In 1995 I raced the Leadville 100 for the second time. The first year, I was pulled by the medical team at the last checkpoint due to hypothermia. So, for my second attempt, I tried to learn from the previous year's mistakes.
I made sure that Valerie was able to come to the race with me. Having support, with dry clothes, was a huge advantage over the previous year, when I was in wet clothes all day. I also actually trained, and trained hard, for about 4 months before the race. I did 50 to 80 mile mountain bike rides at elevation, twice a week, and rode my ass off around Parker, 4 days a week. I basically lived on the bike, and got in the best shape of my life.
On the day of the race, I was feeling good. I went off the line strong, and was feeling really confident by the time I got to the second checkpoint, and refueled with supplied from Val. I changed into a dry shirt and started the climb to the 50 mile turnaround at the Columbine Mine.
Halfway up the 8 mile climb, I started to feel a bit woozy. Within 15 minutes, I was bonking hard. I had food in my jersey pockets, but I had bonked so hard and so fast that I didn't even realize that I had food, at all, much less within reach.
By the time I made the turnaround, and made it back to the Fish Hatchery checkpoint (the last before the finish line), I was so far behind my schedule that I realized I was not going to finish. If you are still on the trail, after the cut-off time, the sweep crew picks you up in the Broom Wagon and drives you into town.
I couldn't face the Ride of Shame, so I dropped out again, at the same place the med crew had pulled me the year before.
I didn't ride my bike again for 3 months, and I stopped racing, altogether.
I could take being pulled for a medical problem, the first year. But, after all of the preparation I had gone through, to just not be able to finish was heartbreaking.