Results 1 to 31 of 31
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,725

    Leadville's Future

    I hope Leadville becomes the ultimate crossover race. Since it seems that road and mountain racers are about equally matched, it can be the race where TdF riders, World Cup XC racers and Marathon guys can all slug it out. Then, opinionated people of all stripes can slug it out on dozens of internet forums for weeks. Meanwhile, the people who missed their 9 hour or 12 hour cutoffs can still give excuses and complain about the people in front of them slowing them down on St. Kevins.

    This is good stuff.

    Since Ken Chlouber has sold the race to Lifetime Fitness, the "Wink Wink" of the lottery can be brought above the table. They can still have the lottery, but make invitations to the top pro or "celebrity" cyclists who might want to ride.

    With all that said, having done the race numerous times, I think it is time for a few basic changes:


    1) The start is now officially stupid. There were people laying down bikes at 4:00AM. It is a great idea to have the corral for the top 100, but behind that, they should just randomly assign numbers and make you start where you are assigned.

    2) They need to abandon the old gym and put a giant circus tent down the hill from the start to have the pre and post race meetings. Yes, the gym has history, but it also can't even hold the riders anymore, let alone the crews. Then, make the awards ceremony more predictable. Maybe with 1000 finishers we can't have every name called anymore. Give out the Ore Carts and the gold pans, have everyone give a group hug and move on.

    3) Make the rules more clear as to external assistance for mechanicals, etc. The rules are kind of NORBA/USAC, but bent in a few places. Screw that. Either you can take mechanical assistance from the roadside or another rider, or you can't. Either you can take a hand up from anywhere on the course, or you must be in a feed zone. Can someone hand you a tool? Can you swap wheels? Can someone give you a tube? Who the hell knows? The UCI and NORBA rules are silly. Make it a self supported race, with NO outside assistance (old NORBA rules), or allow someone other than the rider to work on the bike, or whatever. Just make it something, and make it clear. There were people getting screamed at in the aid stations for riders having someone hand them chain lube. OK....someone can accept food from the aid station, but chain lube is a no-no. Got it. What about that UCI wheel swap rule about it having to a "Team Member". Hmm. Maybe a neutral support pit is in order for those who don't have a "Team?" Just thoughts.


    Minor stuff, really. All in all, the race has kick-ass organization, and amazing support at the aid stations. You couldn't roll to a stop at an aid station without multiple people asking what you needed, grabbing stuff for you, and handing it to you. Amazing. The course itself was swarming with volunteers and police directing traffic and cheering on the riders at the same time. The atmosphere and support are what makes the race so special, and are among the big things that separate Leadville from all the other 100 mile races out there. I was within 1/2 hour of the cutoff, and there were still hundreds of people cheering at the Powerline and at the finish. I highly recommend that everyone do the race once to see what it is all about.

  2. #2
    Towlie for prez
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    666
    They need to do a staggered start to keep the crowding/accidents down.It is dangerous having that many people out on the course the 1st few miles.The race used to start at 6am many yrs ago.Start the pro's/fast guys(gals) at 6,and the rest at 6:30.Easy to do,and it will make things much safer.I got there at 4:45 to put my down,and it was insanity-I swear people must have camped out with their bikes.It will be interesting to see what changes LF makes for next yr.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    40
    I raced for the Lifetime Team this year and I can tell you that the CEO is extremely passionate about this event and appreciates its history. I honestly believe it's in great hands.

    I don't know what changes are in store, but I do know that they're going to have a much better venue set up to handle the pre race meeting. This was my first time at the race and I didn't get into the hall to hear Ken. I think Ken, Merilee and the rest of the staff did an outstanding job, but I was a little upset when I saw crew coming out of the hall when hundreds of racers were standing outside, unable to attend the meeting.

  4. #4
    It ain't easy being Green
    Reputation: sdcadbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,146
    Hey Scalp,

    How is Troy doing? He was in the next hospital bed to me on Saturday, we talked some and I know that he was in much worse shape than I was. Hope he made it back to Tucson OK...

    Give him my regards, will you?

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    1,725
    Quote Originally Posted by shoulderfu
    They need to do a staggered start to keep the crowding/accidents down.It is dangerous having that many people out on the course the 1st few miles.The race used to start at 6am many yrs ago.Start the pro's/fast guys(gals) at 6,and the rest at 6:30.Easy to do,and it will make things much safer.I got there at 4:45 to put my down,and it was insanity-I swear people must have camped out with their bikes.It will be interesting to see what changes LF makes for next yr.

    I don't like the idea of a staggered start for several reasons, the most important of which is that it removes the "everyman" aura from the race. I personally think the dangerous parts of the course are people making stupid passes on Powerline and the Columbine descent. Neither would be fixed by a staggered start, and I really don't think anything can be done about them.

    Giving some order to the start would be a good thing though. Set up a grid, line people up by number, and close off the intersection so you don't have the big bubble there.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    139
    How about some qualifications for a portion of the entries. Something like 70% of the citizen/sport class entries have some timed and verifiable previous results to be allowed in that lottery group.

    Lots of high demand events do this and there are plenty of verifiable bike races out there.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by shoulderfu
    They need to do a staggered start to keep the crowding/accidents down.It is dangerous having that many people out on the course the 1st few miles.The race used to start at 6am many yrs ago.Start the pro's/fast guys(gals) at 6,and the rest at 6:30.Easy to do,and it will make things much safer.I got there at 4:45 to put my down,and it was insanity-I swear people must have camped out with their bikes.It will be interesting to see what changes LF makes for next yr.
    I think a staggered start would be better but the real problem is the downhill start were everyone is fast and swarm to the front. How about grouping down in the valley and climbing up to town in a parade lap, roll down the middle of town and turn through the timing at 6th, race on. Best way to string out a pack is throw in a hill early.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: leadvegas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    157
    living in Leadville and having done the race a couple times before I can only hope the race will continue to get better as it has in the last couple years. This year I got to see the race while driving camera men around. It was interesting and I got to see a lot of stuff. The craziest thing was the people lining up at the start. There were the people there for hours before the race who felt entitled to take up as much space as possible. Some people who couldn't put there bike in the mess tried to later with spectators (one jerk in particular) yelling and screaming at them as if he or she couldn't fit. Who cares? its a neutral start! As far as numbers go the course can fit all the racers and more. the whole thing is 30 ft. wide! Except for the singletrack we built. I hope they didn't drive their atvs on it like they did last year. I plan on doing the race again because it is fun riding with 1000 some people.

    did anyone take the time to check out the new singletrack we have in town? Its a lot better than pre riding the course!

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mudge's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,447
    Quote Originally Posted by Scalp1000
    I don't know what changes are in store, but I do know that they're going to have a much better venue set up to handle the pre race meeting. This was my first time at the race and I didn't get into the hall to hear Ken. I think Ken, Merilee and the rest of the staff did an outstanding job, but I was a little upset when I saw crew coming out of the hall when hundreds of racers were standing outside, unable to attend the meeting.
    I wouldn't complain/worry about not hearing Ken... most of the pre-race briefing is just him prattling on about himself, or how wonderful the event is, which of course you already know or you wouldn't be there. I don't recall a single item of information presented at that meeting that I didn't already know, and most of which I didn't really need to know anyway.

  10. #10
    In the rear with the beer
    Reputation: bigdudecycling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,315
    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    I wouldn't complain/worry about not hearing Ken... most of the pre-race briefing is just him prattling on about himself, or how wonderful the event is, which of course you already know or you wouldn't be there. I don't recall a single item of information presented at that meeting that I didn't already know, and most of which I didn't really need to know anyway.

    Gotta disagree a bit there. Yeah, it goes longer than it needs to, but Ken gets pretty inspirational at some points and I think just about everyone gets chills when he gets into the "your stronger than you think you are stuff"....

  11. #11
    In the rear with the beer
    Reputation: bigdudecycling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,315
    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit
    \it removes the "everyman" aura from the race. \.

    That 'aura' of the race is fading away from this regardless. I will be very impressed if LF can maintain it. I hope they do! but i'm not gonna hold my breath.
    Last edited by bigdudecycling; 08-18-2010 at 01:16 PM.

  12. #12
    In the rear with the beer
    Reputation: bigdudecycling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,315
    Quote Originally Posted by leadvegas
    The craziest thing was the people lining up at the start. There were the people there for hours before the race who felt entitled to take up as much space as possible. Some people who couldn't put there bike in the mess tried to later with spectators (one jerk in particular) yelling and screaming at them as if he or she couldn't fit. Who cares? its a neutral start! !
    I think i've seen that at just about every bike race i've ever attended. For some reason, certain riders seem to think that your place at the starting line is gonna make or break your entire season. maybe true on a 10 mile race where there is an early hole shot, but even on endurance races, this attitude is still common. If you find a solution, I hope we can apply it to more than just Leadville (ever see teh line up of the 8000 folks at El tour of Tucson....ugly)

  13. #13
    i also unicycle
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    2,044
    about starting: why not do it like running races. have groups/lines based on how much time you think it's gonna take to finish. every starts at the same time, the pros are in front, followed by a group that's confident they can finish in under X time, then Y time etc. works great for marathons and such. if you're seriously worried about finishing, start towards the back, if you are confident you can do it in 8 hours, be in the middle. volunteers with signs and some loose organization would probably help lots.
    mtbr says you should know: i work in a bike shop.
    bikes & beers (on my blog) http://idontrideenough.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mudge's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    1,447
    Quote Originally Posted by bigdudecycling
    Gotta disagree a bit there. Yeah, it goes longer than it needs to, but Ken gets pretty inspirational at some points and I think just about everyone gets chills when he gets into the "your stronger than you think you are stuff"....
    Yep, you're right, we disagree.

    I didn't find it inspirational. I thought it a bit campy/corny. It may have been Ken's equivelant to Roosevelt's 'a day in infamy' speech or Eisenhower's D-Day letter to the troops, but the completion of the Leadville ride doesn't really rise to that level of importance. For something as non-consequential as a mtb ride, motivational speeches seem to be more to make the speaker feel good about what they've done, not what the riders are about to do.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation: scooter916's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    1,269
    I really hope the bring back the group registration, having your close riding buddies racing with you is great motivation for training all year.
    Quote Originally Posted by thefuzzbl
    aluminium has a tendency to fail when you need it most. i.e. you end up with a bad day.

  16. #16
    no, I'm not riding SS
    Reputation: shorner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    183
    Quote Originally Posted by scooter916
    I really hope the bring back the group registration, having your close riding buddies racing with you is great motivation for training all year.
    Completely agree. I convinced my buddy to apply with me for this year, reluctantly he did so. He got in, I didn't.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by markf
    about starting: why not do it like running races. have groups/lines based on how much time you think it's gonna take to finish. every starts at the same time, the pros are in front, followed by a group that's confident they can finish in under X time, then Y time etc. works great for marathons and such. if you're seriously worried about finishing, start towards the back, if you are confident you can do it in 8 hours, be in the middle. volunteers with signs and some loose organization would probably help lots.
    They actually have done this in the past to some degree. The problems is that people often misjudge their abilities at altitude and move themselves too far towards the front, thus creating a botteneck at the base of St. Kevins. Happens every year, despite the fact that St. Kevins is neither steep nor technical (just rutted). The only possible "solution" I can see would be to send the groups off in waves according to age...pros included. Too bad if they can't draft off of one another to Twin Lakes b/c they are in different waves. Let them fight like everyone else for position.

  18. #18
    It ain't easy being Green
    Reputation: sdcadbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,146
    The problem with a staggered start is that the first guy over the line isn't necessarily the winner; what you're suggesting is turning the race into a time trial, which would suck.

    I say leave it like it is, maybe put barriers across Harrison at both sides of 6th to stop the "bulge" of riders into the intersection.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker
    The problem with a staggered start is that the first guy over the line isn't necessarily the winner; what you're suggesting is turning the race into a time trial, which would suck.

    I say leave it like it is, maybe put barriers across Harrison at both sides of 6th to stop the "bulge" of riders into the intersection.
    Agree, that would suck if the first guy over the line wasn't the winner.

    But, disagree that the race would be "turned into a time trial." That has already happened.

    In all, I think I probably agree with you not to change anything. Ultimately, it is up to riders to use their commonsense regarding placement at the start. Unfortunately, I think folks get a little antsy. Oh well.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    121
    Rethinking this I now think just leave it. Racing SS I'm completely defenseless with the downhill start and get absolutely consumed by the masses. The group I was in started shifting to their little rings before the left turn to St. Kievens - really??. That said I was still able to go 9:01. Leadville is about end game, no better start position is going to help you here unless your in the top 20

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by dwilson
    Rethinking this I now think just leave it. Racing SS I'm completely defenseless with the downhill start and get absolutely consumed by the masses. The group I was in started shifting to their little rings before the left turn to St. Kievens - really??. That said I was still able to go 9:01. Leadville is about end game, no better start position is going to help you here unless your in the top 20
    Disagree. As you alluded, St. Kevins is a fairly easy straightforward climb that should be climbed by most sub 9 hour folks in middle ring in semi-relaxed fashion. What occurs during Leadville (if you are not in the very first group with the strong folks) is that people start hyperventilating in small ring, putting their foot down, etc. You end up spending a ton of time (sometimes 10 minutes or longer) and energy dealing with that at the outset.

