Leadville Trail 100 MTB – Athlete Interview

April 24, 2024
Rich (on right) & family sitting on couch with Leadville pillow on lap.

This week I bring to you an interview with a very special athlete, my husband, on his experience from the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race last year.  We recorded our interview for your listening pleasure. Please be kind to our low budget chat, I am no expert podcaster (nor do I hope to be!).  It gets off to a slow start, but hopefully you’ll hang in until the end.  The transcript is available below, where I link to some resources that were mentioned. At the very end you will find a few photos of the Twin Lakes Alternate aid station.

If anyone had follow up questions, don’t be shy.

And if you or someone you know needs help putting together a nutrition or crewing plan for Leadville or other endurance races — reach out, I offer that kind of help!

Thanks for listening!

NS: Hi Rich, thanks for joining me today.

Since the Leadville race series kicked off a few weeks ago for this season I thought it might be fun to have an interview with you, since last year your A race was the Leadville 100 mountain bike race.

So why don’t you just introduce yourself and then I will start asking some questions about the race. I figured we’d go through a little bit of background, a little bit of your training and what you did to prep for this race, talk about nutrition and then talk about race day and how it went for you. 

RB: Sounds good.

So my name is Rich Bean. I live in Hoboken, New Jersey. I’ve been an endurance athlete since 2007 when I did my first triathlon and then found my way into mountain biking.  Which I had done in my youth but had stopped for a little while. I found my way into mountain biking probably in 2008-2009 and then after my last Ironman in 2017 decided to focus more on mountain bike racing and cycling because that was the most enjoyable part of triathlon for me.  So I fell in love with the endurance mountain bike racing events that are out there.

NS: So what made you interested in Leadville specifically?

RB: I’ve always liked challenging myself. Like I said, I had done Ironman previously. I always looked for that next type of race or event to challenge my endurance and my ability so Leadville popped on my radar at some point during my triathlon years and it was something that I thought would be really aspirational for me to accomplish.

You know, it’s a race that starts at I think around 10,000 feet goes up to 12,000 and you’re riding up and down through the mountains.  You know 10,000 feet of elevation gain over 105 miles, it sounded pretty cool, especially to do that on a mountain bike in a beautiful part of Colorado. So it was something that has always been on my radar, but just couldn’t commit to accomplishing because of triathlon training and other things that I wanted to do. 

NS: Great, that’s really interesting. Leadville can be quite a feat just to get in the race. So why don’t you give us a little bit of background on how you actually got to the start line.  When you tried to get in the race and what happened for you up until last year when you were actually in the race. 

RB: So, I think once I started racing the marathon style mountain biking events my first one was with the Wilmington White Face challenge, which no longer exists as a Leadville qualifier, but at the time it was in Lake Placid.

I think I did it in 2018 and 2019, back-to-back years, and I thought I could get in that way via qualification by finishing the top three in the age group, which is one way to go about it. You also can get a lottery at the race where they hand out any number of coins, upwards of probably 50 coins, for participants in the lottery after the race. I didn’t get that so I figured the overall lottery would be the best way for me to get in. It’s really tough to get in via qualifying in your age group; there are some really really really incredibly fast riders out there, and then the lottery is just a shot in the dark after the race.  So in 2019 I actually got in via the lottery, but there was a bit of a snafu and the lottery winners as well as the lottery losers received details that they actually got into the race. A number of the people that weren’t supposed to be in got in or said they were in via the lottery. 

So Leadville or Lifetime did a nice job of honoring that and I chose to defer to 2021.  So 2019 – 2020 obviously was the pandemic in around March of 2020 is when things started shutting down, but I had deferred already in February to 2021. Then because of the backlog and the number of folks not being at Leadville in 2020, they allowed us to defer again if we wanted to.  I had Park City point-to-point on my radar; I decided to do that in `21 and deferred [Leadville] to `22.

Then I tore my ACL and meniscus in a skiing accident in ‘22 so I wasn’t able to actually race Leadville until 2023 so it was a long four-year journey to get to.

NS: Quite a roller coaster!  So, when you were actually prepping for the race last year, did you have a goal in mind of what you wanted to do?

RB: Yep. Yeah, I wanted to go under nine hours for sure. I figured I got into this race I knew it was gonna take a lot of training to just finish it and if I was putting the time into it I just wanted to do the best I possibly could.  And I kind of figured based on some of the things that I’d read and based on my FTP or where I could get my FTP – I probably could go under nine hours.

