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I’m still fascinated by the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. The race has the same feel as a premier ironman event complete with the season long training, the predawn start, hundreds of racers and the high profile riders.  But for all the hype this race is still a race for everyman/woman who apply for limited lottery slots due to the many applicants.  The hundreds who ride are out to test themselves in a way most of us wouldn’t.  And what a test it it.  The idea of a 100 mile mtb race is challenging enough for most riders.  Adding in 15,000 feet of climbing while crossing part of the Rockies is just a little more than special sauce.  It is hard enough to catch your breath on a steep, prolonged climb.  It is quite another to try and suck sparse oxygen out of the air at 12,000+ feet.  Those who have simply hiked at that altitude can attest to the challenge. I am thoroughly impressed with the field of riders who took this challenge.

I’ve been spending most of the morning hunting videos to get a flavor of the race course, the racers and the overall event. This post is an assemblage of videos posted mostly on YouTube cataloging the 2008 Leadville 100 mountain bike race. I’m hoping to save you some time sorting through videos of the race.  If you see others of interest through out a comment and I’ll add them in.

If you only have time for one video the first video is a best bet.  It is an overview from a guy who took clips from all over the course and spiced them together with headings and transitions.  The next series of videos are in sequential order as best as I could discern. The video’s were taken by spectators which introduces a feeling of authenticity that professionally prepared video just can’t match. Of course you get some extras both good and bad with the amateur stuff.  The 2nd to last video is a short piece done by Lance himself maybe for Livestrong Foundation the day after the race. I conclude with a link to an excellent article by Steve Frothingham which contains some great photos and a nicely done professional video. For a laugh I’ve also included a mashup video of Lance crushing the Alpe D’ Huez in 2001 to a Cake song.

On with the show:

Start to finish overview with some decent editing and views from several sections on the course

Prerace Meeting Clip

Race Start Clip 1

Race Start Clip 2

Ride up Columbine (interesting trailer park dog situation)

Dave and Lance hiking up a steep section

Dave just before the finish

Dave finishing the race

Lance finishing the race

Post race video from Lance

Velonews article with nice wrap-up video plus post race interviews with Dave and Lance

2001 Lance on Alpe D’ Huez (Cake – Going the Distance)


Dave Wiens crossed the finish on a flat back tire to win the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race today.  The

Leadville 100 MTB - Under 12 Hour Buckle

Leadville 100 MTB - Under 12 Hour Buckle

race is considered to be the toughest, single-day mountain bike race in the country covering 100 miles with 15,000 ft vertical of climbing.

Lance and Dave rode with a steadily shrinking group of riders up until the Columbine. They shook off the last ten on the accent, riding together for the next 45 miles. Dave was got a gap at St. Kevin’s with Lance catching back up on the decent. Dave then slowly walked away, Lance unable to match. Apparently Dave waited up for Lance to make it a contest at the finish but Lance waved him off. Dave continued to make time all the way to the line finishing in 6:45:45. Lance dragged in two minutes later cut up from falling.

Congrats to Dave for showing us how to put it down. Thanks to Lance for raising the bar and elevating the race. Congrats to all who rode in this amazingly tough race.

Star Tribune Article with some nice quotes.

Santa Cruz Sentinel Article


1 Dave Wiens 6:45:45
2 Lance Armstrong 6:47:41
3 Manuel Prado 7:20:52
4 Ethan Passant 7:27:54
5 Jonathan Scholnick 7:30:16
6 Max Taam M2 7:32:26
7 Nate Whitman 7:39:14
8 Jim Lehman 7:39:35
9 Kevin Andrews 7:42:18
10 Kimo Seymour 7:43:31
11 Jake Rubelt 7:44:31
12 Chuck Gibson 7:44:31
13 Dax Massey 7:45:54
14 Garth Prosser 7:48:52
15 Jim Silverman 7:49:21
16 Ted MacBlane 7:49:37
17 Joel Mischke 7:51:27
18 Kent McNeill 7:56:17
19 Keith Collins 7:56:18
20 Bill MacFarlane 7:57:02
21 Yuki Saito 7:58:10
22 Paul Gorbold 7:59:03
23 Jeff Wardell 7:59:51
24 Ryan Hamilton 8:00:31


Here are a few articles about the Leadville 100 race on August 9th.  Interesting that two time Ironman world

Ironman World Champion Tim DeBoom

Ironman World Champion Tim DeBoom

champion Tim DeBoom is doing the Ultra Marathon Leadville Trail 100 the week after on August 16th.  You can read where he says that Leadville is harder for him than any Ironman race he has done. Apparently he lives near the course and can’t pass it up.  Tim finished 4th at Hawaii last year overcoming a string of performances that fell short of his expectations.  Glad to see him in the mix.  The other two articles have a few Lance tidbits that folks might be interested in.

Tim DeBoom, Daily Camera

Lance Leadville Preview, Bike Radar

Lance Article, The Mountain Mail

Leadville 100 MTB Start List


With the Olympics just around the corner I’ve been doing some homework on the various cycling events and participants. One of the first events on the Olympic schedule is the men’s and women’s road race. The men’s road race is scheduled for Aug 9th followed by the women’s race on the 10th. I’ve worked up a brief profile of the course for you.

The course is one of the most challenging courses of the modern Olympics. The men’s race is just over 150 miles long with over 11,500 vertical feet of climbing. The woman’s race is 77 miles with over 4,100 vertical feet of climbing.  The race starts near the Forbidden City, heading northwest through Beijing and various points of interest, toward the Great wall near the Badaling. The course is relatively flat for the first 80km. It then rises 230m over the next 10km as the course approaches the circuit at 90km.  The circuit is a 24km loop which is ridden seven times by the men and two times by the women. The circuit is basically up one side of a mountain and down the other with no real flat sections.

