I arrived in Colorado safely and without any mishaps. I flew into Denver and picked up my rental car, which I upgraded to a full-sized Subaru Outback, a familiar and reasonable choice for the mountains. Plus, I don't think my bike bag would have made it into a smaller car without fold down seats.
The drive to Breckenridge was pretty epic. Despite having driven through most of it in the twilight, I could see the high ridges looming overhead. I started to feel overwhelmed by the thought of starting my day 9,800' above sea-level, and climbing these very mountains throughout the week.
Tomorrow I'm driving down to Leadville to pre-ride the first section of the course, a whopping 30 mile loop around St. Kevins and Sugarloaf Pass, finally dropping down the infamous Powerline descent before heading back into town. My goal is to ride at a comfortable pace without completely blowing up. I'm anticipating my heart rate to creep into zone 5 considering all the initial climbs. Pre-riding anything will give me a mental edge and the confidence in knowing when and where to push myself.
It feels great to be back in Colorado. The last time I was here was less than a year ago, right before I got married. I did a road trip with two of my good friends, one of which was moving from New York to California. It was the first time I had driven across the country, but it wasn't my first time in Colorado. We did some hiking in the world's highest sand dunes, and camping in the Rocky Mountain National Forest.