NS: Is there something special that happens if you go under nine hours?

RB: Nine hours was the big feat because you get the big belt buckle and the big belt buckle is pretty sweet to wear around and to have as bragging rights. 

NS: Just explain what the regular finishing time would be?

RB: Yeah, the regular finishing time, I think, is 12 hours or under 12 hours you have to be to get the regular belt buckle and then I think you can finish after that, but you don’t get a buckle. I’m not sure what the cutoff total cutoff time was if it’s like 14 or 13, but there is a cutoff time for folks you just don’t get a buckle for the race. 

[Note for accuracy: finishers after 12 hours are not counted as official finishers.]

NS: All right. Well that sounds like a long arduous road. I’m sure other athletes have similar stories in actually getting to the start line of some of their most important races. 

Let’s get into your training now and talk about the things that you did to prep for the race. Just give us a sense of what your training plan was like; coming off of an injury could be pretty scary.   Almost feeling like maybe you’re starting from nothing whereas before you had a base of some sort. So give us a sense of what that looked like for you going into last year.  

RB: Yeah, it definitely did feel like starting from nothing. My surgery was in April of 2022, and I really couldn’t start training on the bike, especially as more structured rides until October of that year.  And that’s just because I was constantly battling tendonitis in my knee, overdoing the workouts that I was getting in PT or lifting. Trying to have my body heal during that time was really the primary focus.  I was doing PT from April of `22 until I think like August of `23 or September of 2023 so I had a lot of physical therapy throughout the year.  But structured training for me started on October 19th. I look back at my calendar to see when I actually started hitting the trainer pretty regularly, and that’s when it started. I used Trainer Road to build out my training plan. They have a great feature where you just put your A race in the calendar and it’ll build a whole plan backwards from that race through the various phases. 

NS: So you didn’t have a coach other than the Trainer Road plan?

RB: No, I did not have a coach. I had a coach for nutrition. She did a wonderful job helping me out but no cycling coach.

NS: So that’s a pretty long time to be intense. How did you feel about that? That’s a really long 

time to focus on a race.

RB: It is. But I knew I wanted to “bank” some training because I knew there were some travels coming up.  During the winter we like to ski, so having some ski trips in there I knew would affect my training time. I just wanted to have a strong endurance base going into it, and that’s mostly what October through the end of December was; it was all zone two, pretty easy rides with some stuff mixed in outside that would definitely go above that, but overall all my trainer rides during that time period we’re focused on building up an endurance base.

NS: Since you mentioned that you built your plan with Trainer Road and you were inside on the trainer for a lot of your training. How much outside riding did you do leading up to this race?

RB: It’s a good question. I don’t know in total. Looking back at my training program, I did nine what I call “big rides” outside. So anything lasting roughly over three hours and whether that was road riding or mountain biking — for those who don’t know Hoboken’s right outside New York City and there really isn’t a ton of safe riding In the area. You can get to some decent riding, but it becomes kind of unsafe. There are about nine miles of pretty hectic roads to get to some decent riding so yeah mostly on the trainer.

NS: You live in New Jersey here and the race is at a pretty high altitude. What did you do, if anything, to prep for the altitude that you’d be facing out there?

RB: I went out two weeks or 15 days before the race. We stayed in Golden, Colorado for three days, which is right around the same elevation as Denver, maybe a little bit higher.  There’s some great mountain biking there.  Then we went up to Copper Mountain which I think the base area is 9700 feet or something like that and that’s where we stayed up until the Leadville race. It definitely hurt a little bit riding at Copper the first few days, but my body gradually adapted and there’s some pretty decent trails there and some truck trailer four-wheel drive trail up the mountain that you can do some good intervals on and kind of get you used to the altitude. And of course sleeping at altitude helped tremendously. 

NS: So did you have any races leading up? Were they mountain bike races or road road races? What did you do and what would you recommend others to do kind of to prep going into Leadville.

 RB: The only race I did going into Leadville was the Lutsen 99er which is in Lutsen, Minnesota.  A beautiful part of the country, I had never been in that area. I highly recommend it if you’re going to do a qualifier. It’s a tough race, but it’s a good race and the area is really pretty.

So that was the only race I did. I had some big rides; we were up in Lake Placid one weekend and I think I did like a five and a half hour ride — riding through all the different single-track in the Lake Placid area which was awesome.  That was a really big day and big ride. Then I did some longer road rides here to prep and practice my nutrition. But the Lutsen race was the only one that I could really fit on my calendar. There aren’t any on the East Coast actually right now.

NS: Is there anything else you want to share about your training or the cycling aspect of your training before we get into the next phase?

RB: Yeah, I think a couple things I’ll just hit really quick. One, I did have a pretty detailed trainer trainer plan through a Trainer Road and it does take you through all the phases. They have sweet spot, base, threshold, and then I did a Gran Fondo focus specialty because it is a long race and the power for Leadville is pretty consistent for the most part. There aren’t really major spikes. The Powerline climb a little bit and maybe some of the shorter punchier climbs, going up Sugarloaf, or the rocks that you go over on Sugarloaf, but nothing really crazy like you would see in a typical mountain bike race. So if you’re going to use Trainer Road, I’d recommend looking at that or the rolling road race plan. I lifted twice a week and had PT twice a week too during my whole training plan. The PT was necessary and the lifting just really helped build a lot of strength on the bike and off the bike to hold my body up for under nine hours.

NS: Spoiler. So you reached your goal?

RB: I did hit my goal.

NS: So let’s talk about nutrition. I know you mentioned you had a great nutrition coach. That is me, your wife, Nicci.  Registered dietitian who owns ELEVATE Performance Services. 

And throughout your training I’ve heard you say over and over that Leadville is really an eating competition. Especially for you, in knowing your body and what you need, which I would say is a higher rate of calories than other people might need.  So, I know that it was important for you to really dial in the nutrition plan and to be practicing it because you know based on your history that you need to be taking in a lot of calories and a lot of hydration to not cramp and to be able to maintain the power that you want to put out. So when did you start practicing your nutrition plan?

RB: Yes, absolutely. I started practicing my nutrition, technically if I think about it, it was at the Park City point-to-point race in 2021 where I tried a few things and messed up pretty significantly by not having enough nutrition on board. And of course by coming to you the night before asking you to help plan the nutrition which was a huge mistake, so I definitely learned from that. We talked about it going into my training block probably around April,l about what I should be thinking about nutrition wise, and that’s when my longer rides we’re gonna start anyway. So that’s where I practice a lot. I had some 80 mile outside rides on the road, I did a hundred miler and I threw in some longer mountain bike rides in. And that’s where I practiced my nutrition on all those. I don’t think I was getting the caloric goals that we had in mind for Leadville during those practices, but I was pretty close. I knew my body pretty well during those practice sessions. I wasn’t really feeling sick or bloated or dehydrated or any of the typical symptoms that you would experience from under fueling or under hydrating, so I had it somewhat dialed in going into Leadville.

NS: Great. Why don’t you just give us kind of an overview of what your plan was like. What products do you use? You don’t have to be super detailed, just in general. We don’t need to know how many calories per hour because you apparently can’t find those notes. 

RB: Well, I do have my total calories in front of me because I still have the spreadsheet that you made for me. If anyone’s out there looking for a detailed nutrition spreadsheet, Nicci definitely provides it.  I don’t really know the calories per hour. I mean we could do the math, but I had 3,180 total calories during the race and that consisted of 796 grams of carbohydrate and 6,906 milligrams of sodium in 257 ounces of liquid so it’s a good amount of calories on that day. It was an eating contest. I guess you could do some quick math. I did the race in eight hours and 45 minutes. So 3180 divided by almost nine hours will give you 372 calories per hour roughly. That’s what I consumed. Between that and also the caffeine intake which was pretty high.

NS: Give us the products that you use. What you like and what is helpful for you.

RB: All or mostly Precision Fuel & Hydration products the PH1500 and the PH1000 sachets for my hydration and then the PF90 gels during the race.  The PF90 gels are 360 calories per pouch and they’re nice because they have a little screw top on. It was a little tough; I had to wait for the road sections to really use those (to unscrew and screw them). It was tough when it was a dirt road or I had to be very careful. On the climbs I could actually do it.

Otherwise I was using just the regular PF30 gels that you can just rip. And then I also had Skratch super fuel which I think is called their super high carb mix now. I had that on board but on the bike as well, but I think I only had one bottle of that if I remember correctly.  So it was mostly liquid and gel calories.

NS: And you feel like that worked well for you?

