Not content with just riding a 100-mile endurance MTB event, Elden Nelson (aka 'the Fat cyclist') wanted to share the experience of over 900 people riding this tough race - so taking out his voice recorder was the obvious thing to do. He couldn't do 900 interviews in 100 miles, but tried gallantly, and brings us real tales from the peloton - at Colorado high altitude.
Bike racing is a pretty internally-focused sport. You're thinking about your strategy, your legs, your suffering, your energy level. You, you, you. The only time you tend to think about other people is when you want to either use them or to pass them.
Pretty darned selfish, if you ask me.
On August 13, I raced the Leadville 100 - a 100-mile mountain bike race in Leadville, CO - the highest city in North America. Ranging from 9000 feet up to 12,600 feet with about 12,000 feet of climbing altogether, it's recognized as a brutal, demanding race that requires strength, endurance, and concentration to get through.
Here's the thing, though. I'd done the race eight times before, and while I wasn't worried about finishing, you can guess that with the nickname "Fat Cyclist" I knew I wouldn't be setting a personal best.
So why not use the race as an opportunity to get to know my fellow mid-pack riders? I picked up a small voice recorder - one that easily tucked under the elastic of my shorts, rolled up to the starting line, and set out to see what a serious epic race is like if you treat it like a tea party.
And please note: I did not cherry-pick riders. I had never met any of these riders before talking with them during this ride. My rider selection criteria were simple: they had to be near me and going approximately my speed.