A senior Constable at the Victorian Water Police, Lynden Blackley is a determined man. A man with passion, pride and an extreme goal. Tri Alliance first met Lynden over a coffee at Degani’s 12 months ago. He was then reintroduced to us by JC in May this year which was when we learnt of his goal – the Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race.
Rated as one of the toughest mountain bike climb races in the world, the Leadville 100 is not for the faint hearted. The race is nestled in the majestic Rocky Mountains, Leadville, Colorado. The area once the home of prospectors looking to strike it rich in the world’s largest silver camps. Today, the historic town comes alive with extreme athletes looking to earn a medal of their own — or head home humbled.
The race is one hundred miles across the high-altitude, extreme terrain of the Colorado Rockies. Created for and conquered by only the most determined athletes. Starting at 10,152 feet and climbing to 12,424 feet over forest trails and mountain roads. If 100miles (160km) on a mountain bike isn’t hard enough, to be racing at 10,000+ feet (3,000+m) over rocky terrain, this event challenges the mind, body, determination and mental strength of everyone who dares to take it on.
Lynden had no illusions that the race was going to be tough, which was why he came to Tri Alliance to gain an edge on his preparation – altitude training. With 10 weeks until the race we were confident of getting him physically and mentally prepared for the gruelling race.
So from then, Lynden became a regular at the Tri Alliance office. Three times a week he would come in with his mountain bike and hook himself up to our ATS Mask Based Altitude System. Sessions progressively got tougher, the altitude higher each week. There were weeks when Lynden would nearly fall off his bike he pushed himself so hard. He was determined, and nothing was going to stop him.
Everything was going to plan, Lynden was adapting to altitude extremely well, and he could push himself harder each session. His sessions were peaking out at 4,500m – tough work for anyone! He knew where his limitations were, but at the same time he was prepared to continually push them – test the boundaries.
Then only four weeks out from the race, we were all hit with the devastating news of the death of John Cornish. Lynden was a great mate of JC’s and it hit him hard – harder than any altitude session could have. JC was the instigator in getting Lynden into altitude training, and was tracking his progress along the way. JC himself was keen to race this event and would draw inspiration from the Leadville 100 DVD Lynden would watch day in day out while on the trainer. Following the news it was a tough couple of weeks for everyone, but for Lynden it made his determination stronger. He knew what JC would want him to do – go out and race this event and make him proud. And that he did.
“I feel like I have the strength of 10 men” Lynden commented after his last altitude session. It sent shivers down our spine as we knew they were not only 10 men, but 10 men of John Cornish’s calibre. JC was there at the beginning of Lynden’s Journey and he was going to be there to finish it with him too.
Two days before the event Lynden checked in with Tri Alliance:
“We had our last training ride this morning. I’m feeling pretty good and think I’ve acclimatized pretty good. My heart rate has dropped about 10 bpm while climbing and have good legs. I’m sure all of OUR hard work will pay off. I’m going to ride strong and smart and know that our mate JC will be riding with me, pushing me up those bloody hills. Thanks again for all of your help mate. Can’t wait to get back and show you my finishers belt buckle!”
And so there was nothing else left to do other than race.
Lynden finished the event in 11:50.27 – a day he will savour for the rest of his life. He rang us post event and was estatic “I’ve finished, i’ve done it, we’ve done it. Thanks mate you got me there!” he exclaimed over the phone overcome with emotion.
Congratulations Lynden – JC would have been proud (and maybe even a little jealous!)
Lynden arrives back in Australia this week and we can’t wait to see his finishes buckle and share the memories with him.
If you have a goal, a dream, a challenge – put in the hard work, focus on the outcome, believe in yourself and you can achieve anything...