It's been three years since I came back from Leadville, Colorado as a finisher but with no belt buckle. I missed the twelve hour cutoff by twenty-four minutes. I finished though. That was important. Nothing in life has compared to racing my mountain bike one hundred miles. It is a unique experience.
As is writing your first book. Mine is finished. In a sense it was finished shortly after I returned from finishing the Leadville 100. But I've been "polishing it up" for three years. Time has come to put it out regardless of the quality of its luster. At some point you can't cling to any kind of notion of perfection. My book is what it is. Any continuing dicking about is going to push me over the line of diminishing returns.
Going through my edits as I worked through the final hurdles to publication has managed to reawaken the desire within me to go back to Colorado and claim a belt buckle. I can't reread the words I wrote about the Leadville 100 and not feel a need to redeem myself. I'm proud of what I accomplished, but I'm disappointed I wasn't slightly faster. Three percent faster to be exact. My average speed needed to increase from 8.3 mph to slightly better than 8.7 mph in order to finish in under twelve hours.
I've not gone back to Leadville in three years. I've not even tried to get in the lottery once. Twelve hundred miles of distance is a significant obstacle. The cost of participating in the race is no small barrier itself. Even dirt-bagging it is pricey. But the probably the biggest barrier now is our local school district's asinine early start date. My wife teaches and I have two SAG crew enrolled as students. First day of school for my aspiring mountain bike protégés was Tuesday. Leadville 100 MTB is today.
In 2013 they took the first week of school off for the trip, but since Mandy went back to teaching that's not been possible. And I just can't go without them.
So what's a guy to do? Take up political activism to get my state's laws changed to push back school start dates just so I can go to Colorado for another dubious shot a belt buckle? Probably, yeah. If that's what it takes. Maybe that'll be the subject of my book sequel.