little too strong because I was worried about missing the cutoff time. I made it with plenty of time to spare, but paid the price on the second loop.
  • I need to develop splits for every course and tape them to my bike.