Today, my friend and teammate Dr. Larry Stevens is competing in the brutally difficult Leadville 100 mountain bike race. The race starts at over 10,000 feet of elevation and goes up from there. You can see a video overview of the race course here. Velonews has live coverage from the race here.
The cut off time for the race is 12 hours. I've given Larry as much motivation as I can by promising him a beer for each minute he finishes within the 12-hour limit. Mostly, however, I just hope he stays safe and enjoys the race (as much as one can enjoy a complete sufferfest).
UPDATE: Levi Leipheimer has won the race at 6 hours, 16 minutes, 37.2 seconds, breaking the record Lance Armstrong set last year. I expect another 5-and-a-half hours or so before my friend Larry finishes. I'm keeping fingers crossed for him.
2d UPDATE: I just received notification that Larry has just finished the climb up Columbine well within time to finish the race under the 12-hour limit.
3d UPDATE: Larry missed the final cut-off, and will not be allowed to finish the race. I'm sure he's very disappointed, but he shouldn't be. It was a hell of an effort, and he's earned all the beer I'm going to give him regardless of not finishing.
FINAL UPDATE: Larry suffered an edema during the climb up Columbine Mine, which meant he was coughing up some blood, and he basically hit a wall after that point. He was pulled from the race after completing 75 miles, when race officials determined that he could not have made the 12-hour time limit. Larry was understandably very disappointed, and he apparently felt that he had let down his family and friends who had come out to support him. I can appreciate his disappointment, though even that should be tempered by the knowledge that he gave it everything he had. More importantly, he owes apologies to no one. The attempt itself was heroic. My admiration for him could not be higher if he had finished in the top 10.