2008 Olympic Road Race Elevatin Profile

2008 Olympic Road Race Elevation Profile

The circuit initially rises nearly 1,700 feet over 6.2 miles for an average grade of 5.2%. The circuit accent is followed by a short roller then an 8.2 mile descent to the valley bottom. The decent supposedly heads straight into the prevailing wind in that area, providing little relief to the riders. The finish follows the last circuit decent and appears to have a slight rise to the line. The weather is expected to be hot and humid with pollution being the wild card. The course looks to favor the climber over the sprinter. Position over the last circuit ridge will be critical to have a shot at a medal. The descent to the finish will be brutal.  Only the most courageous will be in a position to contest.

This is a course that could offer an advantage to a team which works together by protecting the strongest rider. The question is will a country’s contingent compete as a group or as individuals? There are a mere three medals to award for this event. Of course that means teamwork will be rewarded with a medal for some and a badge of national pride for others. It seems a little unfair to the supporting riders who effectively will be sacrificing their chance at an Olympic medal.

From news reports, it looks as though Spain has teamwork strategy in mind. The Spanish team has qualified for five seats in the road race including Carlos Sastre, Alberto Contador, Oscar Freire, Alejandro Valverde, and Samuel Sanchez. This is a Who’s Who of professional cycling. These guys are not domestiques and don’t generally perform the supporting role. Any of them has a potential to win or place in the race. How will they decide who leader will be? According to Contador, the “team” will decide during the race who will contest. Leaving one to imagine how this dialog will go down during the event. Somebody is going to be truly disappointed.

Why not introduce a team road event? There is some precedent for it. Team cycling events have been held since the start of the modern Olympics in various forms. From 1912 to 1956 there was a men’s team road race event. Then from 1960 to 1992 there was a 100km team time trial which was subsequently replaced by the individual time trial in 1992. In fact, the US won a bronze medal in the ’84 Olympic TTT with none other than Davis Phinney participating on the team. On a tangent, Connie Carpenter-Phinney won gold in the first women’s road race in 1984. The son of Connie and Davis, Taylor Phinney, is competing in several track events this year in Beijing. Be sure to check him out on the track. I have yet to find out why the team road events were ended though some accounts point to doping or race fixing. It only seems right to acknowledge a team’s contribution in the road race. My vote is for a team medal.

Links of Interest:

Other Velonoise:

Lance Sighting – Posted on Aug 4th 2008.

Here is a peak at one of the bikes Lance is considering for the Leadville 100 this weekend. It is the 23lb, 26” Trek

Lance's Trek

Lance's Trek

Top Fuel 9.8 full suspension bike. He is also considering a Gary Fisher Superfly 29-inch hardtail which might be a better fit for the course considering the trail is supposed to be in relatively good condition baring a few short rutted sections. Included in the post is a blurb about his training

Cadel Update – Posted on Aug 4th 2008.

Here is a short post about Cadel being fit to compete at the Olympics next week. He is qualified and able to compete in the road race and the time trial. Here is an article which sketches out the whole knee injury situation:

Here is another interesting article about his wife’s position on the media attention he has been receiving lately:


2007 Leadville Trail 100 Mtb Start

2007 Leadville Trail 100 Mtb Start

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB race is one of a number of ultra distance mountain bike races. This race has gotten notoriety outside mtb circles when Floyd Landis rode it in 2007. This was Landis’s second race following his 2006 Tour win/strip and hip surgery. Lance had originally signed up for this race but had to pull out due to scheduling issues.

The out and back race starts in Leadville, Colorado following a mostly north/south route. Racer initially head west and north up and around Turquoise Lake, then south to a turnaround at Columbine Mine. The race returns on the same path until just west of Leadville where the return loop dips further south before coming into town.

The significant climbs include:

Mile 7, St. Kevin’s – 2.2 miles, 800ft, 6.9% Grade
Mile 14, Powerline – 4.8 miles 1,200ft, 4.7% Grade
Mile 40, Columbine mine – 11 miles 3,300ft, 5.7% Grade ave.
The later 8.5 miles runs 7.1% Grade
Mile 80, Powerline – 2.7 miles, 1,550ft, 10.9% Grade
Mile 86, St, Kevin’s – 2.7 miles, 900ft, 6.3% Grade

2008 Leadville 100 Mtb Elevation Profile

2008 Leadville 100 Mtb Elevation Profile

This year the race gets continued attention in that Lance Armstrong has signed up once more. The

2008 Miles of DisComfort MTB Race - Lance Armstrong

2008 Miles of DisComfort MTB Race - Lance Armstrong

race is scheduled for August 9th so I think at this point there is a good chance Lance will show. As we all know Lance is no slouch. He has raced mtb, including at this years Miles of DisComfort 52 miler in Comfort, TX this January. Lance ended up DNF at mile 41 as a result of leg cramps. From what I’ve read, he lost his water bottles and may have dehydrated some. I don’t figure this will be a problem at Leadville. As with anything Lance attempts, he will come prepared.

He has run several marathons in his post Tour days finishing sub three hours in each.  Lance ran the Boston Marathon this April in just under 2:51. That is quite an impressive time considering he was training informally. I expect he will give the field a run for their money.

Will he be able to challenge 5 time winner Dave Weins though? Tune in next week.


Race Information:

Leadville Trail 100 Official Site
Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race
Wiki of Leadville Trail 100 MTB
Google Earth Race Map

2008 Race Articles:

Denver Post
Summit Daily News

2007 Race Reports:

Bicycling Magazine
Trust But Verify
Cycling News

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