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Yesterday at 10,910’… surrounded by my lifelong friends; cold, snow, and high heart rate!   Felt fleet, felt a sense of Wu-Wei – effortless effort – and raced to a top 10% of all 400+ finishers…today?  well,  not so much…


in bike racing there is an oft recited catchphrase;  “Sometimes you are the hammer, and sometimes?  Well you’re the {explicative} nail.”

this morning? feeble ilg was the latter.

in fact, i finished very nearly DEAD LAST!

and i do mean, DEAD!


knew it from the Start Gun…for some GOD unknown reason,  the Start Line was positioned exactly 15 meters – yeah, 15 METERS – from the FIRST HILL of the FIRST extended climb up the EXTENDED 700′ AGONY of Ft. Lewis College’s infamous “Front Hill” which is a brutal 11% gradient up 3 switchbacks which if you try pedaling up them as fast you can?  will make you barf, feel like barfing, getting OFF your bike and walking or ALL THE ABOVE.

lived here my whole life, pretty much.

raced up Front Hill like a dozen or more times.

think i’d remember.


i reckon i’ve developed a BLANK-THE-MOFO-OUT type of syndrome…cuz i did NOT – i repeat;  DID NOT – prepare wisely for the BLAST OFF the Start Line directly attacking the Front Hill.

can i even try to tell you how in simpatico my legs and lungs BLEW UP within 60 seconds trying to chase like a Diné banshee  the attacking leaders up Front Hill…all this at 8:05 am the morning AFTER the Durango-to-Sliverton Road Race which OUTSIDE Magazine voted one of the top ten hardest road bike races in America.


let’s just say…

today was NOT one of my best days on the carbon pony.   let’s just say i completely f**ked up.  let’s just say i had 3 laps of a brutal 13-minute circuit course whereupon i was ‘racing’ all by myself

in front of my hometown friends, family, and students

with the Race Announcer crooning to the gathered masses things like,

“OH LOOK!!! Here comes….the WORLD FAMOUS STEVE ILG, cover boy of OUTSIDE MAGAZINE and voted one of the FITTEST HUMANS ON THE PLANET,”

as i slobbered and slothed by way each time pass the Main Avenue cheering crowed wishing i could just disappear into one of the potholes…


good training (again) in Humility and Perseverance.

i didn’t give up.

i met my difficulty with elegance.

and tomorrow is another day to Toe another Start Line.

one of the many Great Blessings of being paralyzed and living a life of chronic pain/management?

finishing (almost) last?  ain’t no big thing.  cuz’ i beat over 350 other Iron Horse racers in my Age Group who did NOT Toe The Start Line this morning!


i actually moved up from 11th in the Omnium to 8th.

who knows what tomorrow may bring.

it will be a(bother) good day to die (the ego)…







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