While one group of tough athletes will be beginning their race on Friday in the Badlands, an entirely different kind of race will be taking place on Saturday in Leadville, Colorado, home of the Leadville Trail 100, one of the toughest mountain bike races around.
The race is 50 miles, out and back, with a seven mile climb to the turn around point, which just so happens to fall at 12,600 feet. 90% of the trail is on dirt, and the race actually begins at 10,200 feet, so altitude obviously plays an issue. In contrast, the highest point in the 2009 Tour de France was a mere 8113 feet. All told, the riders face more than 14,000 feet of elevation gain across the entire length of the ride, which has a 12 hour cut-off.
You may recall that the Leadville got quite a bit of attention last year because Lance Armstrong decided to race in it. He ended up taking second place, getting dropped by six time champ Dave Wiens in the final miles. Shortly there after, Lance announced his return to competitive cycling, and we all know what has happened since then. He’s gone on to ride in a number of big events across the globe, and took third in the Tour de France just last month. I think it is safe to say, that Lance will be in much better condition for his showdown with Dave this year, and you know that it has been a thorn in his side since he lost to Wiens last year.
In preparation for this epic rematch, the Leadville crew has set up a live video feed that you can pay $5.95 to watch. The race gets underway at 5:45 AM Mountain Time on Saturday, so get up early and spend your morning in front of the computer, watching Lance and Dave go at each other once again. I’ll be focused on that other race that day, but I won’t be able to help myself from checking in from time to time. Should be fun!
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