My wife gave me free day to go do an epic ride with some friends. So we decided to ride up the backside of Mt. Lemmon. We started in Tucson at Ina/Oracle and biked on the road for 30 miles until we hit the dirt from there we rode some very scenic rollers until we started the real climb. I have not been on the bike recently and I just happened to be riding with Rene Ortega and Daryll McKenzie who just happen to be former State MBAA Champs for expert and pro category for mountain biking in Arizona. Both guys just happen to be in amazing shape right now so it was a struggle to stay with them and they had to wait for me often. Today was a beautiful day and we rode with the wind at our backs for almost all of the climb. The weather was perfect and was not a factor until the decent down the front side of Mt. Lemmon. The total ride was 98 miles with about 8100 feet of climbing with a majority of the climbing coming from up the dirt road from the backside of Mt. Lemmon. Total ride time for me was 8:28 with a couple of short breaks. I am pretty sure this is the longest time I have spent on my bike in my life. I am happy I was able to finish the ride and spend time with friends. This is what life is a about. The picture is a self portrait I took of myself once I reached the top of Mt. Lemmon. This was 56 mile into the ride and I had no food left and a little bit of water. Next time I will bring more food and an extra pair of gloves. I will attempt to post a GPS of the route for those interested. Hopefully the next time I post I will be high up in the mountains in Durango, CO.
Today I was able to go for a solid 7.5 mile trail run in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains . Average pace was under 7 minute miles and it was a hard run. I have not been running much lately and today I ran with a friend of mine who pushed me pretty good. I am finding right now I am pretty lazy and I need some help from my friend to push me along. Tomorrow I enlisted my friend Kyle Akin for a 3 hour Mtn Bike ride…. Kyle is one of the best mountain bikers in the state of Arizona having won a state championship last year. Just the person I need to get my lazy, fat, old body into shape. This Sunday I have a pass to workout the whole day. I am still thinking about what that adventure might be. I am thinking it will have something to do with going up Mt. Lemmon. Peace out my friends.
Last year my friend Ted and I decided to do the Mt. Lemmon Marathon and we had a great time training and it helped us both stay focused throughout the year. We had our ups and downs but we were both there to support year each other. At the end of the race Ted was there to congratulate me. He ended up getting 7th and I placed 12th. We both had goals of getting under 3:50 minutes which we met. This last week Ted and I both stood in line in the chilly desert morning so we could get a chance at competing in IronMan Arizona. I was the last person to get registered and Ted was able to get in as well. I can’t wait until November 2011 but what I am really looking forward to is the long swim session, the epic trail runs up Bear Canyon and the 5 hours rides up Madera Canyon. That is what is going to be fun and then when we see each other at the finish line we will know we did it. Attached is a picture of Ted and I at the finish of the Mt. Lemmon Marathon. That was a great day!!
About two months ago I ran up to the top of the Rincon Mountains with my two good friends Kevin and Ted. It was a 21.2 mile, 4.5 hour run of Epic proportions. I had a blast and when I reached the summit of 8600 feet and my friends were exploring I made this video. This run was in preparation for the Mt. Lemmon Marathon… which I did two weeks ago. One of the reasons I signed up for this race was that I knew that I would get to run up all the mountains in Tucson area with my friends getting ready for this race.
I trained for 6 months for the Mt. Lemmon Marathon. It was the first running race I trained for since 1989. I did the race and I came in 12th place and I ran a 3:48. I was pretty happy with my results. The exciting thing is that I was able to convince 4 of my Cross Country teammates to race has well. They all trained for the race and made major changes in their life. The race took place on Oct 17th.
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I am laying down in the medical tent in downtown Leadville, CO struggling to keep my eyes open with an IV bag attached to my arm. My wife and two kids are by my side. How did I get to this point?
The Leadville 100 MTB Race… The first thing I learned about The Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race is that it is not the Leadville 100. It is The Leadville 104! That is what I found out when my Garmin hit 100 and I was still 4 miles away which is about the time I bonked and had to dig deeper than I ever had to just to finish. That is the first goal I always give myself when I do an event like this…. Is just to finish. I really never think it will get to that point but it did this time. The Leadville 100 was pretty hard but the last 4 miles were the hardest 4 miles of anything I have done in my life. Now that is not to say that the first 100 miles were not hard.
For all of you who have done El Tour De Tucson I think you will be able to relate to start of The Leadville 100. The first wave starts with the pros and people who have previously finished under 9 hours. The next wave are people who have finished between 9 hours and 12 hours. The last wave is all the first timers to Leadville. So I started behind 1500 some odd people. I arrived at the start line at a little before 5AM to get my spot. I was really fortunate to have many other Team Rhinos with me at the start line including Chad Kasmar, Jim Kirk, and Mark Fuller. So I was in a familiar spot I have been in many times before. It was cold, dark, I was with many friends from Tucson, and I was a little nervous not knowing what to expect. I have been here before… I think.
So the race starts and I know I have to get to the front. The first 3.5 miles is on pavement and followed by St. Kevins which is a narrow dirt road and the beginning of the first climb. The race starts and it takes me about 2 minutes to get to the start line and then the crowds start to thin out and I am able to pick up some speed. This is a race but at the same time I do not want to be that jerk who runs someone off the mountain. I am able to pick up some time on the pavement and I get up to 30mph and then I hit the dirt. All of the sudden my speed goes from 30mph to about 7mph and there is dust everyone. When a couple thousand people hit the dirt at once that kicks up ton of dirt and there was dust everywhere. It felt like I was in the middle of a Haboob! I find out later that I moved up to about 300th place or so which is ironic because that is about the place I ended up at the end of the race. So now I have to get to the front because I know that once we hit the road again I want to be in the front because drafting is a factor in this race. It is very difficult to pass people on a dirt road going up when there are hundreds of people in front of you but I manage to make up time.
