Off to the Races: Leadville Training with Peter Harvey

By: Kyle Wagner

Like so many of the athletes who ride or run in the Leadville 100 Race Series to raise funds for First Descents, Peter Harvey got involved because of a friend’s battle with cancer.

In Harvey’s case, that friend was Nate “Scooter” Post, who since his two-year battle with advanced Stage 4 cancer at the age of 22, has joined the alumni advisory board for First Descents. The 29-year-old Harvey – who is originally from Princeton, N.J., and recently moved to Indianapolis – got to know Post when they attended business school together.

“When Nate conveyed to me his experience battling cancer, the stress and trauma of the diagnosis and the fight, and then the difficulties of re-assimilating back into society, and the role that First Descents played in that process, I knew that I wanted to get involved,” Harvey says. “Nate connected me with First Descents because he felt that getting out there with them saved his life post-cancer, and I have been so honored to be involved.”

This August 11 will be the third time Harvey races the LT100 mountain bike event to raise funds for FD, and he shares his thoughts about training, nutrition and the life of an athlete below.

How do you fit training for a 100-mile race into your life?

I’m an institutional investment consultant with Capital Cities LLC, which means I work with various institutions and advise them on their investment portfolios. With a global investment landscape that is constantly changing, every day brings a new challenge, and like cycling, you can never get complacent if you want to be on top of your game.

I’ve been doing some additional studying and certifications for work lately, which has made it harder to get as much time on the bike as I would like. I’m happiest when I’m on my bike, so training has become an exercise in making the time and going for it whenever a free minute presents itself.

The thing is I could get 10 miles in and blow up a hub, but I still will have done my part in sponsoring 8 people dealing with a cancer diagnosis through First Descents programs. So, I’m not going to stress out too much about it, because that’s what it’s all about.

How’s the training going?

Being a former athlete, I am both cognizant of how far I am from my optimal fitness level, but take comfort in being acutely aware of how hard I can push myself to get back to that level. This year will be a bit of an experiment as I am working on a condensed training period.

That said, last year I did all of my training indoors on my trainer during the week, and on the weekends went out for longer rides, but I felt like it was important to switch it up this year – I’m trying to get a lot of miles on singletrack and shoot for 40 miles on the weekends, with a couple of 80-milers thrown in there.

Because of work, I wasn’t able to train for the last two months, so I’m starting a little behind the eight ball…so I’m just pretty much going to ride a lot up until the race and try not to eat as much (it has got to be easier to carry 240 up a hill than 260).

I think it’s going to be a nutrition game for me this year, fingers crossed!

What does your nutrition plan look like?

I didn’t get the buckle the first year, and that was because of nutritional mishaps. At one point, I went three hours without eating or drinking, so that’s what did me in.  Since then, I’ve put a lot of effort into really pinpointing what I needed.

This year, as I did last year, I will be using a total nutrition supplement from Infinit Nutrition. Brent Goldstein, who’s also a board member for First Descents, put me onto it – they allow you to customize your blend, based on what your perception is of what you need, along with providing free consultations to help athletes design their optimal mix.  

I supplement their Go Far Endurance Fuel with extra calories and electrolytes and will have a bottle or two of their Speed High-Intensity formula, which helps whenever I’m starting to bonk a little bit and need a little extra sugar. And then I would say I probably will use a Clif Shot Bloc or its equivalent once or twice throughout the race when I’m just feeling a lag.

What’s the best advice you have for riders in the LT100 MTB?

I think it’s just making sure you don’t repeat past mistakes. What I would tell people about coming back that next time is to learn from whatever caused you not to get it that first time, whether it was your nutrition or your training or your state of mind, and then let’s address that and not come back with the same plan and hope for a different result.

For first-timers, there are so many ways you can go about this, so take the cookie cutter plans out there and mold them to your own needs. No plan is perfect for every person, and so listen to your body and change things that aren’t working.

What motivates you to keep going when the riding gets tough?

For me, it’s really about providing the next person with the same opportunity to participate in a First Descents program that Nate had, to help them get out there after a cancer diagnosis and find what they need to live their best life going forward.

Frankly, I really like the tough parts of the race because it pushes me in a healthy way. As much as it sucks going up Powerline, I’ve never experienced anything as tough as a cancer diagnosis or a fight for my life, so when things get tough, I have that perspective to help me to remember that it’s only a few more miles on this beautiful course in this amazing place, and so i need to quit whining and enjoy it, because a lot can happen before I have another shot at a buckle!

Kyle Wagner worked at The Denver Post from 2002-2014 after nine years as restaurant critic for Westword. Kyle is an avid mountain biker and outdoors woman.  She has ridden the Leadville 100 MTB twice, both times during or following her own breast cancer treatments. Over the next six weeks, she will be following our Leadville runners and riders to bring you the inside scoop on how Team FD is getting #OutLivingIt like never before!  Keep up with the stories by checking back weekly on our Out Living It Blog.

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