Saturday, August 15th 2015 at 6:30am a gunshot blast into the gloaming Colorado sky marking the start of my first Leadville Trail 100 race, along with 1648 other riders who had lined up to suffer for up to 12 hours on their mountain bikes. 339 would not complete their adventure that day and very sadly one of them, Scott Ellis of Johnstown, Colorado died on the course. I was not surprised to learn the timing and location of the incident later the next day following the awards ceremony. My sincere condolences go out to Scott’s family and friends.
What follows is the detailed account of my experience leading up to, during and following the race. The story is for those who know me, are interested in learning about the race, those who may be considering their first entry into this torturous event and generally anyone with a fair amount of time on their hands. For anyone else I also have a photo gallery at the end of this post and the following video:
Continue reading Leadville Trail 100 MTB
As a first time participant in the Leadville 100 MTB I’ve been looking for every advantage I can to make sure I have the most successful performance I can. After locking up my charity slot in December I quickly decided to commit to the Camp of Champions where participants ride the entire course (and more) over 2 days with race experienced guides that include former and multi-winners Dave Wiens and Rebecca Rusch.
Continue reading Leadville Camp of Champs
More wisdom from Mr. Wiens in a post preceding the 2012 Leadville 100 MTB race that is still very relevant. Just happened to stumble across that post as I was on the ergon-bike.com website researching some new grips.
At T-9 weeks and 5 days I’m starting to think through some of these planning details, especially some of the gear I’ll want since I’m going to the Camp of Champions in July and will want to have the right gear on hand for that. And the family, aka my crew, has started asking where they should setup (Twin Lakes or Pipeline basically), what they’ll need, etc. Twin lakes seems like the obvious choice by the way as on all longer my prep rides this year I’ve ended up stopping to refill/refuel/eat etc at 40 miles.
Here’s an interesting planning tidbit from Dave: Continue reading Leadville Plan of Attack
Further clarification and some Leadville training guidance that I think makes a lot of sense in this article posted recently on the Leadville Race Series website by Dave Wiens but there’s no better way to put it than that, thank you IMBA!
Personally, I had set in my mind back in January that in addition to a 30+ mile ride per week I’d do one long training ride per month to test my endurance, get familiar riding on my mountain bike for 8+ hours and most important for me being new to this is dialing in the nutrition for such an effort. Let’s be honest here, this is also because I simply love to ride my bike! I couldn’t agree more with what Dave wrote in that piece:
There’s nothing like the experience of laying down a long, epic training ride – planning it, doing it and basking in the glow afterwards
In fact this is the spirit of the “Day Trippin” tag I use on this site! Since all things are relative, here’s a quick summary of my long training rides each month: Continue reading Long live long rides!
Last Monday (5/18) I had my first session for a bike fit service, another recommendation from Dave Wiens. This article includes his commentary about bike fit as well as bike choice. If you are at the point of purchasing a bike or just considering whether your current bike is up to the task it’s a good read.
Following the initial saddle change the goal of this session was two fold: get the saddle positioned correctly and measure my feet for new shoes. Continue reading Bike fit
Words from the man behind Leadville, Ken Chlouber the self-described “pretty damn good miner and a fair cowboy” with a simple idea to save his town which has since turned into much more than that.
This video is from last year before the 20th running of the Leadville 100 MTB race in 2014 and carries both part of the story and some inspiration.
I’m hoping to meet Ken at either camp this summer or the race. If I do I’ll share that experience here.
Breathe deep and dig deep.
Before I get into the why, for those who don’t know, I’ll briefly describe Leadville. Leadville, Colorado is the highest incorporated city in the United States. The primary industry was mining until the early 1980’s when the last operating mine was shut down. Sometime after that a former miner, named Ken Chlouber, decided to establish the Leadville 100 Trail Run ultra marathon race to attract people to the area to spur the local economy.
Following that success a mountain biking race was added in 1994. Since that time this race has come represent the ultimate endurance mountain biking event. Some of cycling’s greatest (or most infamous) champions have participated including Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer, and Floyd Landis. Two of them beaten by then-perennial winner Dave Wiens. Each year they, along with about 1,500 other riders, take to the 10,200 feet of elevation in Colorado to ride over 100 miles (mostly) on dirt. Continue reading Why Leadville?