Next thing I know I am going down Powerline. Now this is the first part of the race which got me. Powerline is a dirt road with rocks, whoop de doos, major erosion from water, single track, roots and people going way too slow in front of me and passing me way too fast on 30 percent grades! Now let’s set the record straight! I am no slouch of a mountain biker but at the same time I know where I fit in the pecking order. I am accustomed to riding with guys like Rene Ortega and Kyle Akin whom are both are amazing mountain bikers. Whenever I go riding with these guys I feel like beginner. I know I could have made up like 10 minutes going down Powerline if I had the skills or the huevos. So the main thing is that I made it down in one piece and I get to look forward to the climb up Columbine. My support crew was great! They met me right where they said they would be, just past Twin Lakes.
Next stop 12,500 feet at the top of Columbine. The climb was very hard and near the top my legs starting cramping so bad that I had to push my bike. They say misery enjoys company which may be true but does not take the pain away. Fortunate for me I was passed by Tyler Ford and Richard Biocca from Tucson whom both gave me words of encouragement. Then my cramps hurt so bad that I could not push my bike and had to stop. I pushed my bike for a long time until the grade got easier and I was able to get back on my bike. One thing I did learn is that I do not push my bike very fast. I was passed by many people going up hill who were pushing their bikes faster than me. This was discouraging to me considering all the running I did over the summer. The previous weekend I actually did a The La Luz Trail run in New Mexico. I made it to the top and then turned around to go back to Leadville. Now I get to go down. The descent was fast and furious. I thought I was doing better this time on my descent until the road opened up and all these guys just starting blowing by me. The bottom section of the climb had some shade so it was not easy for me to see the road and there were roots, rocks, dips, etc. But that did not stop everyone else it seems to just fly right by me. I made it to the bottom in one piece again and made two stops on the way to climb up Powerline.
My support crew met me at Twin Lakes and Pipeline. I was able to hook up with two guys I was able to ride with for about 20 miles or so and we worked together and were able to catch up with one guy that whose brother I was riding with. It was pretty cool to see these guys reunite. About 5 minutes later the guy we caught up with got a flat and one of the riders I was with was really upset. He told us that that guy we caught up with was his brother but he was so close to breaking 9 hours he could not stop to help his brother with his flat. We were going at a pretty good pace at this point and were well under 9 hour pace. Our average speed at the time was 12mph. Next stop Powerline. I had heard this was a make or break climb. This was the beginning of the break for me. I have never climbed a mountain that would never end like this one. Every time I thought I was finished there was another climb. I managed to climb most of Poweline with just a little walking. Another thing I learned about myself is that when my legs start to cramp really bad it is better to keep on biking rather than stop. Whenever I stopped my bike my cramps got so bad I could not bike so I learned to keep on pedaling. I made it to the top and had a great descent. Next a nice climb up a paved road that took every bit of energy I had to make it to the top. The paved road turned into a dirt road with more climbing and I ended up walking again. Finally I got to the top of St. Kevins and now it was time to let loose. I knew I had time to make up but my average was still on track to break 9. So I hauled ass down that mountain and made great time. Now I am thinking I have made it. At this point I am completely bonked with nothing left in the tank. I am just riding on fumes. I am able to make it a mile or so on a flat dirt road leading into Leadville and I am doing OK until I hit the last climb which is a long straight dirt road. I put my head down and start to grind it out until I can barely pedal. At this point I have went from trying to break 9 hours to just trying to finish. I am getting passed by dozens of people now who are just pedaling by me as if I were walking and I am wondering to myself how do they have the power to keep going at this speed. I think about my family and friends waiting for me at the finish line and I just lower my head and keep the wheels moving. I finally get to the paved road and there is a slight uphill before going down to the finish. I slowly crawl my way up and then start my way to the finish line. I do not think I have ever biked so slow in my life. My average for the last mile was 5mph. I cross the finish and need help to get off of my bike and I sit in a chair. I can hear the crowd yelling but I am just sitting there wondering what should I do. They tell me I can sit there as long as I need. So I sit at the finish line for about 15-20 minutes with a camera man taking video of how shot I am. I finally get the willpower and help from Chad to go to the medical tent. Where I lay down and close my eyes. At this point keeping my eyes open was huge effort. They take my vitals and tell me my blood pressure is low so they give me an IV. By this time my wife and two kids are there for me. Both my kids keep on repeating how daddy pushed himself to the limit. After one bag of fluid I come back to life and I am able to walk myself to the car and get ready for the 13 hour drive back to Tucson so my kids can start school Monday morning. Looking back on the race I realize I should have had two more bottles of water during the race. That might have made the difference between 9:14 and breaking 9 hours. The Leadville 104 was hard as they billed it out to be. I was well prepared but the high elevation and Colorado Mountains did get the best of me that day. All this means is that I have to go back in 2012.
Here is a video of me finishing the race.
My name is Joe Delgado. Delgado translates to thin or slender in spanish which is why you can call me Joeskinnie. I also happen to be 6’1″ and 155 pounds so I guess I really am Joeskinnie. I am a sales executive working for a multi-billion dollar technology company. I am married with two kids who are 6 and 8. My passion when I am not hanging out with my family is working out. I enjoy trail running, mountain and road biking, and swimming. Basically anything that will get me outdoors. Also I love to get other people excited about working out and living a well balanced life. So my mission with this website will be to talk about improving your life, health and fitness. I hope you enjoy. Joeskinnie