The Leadville 100 is a bike race held for the last 15 yrs in Leadville, CO starting at 10,200 ft and climbing to 12,600 ft with lots of climbing in between..... I did it in 2006 and came in 32 place with a time of 8:32. This year I wanted to try and break the 8 hr mark. I just missed it coming in 8:06 in 32nd place again. Thanks to my family for taking so much time to go to Leadville and Crew and Anne for letting me ride my bike!
OK, not to turn you away from my site but here is a really good video of Dave Wiens and Lance Armstrong (yes Lance was there) that you can get a good idea of the terrain. They show mainly the roads as this is where they could drive to but also some other nice sections.
It was a dark and stormy night....... OK it was dark and stormy the whole week before the race, Aug 9, 2008. I had visions of riding 100 miles in the rain at 12000 ft. So as I packed for the race at my home in Gunnison, CO, just over the hill from Leadville I threw in every bit of warm cycle gear I had.... Grandma Sue and Grandpa Bill came over from Mancos to help watch the kids and help crew. The crew consisted of Anne and Bill driving to the aid stations along the way with food and water and other things I would hopefully not need like warm clothes, spare tubes, and tools. Here is a picture of Grandma with the kids before we left. The Leadville race is great for the
leadville economy as you have to check-in early Friday then have a prerace meeting. The race is then Saturday at 6:30 am with the awards ceremony Sunday morning. So you're spending several days there. I went over early with Grandpa to check in and Anne, Grandma and the kids came over a little later.
Leaville on Friday was pretty nice. Cool with a little rain here and there. I got all checked in and went and had some coffee. We ran into Dave W and Susan with the kids. Dave looked ready to go and was all smiles. Here I am sitting out having a coffee and snack.
The prerace meeting for the racers and crews was at 11:00. We got there early and got a seat in the small gym near the start of the race. It was really hot and crowded in there! Here are some pics of us. Lance showed up and said a few words with Dave.
Here we are at the meeting..
After the meeting, I went over to where I was staying-at Anne's Aunt Barb's second or so cousin(thanks Carol and Stan!). And everyone else went to The Inn of the Black Wolf in Twin Lakes. This way Grandma could get the kids when Anne left early to come to the start of the race. I dropped all of my stuff off and went on a short ride up the first climb of the race. Then put all the numbers on my bike and made sure everything was OK mechanically. Oh for the record, I rode my old Specialized M4 hardtail. I had Hutchison python on the front and Kenda small block eight on the back. Both with about 35-40 psi. My chain was lubed with ATB lube. My bike came in pretty light at about 23.2lb but no comfy rear shock like many of the racers.
Then next morning I got up at 5:00. My blood sugar was a bit high so I took a little extra insulin, threw on a coat and rode up to the start. I put my bike in the area where people who thought they could finish in under 9 hours got to start. The first 100 finishers from last yr doing the race and Lance got to start up front. But at 6:30 in the morning people evidently think they can go faster than they can.... I just rode with shorts and a jersey. It wasn't super cold--46 F and overcast. Lots of people started with leg warmers and jackets... I forgot my blood sugar test kit in my bag that Anne was going to pick up at the house so I didn't check my blood sugar at the start. I ended up not checking my sugar the entire race actually as I felt really good (most of the way) Here are some pics before the race and the start. The first one is our twelve year anniversary picture.
And the Start!
And here's Dave in front with Lance just behind. The start was fast and scary. We had an escort out of town and people kept trying to jockey for position. There were several near crashes. So we made it out of town and started the first climb. Of course, all of the people that thought they could do it under 9 hrs, but couldn't, somehow got in front of me. So going up the first climb (as at the race in 2006) was frustrating as people were going soooo slow and couldn't even ride parts of the road. I finally got around most of them by the top and off we went. I felt pretty good over the first two climbs and flew past the first aid station at Pipeline1. I got some good pace lines and came into the Twin Lakes aid in about 2:34. Just off the 8 hr pace.
Here is a picture of the mountains we went in front of.
The juggling act! Susan (Dave W's wife) is at the left in gold. We learned how the pros crew from her!
I drank one bottle of water and one bottle of Gatorade endurance between each stop.... So off we went up the hill to Columbine mine. A 3ooo ft climb up to 12,600 ft. I wasn't too far off the lead pack. The climb went well and I saw lots of Gunnison folk on the way cheering Dave on. Here is a picture Jesse Crandall took part way up.
Here are a couple of pictures that Brian Riepe of the mountain flyer sent my way of me coming down from the top. Just a note. I finally looked at the times of everyone and I was the 11th fastest climing to the mine....
Dave and Lance came screaming by while I was a mile or so from the top. The rest of the lead pack came later. I went up pretty well and at the top in just over 4 hrs total. Close to the 8 hr mark. I turned around and went blasting back down. The road was smooth with the top rocky and steeper. I got back to the Twin Lakes aid quickly and my crew got me all my stuff and off I went. I was able to ride with 4-5 five other riders in a pretty fast pace line for quite a while back to the last aid at powerline 2. I dropped them on the hills but they caught me after the powerline climb as I bonked a bit. Ouch! Anne and Bill got me going and off we went. I was in the low 20th place here. Here I am coming into the last aid station.
I rode pretty well to the last big painful climb up an old powerline road. I was getting low blood sugar as I climbed but didn't realize it until I started coming back down. I should have as a few guys that I beat up the hills earlier gained on me on the climb. When I started to come down, I started to feel the affects of having little sugar in my blood and riding 80 miles... Suddenly I began to see speckles and it felt as if my tires were flat and mushy like big balloons and my handle bar was not really attached to my bike and then it started to rain really hard. I stopped put on my vest and ate a couple of Gu packets. Then I continued on the descent slowly--not very happily as a few guys passed me. So it took me a few minutes to regroup but rode with a guy from Leadville the rest of the way as we decided making it in under 8 hrs wasn't going to happen now. The guys that just passed me came in just around 8 hrs. We rode to the end and he said I could go first but I let him so I got 32nd place instead of 31st.... REALLY!
Here I am getting a hug from one of my biggest fans, Lila. She thinks I win all the races I do...
After the race I was congratulated by many of the Gunnison folks that came over to watch. I talked to Dave for a while. Here is a guy that just won and beat up on Lance Armstrong and he's going on and on about how well I did. His wife Susan is the same. Really a great guy and a huge Bronco Fan to boot.
Here is Dave admiring my old bike... I may have him talked into giving me his very light full suspension bike...
And the lot of us!
Lance accepting his award.
And me with my medals.