RB: I did, yeah. And come to think about it, I had some coke at some point somewhere because coke is absolutely delicious during an endurance ride. But yes, I think it worked great.

We had some contingency plans too. We had some solid foods in case my stomach wasn’t feeling great, gummy bears I had in my pocket. And then I want to say we had some…

NS: Cookies. We had some cookies on hand.

RB: Yeah, at the feed stations. So there were some solids just in case things went awry, but I didn’t need it. 

NS: Anything else you want to add about your nutrition plan?

RB: Nope. I mentioned the caffeine I took around 800 milligrams of caffeine, which was probably a little too much; I was not sleeping that night. But otherwise yeah, it worked out really well. Oh, and I also had pickle juice as a contingency plan in case I felt some cramps coming on, and I did take that twice throughout the race. The cramping only hit when I was really pushing hard on some of the climbs. But it was really a non-factor compared to what it usually is for me where my hamstrings really just lock up on me.

NS: Great, so let’s talk about race day. Take us through your day, talking about what else on race day you had to plan for.  How did you get all the information that you needed in order to plan?  What were those other things outside of just the training and altitude and nutrition that you have to think about on race day, especially when you’re trying to go under nine hours?

RB: Yeah, I think Leadville is as much of a logistical challenge as well as an endurance challenge and eating challenge. I was fortunate enough to have you, my sister and her husband (Julia and Kev), at the race to support me at the eight stations.  We were able to split up the responsibilities to have Julia and Kev at the first day station (Pipeline) and you at the second one (Twin Lakes Alt) to hand up my nutrition which helped immensely.  If you can minimize your stoppage time at Leadville that saves, obviously, a tremendous amount of time and every minute counts there. Especially if you’re trying to go under nine hours, and especially if you’re really close to that fitness level that’s just gonna get you under there.

We had amazingly fast aid stations. The longest one was 1:24 because I had to pump my tire up. I ended up burping my tire on Pipeline and had five PSI or ten PSI in it when I got to aid station one (Pipeline). So the logistical challenge.  Getting to the race early, I got to the start line very early. I was one of the first people in my corral to set up which was great.  A lot of time to get to the porto potties once or twice before the race and just to be ready and mentally prepared. 

The morning-of for breakfast, I couldn’t make pancakes the way I usually do. We had to make them in bulk so we used a cookie sheet and if anyone hasn’t tried pancake bars they’re pretty good.  And they do a nice job of substituting for regular pancakes. So that was my race day breakfast along with a couple of eggs which worked out great as well. I’d practice that before Lutsen to make sure my stomach wasn’t gonna go crazy with that. So it seems to be my go-to right now. 

But yeah, just coordinating the logistics is tough. There are great resources out there whether you’re on different forums there are always people talking about Leadville. There’s also the Leadville Trail 100 podcast where we got a ton of information. And I freaked out my sister sending her the link to looking at how to crew effectively which was really really helpful I think for all of us and you know really helped plan everything.

NS: Yeah, in talking about crewing, from your perspective. We hadn’t been there before, we didn’t know what the aid stations looked like. We came up with our own mechanisms for how you could most easily find where our setup was. How did you feel that worked? Did you feel like you could spot us easily or what would you advise to other people who are gonna have a crew out there.  Bearing in mind that we had to fly out there, there are a lot of people who live within driving distance and can bring a big tent and all of this stuff. The big flags that you can identify your person, your person can find you at the aid station very easily.  So how did you feel about the setup we had? 

RB: Yeah, I think the setup we had worked pretty well, especially based on where I was in the race. I don’t know how it would have worked if I was with a bigger group or further back, with more people coming into aid. I didn’t feel like when I came through there were ever a lot of people in aid so I was able to spot everyone pretty easily or be spotted.  To be honest I think you spotted me well before I saw you at Twin Lakes Alternate. 

NS: Well, the reason why I did is, pro tip, to have your person or someone in the group who’s going to be helping you through the aid stations bring a pair of binoculars.  Because where I was set up at Twin Lakes Alternate, I had a very good location that I could I could see from a distance when the bikers were coming down the mountain and then looping around a little bit, so I had some time (and I was actually helping to spot for other groups as well).  So having the binoculars actually was key because I could see you coming, and then prep, get ready before you were close to me and that was really huge.  

RB: I think I provided you and Julia and Kev with times when I would be at the aid stations.

Nicci: Yes, that was really beneficial having your person try to estimate as best as they can, this is the fastest time I might be there and this is the average time I might be there, and if I’m not having a good day or I have mechanical or something this is the later time.  Just to have a sense of the time frames to be ready for any of that. One other thing that I found helpful and I think a lot of people didn’t really know about is signing up for the text updates. I think in the past it didn’t work that well for people out there, but last year it worked quite well. I was getting updates for you almost spot on maybe a minute or two after you went through a checkpoint. But that was also really helpful.  So I think any of those but trying to really have a good estimate, which can be hard because if you haven’t been out there or you don’t know how to compare yourself or you haven’t done a prep race to be able to compare yourself with how people ride.  You spent a lot of time investigating that to give us good estimates of when you might be coming through.

RB: Yeah, I looked at a lot of data. I looked at previous years finishers or finishers in Athlinks to see roughly where they finish and where I would try to finish and based my times on that.  Again some podcasts out there that I listened to – Trainer Road podcast or Leadville Trail 100 podcast, they talk about trying to calculate your time. So I knew where I could roughly be. And honestly, if I was more concerned about going under nine hours, if anything was to be later than nine hours it didn’t really matter at that point. It was like here’s the fastest I’m going to be, here’s my mid area or average or whatever the middle of where I think I’ll be and we based it on that. Where I needed to be for an eight and a half hours or 8:40:00 time so that worked out really well. Definitely worked out well.  Didn’t we try flying balloons and that didn’t work out too well?

NS: I had a balloon. I got some balloons. It was flying really nicely for a little while before you got there and then it started raining and got cold and the balloon didn’t like that. It was dropping and I couldn’t let it fly too high because if the wind blew it would blow out into the course. [photo below]

RB: We also specified which side you would be on and Julia and Kev would be on so I knew what side to look at going out and coming back in.  That made things a lot easier as well. I knew at least to look to a certain side instead of having to scan the entire feed zone.

NS: Correct.

RB: Yep.

NS: Anything else about coordinating with your people?

RB: We had a rental car which made things easy to get in and out. There is a shuttle, but I don’t know what that is like.

NS: We did not use the shuttle at all.

RB: We knew based on where I wanted to be in the timing that we didn’t want to leave that up to the shuttle schedule. 

NS: I don’t know how much the shuttle is utilized, but there were definitely a lot of cars. The other thing is you don’t know what the weather is going to be. Part of the day it was warm and part of the day it was really cold and rainy.  We packed a cooler with us to come out and then we ended up buying another little cooler just to make sure that you could have cold things and that kind of thing. 

RB: Also what went well from a hand up standpoint is, and this is really important, bundling your nutrition together and labeling it exactly when you want it so your people at the aid station can just give it to you, that bag or that baggy or that bundle. However you do it.

NS: Yeah, that’s part of my planning. For each hand off, I had a little ziploc bag with all of the things that were needed to be handed off or mixed before that hand up. For a different bottle, if he left bottles behind and I had to remix bottles, that kind of thing. So all of that instruction was on there. 

You know, there are definitely groups out there that are not as type A.  Someone let me sit under their tent with them and he was crewing for probably four different people and he had this big cooler and all their stuff was in it. And they came by and went digging through the cooler for whatever. It was not that organized. I liked us being organized. I knew that it was important for you to not have a lot of stoppage time because you really wanted to get the big belt buckle. So we felt pressure as your crew to be efficient. 

Other tips that we picked up that were helpful were, as the crew you need to be asking that person the questions, not waiting or relying on them to tell you that they need something.  Have a list of questions about the things they might want or might need that they’re just not thinking about when they’re stopping in those seconds or moments. 

RB: Absolutely. Race brain is real and especially when you’re putting pressure on yourself to get under a specific time whether it’s nine or 10 or 11 hours or whatever your time goal is. Being out there all day is rough.

I had a great weather day. I couldn’t imagine being out there if it was really hot or really really cold And then your brain is really experiencing some challenges. So, absolutely make sure you have a list of questions whether it’s asking about sunglasses or do you want new gloves or do you need your tires pumped. Do you want to push? I had my brother-in-law push me on a send-off at my first aid station, which I thought was awesome. It actually worked out really well. It’s like a little mental boost getting pushed like that. 

NS: What would you say, was there a hardest part or a low point mentally or what?

