More post Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics tales!
Jasmin Duehring has been on the road and track scene for many years, She has attended three Olympics scoring bronze in London and Rio with her Team Canada teammates. Canada team pursuit was edged out by Team USA in Tokyo resulting in a 4th place finish for the Canadian squad who also had an incredible comeback from the qualifier round. She has been the backbone of the TWENTY24 road team for five years.
The idea of Leadville post Tokyo was actually finalized during the Tokyo Olympics, and with deferred entries from 2019 SBT Grvl Black we added this event as well! - The combined effort known as LeadBoat!
What is LeadBoat?
Combine these two events over two days with a 2.5 hr transfer between!
· Leadville MTB - Distance/elevation: 104 miles, approx 13,000ft of climbing
· SBT GRVL Black - Distance/elevation: 144 miles, approx 9,400ft of climbing (100 miles of gravel)
“Coming off of the Olympics and what ended up being a very long final build-up due to the postponement of the Games, I couldn’t be more excited to change tracks and take on such a phenomenal challenge in one of the most beautiful settings. I am ready and fully expect to be humbled but am equally excited to test my limits in a completely new and different way!"
When my plane touched down in Denver Thursday night there were a lot of emotions bubbling up inside me; happiness at seeing the mountains, relief at getting to deboard my overcrowded flight, but mostly fear and trepidation at what I had signed myself up for. Coming into the Leadboat weekend - Leadville 100 and SBT GRVL - my longest ride ever was about six and a half hours. My longest ride in the last month? A leisurely two hours before my team and I headed to Tokyo. Though I was plenty fit coming off of competing at the Tokyo Olympics, training for a four minute event wasn't the best preparation for what I was about to do. Fortunately my teammate and fellow Olympian (and gold medallist!!) Jennifer Valente was also doing Leadville which provided at least some comfort in that I wasn't going to be the only rider completely out of her element.
Fast forward thirty-six hours and Jennifer and I were standing (shivering) nervously in the pre-dawn darkness on the start line, feeling a little like imposters in the mountain bike / endurance racing scene. My plan was simple, stay in my zone, eat and drink like my life depended on it (which didn't feel too far from the truth), and make it to the finish. Of course, once the gun went it was hard to subdue 10+ years of racing instinct. My goal of "keep your heart rate under 160bpm at all times" went out the window five miles in when we hit the first climb.
Most of the race is a blur in retrospect, but I can honestly say that I loved every minute of it. The camaraderie with not only the other riders but also the many volunteers and members of the community that were out cheering was a constant source of motivation. Even when, after that hot start and a few missed feed zones things were looking dire, just as the panic would set in we would turn a corner and there would be a volunteer handing out cokes. I was pleasantly surprised that while track racing didn't prepare me for eight plus hours in the saddle, all the strength training did help me get up the climbs (even Powerline!) with relative ease. And hey I know a thing or two about getting aero so the flat sections provided welcomed relief. Before I knew it I was descending St. Kevin, still with a huge smile on my face, and eyeing up the home straight down 6th street.
Now truth be told, despite all the fun to be had, there was a huge part of me that, after crossing the Leadville finish, didn't quite want to believe that I would pretty much be doing this again in less than sixteen hours. Good thing you sign up for these things out front. Sure enough, after a hectic sixteen hours that included a two-hour transfer to Steamboat Springs, trying to get down as much food as possible, and pretending to get a good nights sleep there I was again, bleary eyed and bundled up on the start line of SBT GRVL. I can't say my enthusiasm quite matched that of some of the other riders, who sprinted off the start line like we were racing 14, rather than 140 miles. Fortunately, midrace I found myself in a group of fellow Leadboat compatriots, and what I had envisioned as being a long and lonely slog actually turned into an awesome day on the bike. We rode hard but encouraged and supported each other all the way to the finish line. The fact that there were fairly significant time gaps between the top four riders in the Leadboat overall (and just as importantly, no one seemed to be feeling all that spunky) probably contributed to our neutral "race" tactics. Either way, crossing the line together with three other women who crushed this inaugural challenge was an unforgettable moment. And just in case I did forget about it, the sweet Leadboat podium jean jacket will help remind me of this weekend for years to come!
Less than three days after finishing Leadboat I stepped foot into my (virtual) classroom for the start of the school year. After a tumultuous last few year of Olympic preparation, race postponements and cancellation, and constantly training for something or other, I am actually pretty excited to turn my attention to something a little bit different. Teaching has been a great way to try to inspire kids the way that I have been inspired my entire career by teammates, competitors, and people that I've gotten to meet all over the world. And if I can teach them some math along the way that's a real bonus too (and good for job security). I'm also starting graduate studies in statistics so for the time being my racing schedule looks sporadic at best. I can rest assured though that Leadboat ignited a flame and I am already reminiscing about future opportunities to get out and push my limits on the trails, gravel roads, or best of all both!"
1. Sarah Sturm (Specialized/Rapha/SRAM)
2. Melisa Rollins (Hanger 15)
3. Jasmin Duehring (TWENTY24)
4. Kaysee Armstrong (LIVCycling)
5. Kristen Legen (Unattached)
6. Andrea Dvorak (Unattached)
7. Iz King (Canyon)
8. Betsy Welch (Outside+)
9. Amity Rockwell (Easton Overland)
10. Alison Tetrick (Specialized)
A huge thank you to LifeTime Fitness and Leadville 100 MTB. Thanks to USAC Steve McCauley and Leslie and a massive thank you to Kris and Reka our hosts and new friends in Leadville, we could not have managed this without you!