Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Leadville Advice/Crew & Pacers

"Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive..."
Hope Pass, 1997 Leadville 100.

At 12,000', Hope Pass gets all the love. However... Hagerman Pass [approximately 15/80 miles in the course] is the hidden beast in the LT100. Only 500' lower than Hope,  disguised by a pole-line utility road so it doesn't say "big-assed mountain" quite so loudly.

Brandon Sybrowsky paced me from WInfield to Fish—he at a low idle to my determined shuffling. Along the way we had some hilarious discussions on poisonous mushrooms, Mormonism, Copper Canyon in Chihuahua, and  paleoarcheology. For starters.

Around midnight, Bruce Hoff and I had come back over the top of Hagerman  on the inbound leg, when Tom Sobal, Leadville Mountain Man, camping out with his kids, dryly observed "you don't have any time to waste, you're on the buckle bubble".

He was right. I crossed the finish with 40min to spare, to get "La Plata Grande". Damn buckle's so big, I served a turkey on it at Thanksgiving. You'd have to finish the Vermont 100 ten times to get buttons and cufflinks to go with it.

Watch the irreverent Animated LT100 mini-movie here.

Now the Advice part of the show
With a first-time crew, a lot is going to happen, and if they aren't sport-acclimated they might freak. Something about barfing runners, hypothermic if raining and just tuckered-out cranky assholes will throwthem for a loop. Homer's Odyssey provides some examples: ie advise them to stop their ears with wax to avoid the Siren song of pain and DNF.

To maximize the chances of success:

  1.  Be REAL NICE to them. They have given up plenty to be there. Buy them whatever they want. Just hand them your wallet.
  2. have all your gear readily accesible in the car and PORTABLE.
  3. drive the course with them, and show them reasonable places to park. In the first half of the race, parking will be a clusterfuck. As the field spreads out, things will lighten up. But by then everyone is brain-dead.
  4. Have a plan worked out IN ADVANCE. Work it out based on training runs that are longer than 25mi, and preferably back-to-back. Brief the crew the day before the race.
  5. Avoid the pre-race dinner madness. Have it all done by 330-4pm.

Extra text notes as follows:

Pacers & Crew are strongly advised to sleep whenever possible, eat well and take care of business. FILL THE GAS TANK[S] OF ALL APPLICABLE VEHICLES. Watch for tickets on the Winfield Road. I leave this to yr judgement.

Anything can & will change. And thanks to everybody again for helping me
make this possible.

CREWING: by Aid-Station

1] MAY QUEEN
Avoid Tabor Boat Ramp. At May Queen, they will be parking somewhere within
a mile of the meeting place. The road in from Leadville does a hook down into May Queen. It will be blocked off on the outbound leg. You will be met where the Colorado Trail meets up with the road. This is when you drop flashlights etc, take on/discard rain gear as necessary. Unless its pouring like hell at the start, I'd avoid tights. All this depends on your personal
prefs and body-temps.

2] FISH HATCHERY
The course runs off the road and does a U-loop thru the fish hatchery. Yr
crew will find parking somewhere in the loop.

3] TREELINE: park where possible.

4] TWIN LAKES
Crew parks across the street, unless the Divine Madness Dipshitz haven't taken over the parking lot. The A/S is in the aluminum pole bldg Vol FD. When it rains its panic because all the CO Yuppies are huddled not wanting to get wet. Its 'fuck the runners, here's my baby carriage'. No joke, that's what happened in '95.

5] WINFIELD
Goatfuck galore. Have yr crew meet you at the foot of the CO Trail where it drops off Hope.

6] PACERS
  1. Find one who has shitloads more experience than you.
  2. Find one you like, AND respect. This will make their suggestions/threats more palatable.
  3. Find one who's been out on the course before.
  4. They'd better have their act together: flashlites, nutrition, gear, etc.
  5. Experience, Experience, Experience.
An experienced pacer:
  • won't be all over you like a toy poodle, asking you "Howya feelin'?" because they know you are most likely dead meat on a stick.
  • will be able to listen to you and yr guts and tell that you are dehydrated, and do something about it and not get panicked.
  • can provide hours of really inspirational jive or XXX party jokes, depending on your preferences. I learned lots of things from Brandon Sybrowsky regarding edible and poisonous mushrooms, canyon travelling in Northern Mexico, and the non-availability of liver transplants in mushroom overdoses.
  • can look at your vomit and assure you its OK if you are clear, and tell you to sip instead of gulp.
  • will tell you when your quads lock up at 85 miles that its fairly natural, and that ibuprofen isn't going to make a dime's worth of difference, and they'll go numb anyhow, so may as well pick it up and keep moving.
  • will dispense hi-quality No-Doz instead of lo-grade generics. Micro sleep episodes are not unknown.
I find it better to have two if you get really lucky. If you can only cajole/con/shanghai one, then save him/her for the anchor leg.

In the event that you can't locate an experienced pacer, and you get a novice: Be Nice.

It's only a race, or a run, not some baroque test of self-worth. Either way, nobody likes to be the object of a tirade or scream-fest on the shores of Turquoise Lake at 3AM. You are the CO of Team You. Make every effort to prepare for their experience, because by yr participation, You Are In Charge.

The unforseen will happen. If for some reason you DNF, then explain to yr pacer that they are free to do what they like; they can pace a stranger, hang out, or pack it in like you. This is a contingency you may not want to exercise, but be aware of it.

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