RB: Yeah Oh for sure. I mean the whole race is hard.  The hardest parts, I think honestly, the Columbine descent is underrated as difficult. Especially the top part by the goat path where it’s single track and there’s a little bit of exposure. It’s sketchy and chunky for sure,so that was a little dicey. And then especially going down the rest of the Columbine where you have a ton of traffic coming up. It wasn’t bad, but it’s again, you got all these people coming up and you got to make sure you stay in control of your bike. And then Pipeline in-bound is absolutely brutal. That climb is every bit as impossible as people make it out to be. I thought I was gonna be able to clear it. I ended up having to get off and walk my bike at one point. I ran a 32 chain ring, which was the smallest I could run. I don’t know how people run bigger or talk about running bigger in that race.  

So the low point, I don’t think I had any extreme low points, but it did rain on me on the Sugarloaf descent and I was borderline shivering as I was going down that, which is really unsafe. So I had that in the back of my mind as I’m shivering going down and I didn’t have my rain jacket on me. I had ditched it at Twin Lakes in-bound because it rained at the top of Columbine, and I didn’t think I was gonna need it and no I did.  So I would make sure you’re packing for weather and getting a lightweight raincoat and just have something to throw on to keep your body heat in.  And thankfully there were more climbs after that and I was able to warm up, but I was pretty cold at that point. It was not that I was worried about not finishing, but I was definitely just fried mentally after going down in that rain. It was cold, cold rain. 

NS: Is there a best part or a high?

RB: Yeah, I mean finishing was the high for sure.

NS: At what point did you know that you would finish under nine hours?

RB: I think once I got to the top of Columbine I had a pretty good idea based on where my time was that I could do it. And then once I was heading back after Twin Lakes in-bound and there was no wind, like there usually is, I thought I was moving pretty good.

I had some concerns. I was having some mechanical issues. I’ll just say that, and I’ll just say do a bolt check before the race. I told myself I was going to do it, and I didn’t and I had several mechanical issues that I actually didn’t even solve during the race.  I didn’t figure out what they were until I cleaned my bike the next day – some rattling and with race-brain I thought it was coming from the front end. It ended up being the rear end, some loose rear caliper and rear derailleur,so the shifting was a little wonky. But I got into a good group coming back and we all kept each other spirits pretty high. At that point we were all pacing off each other, back to a successful race.

NS: And then what did the finish feel like?

RB: Relief. Relief, a wave of emotion and relief for sure. I definitely teared up finishing.  That was a great accomplishment. I hold that higher than any of the Ironman races that I’ve done. I’ve done three and this was by far my favorite accomplishment. Yeah, I don’t know how to describe it – just like this wave of relief and happiness and thank god it’s over kind of all coming at once.  And when can I eat some real food?

NS: Do you think you’ll ever do it again?

RB: I don’t know. I don’t think so. I’m not gonna say never. Never say never, but I don’t really have interest in doing it in the immediate future. There are other races that I want to tackle. I want to go back to Park City point to point to tackle that race.  The Breck Epic is on my radar. There are some other longer distance races that I’d like to go after, maybe do some more road racing as well. 

NS: So if there was one piece of advice that you could give to anyone trying to achieve under nine hours for Leadville, what would it be?

RB: One piece of advice.

NS: Yep. Your one best piece of advice. One thing.

RB: I mean, there are a lot of things. 

NS: There are. 

RB: I think I’m gonna combine two. It’s consistent training and nutrition. Making sure both those are completely dialed in. That’s really it. I would say don’t fret about missing a training session here and there, but just make sure you’re training consistently as your training plan allows and as your time allows and make sure you’re practicing your nutrition on some of those longer rides and races. And you should have a pretty good day. 

NS: Great. Well, I appreciate you taking the time and hopefully others will get something out of this in their prep for Leadville this year. And maybe we will get some questions and can have a follow up if anyone is interested in that.
RB: Sure.

Post-finish, showing off the new hardware, feeling elated and exhausted all at once.

Attempting to use a balloon as a flag, so Rich could find me at the Twin Lakes Alternate aid station. This did not end up working as well as I had hoped!

fish balloon flying in air with mountains in background
Foggy day with view of tents in foreground.

Twin Lakes Alt aid station. My view when using binoculars to spot athletes in the distance.

After a sharp right turn, athletes leave the TL Alt aid to begin the Columbine climb.

Tents in foreground, mountain in background.