This episode of Ben & Bikes is coming to you from Leadville, Colorado. At 10,152 ft above sea level (a hair over 3,000 M for those smart ones out there that choose to use a base 10 measuring system) Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the United States. A former gold & silver mining town that lies near the headwaters of the Arkansas River in the heart of the Rocky Mountains and sitting close to the base of the 2 highest mountains above 14,000ft in Colorado, Mounts Elbert and Massive.
What a great place for a 100 mile mountain bike race!
The Leadville Trail 100 MTB was first run in 1994 and has become one of the best marketed, attended and known marathon events in mountain bike racing.
The Leadville 100 race is legendary, mentioned in the same breath as the Iditarod, the Transalpine and La Ruta. In 2017 nearly 1,484 started, about 70% of those managed to finish in less than 12 hours
This year the Leadville 100 marks its 25th anniversary.
The race is run on a 50-mile (80 km) out and back course, starting and finishing in downtown Leadville. Major climbs include an over 3,000 feet ascent from miles 40-50 to the Columbine mine, Power Line at mile 80, and St Kevins at mile 86.
Do it in less than 12 hours and you’ll get a small silver belt buckle, do it in less than 9, and you’ll get a monstrous one. Both will enable you to stand tall with your mates in the bar and to show your Grandchildren before you take them off on their first mountain bike ride.
As is standard for these types of races, there is an ever burning energy source behind an event of this magnitude and that’s certainly true for this race and that energy source is provided by Ken Chlouber and Merilee Maupin, the founders of the Leadville 100 and the leaders behind the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation.