We got the awesome news last week that we were selected though the Lottery program for the Leadville 100 Trail Mountain Bike Race! This is a huge deal, and to get in on the first attempt must have taken some intervening from the race gods.
We applied to this race as a team of four, Adam, myself and our friends Kristen and Toby. The best thing is that we race individually but by applying as a team, once one of us got pulled in the lottery, we all were guaranteed a spot.
One of our few outdoor training rides this winter
This race takes place in the Colorado Rockies which is at a higher altitude than a person living at sea level is likely to be comfortable. This race has been named as one of the 12 hardest races in the world. It starts and finishes in North America’s highest city, Leadville, Colorado. The race starts at 10,152 feet and climbs to 12,424 at its maximum elevation. However, the actual elevation gain over the 100 + miles is about 11,400 feet.
For those of you who don’t ride mountain bikes, hopefully it’s clear that this is a lot of time riding uphill! In addition to this, the course is 104 miles long.
My goal will be to complete the course in under 12 hours. There are two race belt buckles that participants are trying to win. The first is the silver belt buckle that is awarded to riders who can complete the course in under 12 hours. The second is the gold belt buckle for riders completing in under 9 hours (beyond my abilities this year). Hopefully I’ll be rocking some sparkle on my belt come August.
Adam and I training on our bikes, inside, away from several feet of snow.
This race became much more well known in 2008 and then 2009 when Lance Armstrong competed. He was second overall in 2008 and came back to win it and set a course record in 2009. There are likely to be over 2000 people racing this event and unsurprisingly most of them are men.
In Syracuse, its obviously winter. Unbeknownst to me when I moved here, Syracuse is the snowiest city in the US. So it’s tough to get outside and ride. That means we train on our bikes inside, on trainers. This allows us to put in long hours, build a strong fitness base, and get ready for the spring when we can ride on trails.
A photo of one of the most challenging descents on the Leadville course.
One of the measures of bike fitness is FTP or functional power threshold.This is basically is how much power (measured by sensors on your pedals) you can maintain for an hour on the bike. As you get stronger and fitter, you’ll be able to create more power (mostly from your legs) for an hour. Stronger legs and fitter body means you generate more power which in turn means you’ll go faster. I tell you this because its how we measure our progress. Is my FTP increasing?? The answer is YES. In the last few months my FTP has risen from 150 watts to 181 watts, that’s an exciting jump and great progress. In another post I’ll explain to you how we’re doing that and what we’re aiming for.
I’m so looking forward to the race, and the process. Here’s to getting better and stronger!