One of the most challenging mountain bike races on the planet took place this past weekend in Colorado, where the Leadville 100 MTB tested riders from around the globe. The event, which is now in its 19th year, features a 100 mile long (160km ), out-and-back, course that includes more than 14,000 feet (4267 meters) of climbing at altitude.
The winner of this year’s race was Austrian Alban Lakata who finished with a time of 6 hours, 32 minutes and 24 seconds. That put him two minutes ahead of second place finisher Christoph Sauser of Switzerland. The two men battled back and fourth much of the race, with Lakata taking it in the home stretch. American Jeremiah Bishop finished third approximately nine and a half minutes off the pace.
On the woman’s side of leaderboard it was a familiar name taking top honors. Rebecca Rusch, the Queen of Pain herself, won the race for a fourth time. She also set a new course record, finishing in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 6 seconds. U.K. rider Sally Bigham (7:34:33) took second with Pua Mata (7:38:03) claiming third.
The course, which begins in downtown Leadville at an altitude of 10,200 feet (3109 meters), climbs as high as 12,424 feet (3787 meters) over the length of the ride. Apparently there was some confusion this year over the correct route to follow which cost several riders, including Bigham and Mata, extra minutes. Flags that typically denote which direction to go were placed in odd locations that caused some of the competitors to ride in the wrong direction. Hopefully that won’t be an issue next year.
Congrats to not only to those that stood on the podium but everyone who rode in the race. Leadville is a tough event to say the least and simply completing it is quite an accomplishment.
Next up, the Leadville 100 Trail Run this coming weekend.