The Vapor Trail 125 is a beast of a race. I've never raced Leadville 100, but even though the Vapor is only 25 miles longer, finishing times tend to be double that of Leadville. The fact that it costs half as much and still will only get 50 people to sign up is a testament to it's difficulty. Roadies need not apply.
This year, I went into the Vapor with a bit of a disadvantage. I'd been at sea level for two weeks and regardless of how much Aclimate I chugged in the week after returning, I could feel that my lungs weren't functioning nearly as well as they had before I left the high altitude of central Colorado. But I couldn't stand the thought of missing the race, it is my favorite after all, so I took my single speed.
I figured if nothing else, it would give me a good excuse to walk my bike when the going got tough.
The race started as it does every year, with me getting dropped during the neutral roll out. Knowing that the only way I was going to survive the day was to pace myself, I settled in for the long haul.
Eight hours later, I arrived at the Snowblind campground where I gorged myself with Dave Wiens' pancakes and sausage. Quite possibly not the best idea before starting the 9 mile climb up Old Monarch Pass, but c'est la vie.
I was pretty shelled by the time I made it up to the Crest, but mustered the energy to enjoy the trail riding, because once at the top, it's mostly downhill. Except the parts that are uphill.
In the end, I finished in 18:27 which was a solid two hours faster than I rode the course last year. It was definitely a long day in the chamois, but all the pain and suffering was quickly forgotten over beer and BBQ post-race. Maybe that's why I keep coming back year after year, I just can't seem to remember how bad it hurts.