The FIRST Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race.
With only about 340 racers the first year, we had room to take any line we wanted or needed.
Once upon a time ... my good friend Lorraine Forcina called me up and told me about this cool 100 mile mountain bike race. The only other race we knew of, like this one was up in Oregon. Of course we would go to Leadville. We never knew then, that this race would become the race of all races to define ultra distance mountain bike racing.
It was the most amazing race I had ever done. It defined my career and moved me on to all sorts of ultra distance mountain bike events and races. Moving my goals higher and higher to set records on the sister 100 mile races, The Vail 100 and The Beaver Creek 100. From there my goals moved on to The Cape Epic Stage race and 24 hour racing with podium finishes around the world. Yes, the throw back days of The Leadille Trail 100 were the days I remember as the start of a fantastic mountain bike career. Thank you Ken, you changed my life in so many ways and I am so proud to have been a part of the early days. You are my kind of people!
A little Ken history as told on Wikipedia:
'Race co-founder Kenneth Chlouber, an avid marathon runner, conceived of the race as a way to make Leadville famous and bring visitors during a period of economic downturn. When he told the local hospital administrator about his idea he was told, "You're crazy! You'll kill someone!" Chlouber responded, "Well, then we
be famous, won't we?" '
Back in those days I was coaching and racing as an Elitie and soon to be professional mountain bike racer. The Leadville Trail 100 taught me a lot and it helped me coach many great athletes to bigger and badder goals and races. Including myself.
As I would still coach someone today, being on the course as much as possible is key-knowing your course and planning. All summer long I/we went up and trained on the course. First doing sections of 25 and 35 miles at a time. Then about 4-6 weeks out we would do half of the course. Then, I would stay at altitude a lot for the last 3 weeks. I live and sleep at 7,000 feet but I have asthma and the Leadville course is/was very hard for me. I needed to train like I was going to climb a mountain. I was climbing a mountain! So that's how I trained.
A lot has changed and the promoters and qualifiers are different too. But, the race is still the best in the world and the toughest for many. It takes dedication, determination and a good attitude (at altitude) to get through it.
If you're racing in it this coming Saturday, good luck. You've done your homework and now it's the week to rest, do some intervals (short and sweet). Get yourself mentally prepared. Mental preparedness
is at least 50% of the battle. Good luck out there and remember Ken's famous words. "You're better then you think you are, you can do more than you think you can". Ken those words are coming in pretty handy these days. Thank you!