    Like any other long distance race, you make up ground at the end of the race, as you said. But, that first climb can be a killer both time and energy wise if you aren't in the right place.

  22. #22
    In the rear with the beer
    Reputation: bigdudecycling's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    1,315
    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    Yep, you're right, we disagree.

    I didn't find it inspirational. I thought it a bit campy/corny. It may have been Ken's equivelant to Roosevelt's 'a day in infamy' speech or Eisenhower's D-Day letter to the troops, but the completion of the Leadville ride doesn't really rise to that level of importance. For something as non-consequential as a mtb ride, motivational speeches seem to be more to make the speaker feel good about what they've done, not what the riders are about to do.
    I guess you aren't a fan of Rocky movies

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    121
    Quote Originally Posted by goliver
    Disagree. As you alluded, St. Kevins is a fairly easy straightforward climb that should be climbed by most sub 9 hour folks in middle ring in semi-relaxed fashion. What occurs during Leadville (if you are not in the very first group with the strong folks) is that people start hyperventilating in small ring, putting their foot down, etc. You end up spending a ton of time (sometimes 10 minutes or longer) and energy dealing with that at the outset.

    Like any other long distance race, you make up ground at the end of the race, as you said. But, that first climb can be a killer both time and energy wise if you aren't in the right place.
    Disagree again. I cant think of any time/energy you gain with a clear shot at SK vs. a 10 min wait that early in the race. Most all fast guys have strong finish split times where you easily get that time back. If you hustle SK early you risk burning matches you will not get back and need later. I treat the crowd like a forced governor. This year I paced myself for the first 60 miles and came in strong for a personal best that smoked my old SS time by 48 minutes. I tribute it most all of it to racing conservatively early. Same goes for smoking up Columbine, I had several SS guys scream by me that I later caught inbound and beat by as much as 45 minutes.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    47
    Quote Originally Posted by dwilson
    Disagree again. I cant think of any time/energy you gain with a clear shot at SK vs. a 10 min wait that early in the race. Most all fast guys have strong finish split times where you easily get that time back. If you hustle SK early you risk burning matches you will not get back and need later. I treat the crowd like a forced governor. This year I paced myself for the first 60 miles and came in strong for a personal best that smoked my old SS time by 48 minutes. I tribute it most all of it to racing conservatively early. Same goes for smoking up Columbine, I had several SS guys scream by me that I later caught inbound and beat by as much as 45 minutes.
    Actually, in my opinion, you spend a lot more energy sitting behind folks, trying to balance in place while the conga line stops, and trying to randomly maneuver around folks in the grass/rocks than you do climbing up St. Kevins at a solid, semi hard effort.

    In any event, if you know that is the deal, then it is up to you to be in the right place at the right time.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mr Yeti's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    69
    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker
    The problem with a staggered start is that the first guy over the line isn't necessarily the winner; what you're suggesting is turning the race into a time trial, which would suck.

    I say leave it like it is, maybe put barriers across Harrison at both sides of 6th to stop the "bulge" of riders into the intersection.

    AMEN!!!! I got there at 5am and didn't mind being halfway back. People were getting there at 6:15 and pushing their way in. Come on guys...
    Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way...turn.

  26. #26
    It ain't easy being Green
    Reputation: sdcadbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,146
    Quote Originally Posted by goliver
    Actually, in my opinion, you spend a lot more energy sitting behind folks, trying to balance in place while the conga line stops, and trying to randomly maneuver around folks in the grass/rocks than you do climbing up St. Kevins at a solid, semi hard effort.

    In any event, if you know that is the deal, then it is up to you to be in the right place at the right time.
    What he said!

    I have done it both ways and it was much easier this year riding a solid, consistent tempo amongst guys who were mostly riding at my pace. Up at the front it seemed like there more room to pass too... last time I was stuck in the headcount and had to ride at everyone else's pace, not mine.

  27. #27
    Let's fly!
    Reputation: MultiRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    423
    This was first year for me, I expected start positioning banners for target times like a running race has them for pace.

    St Kevins was a little trying on the patience since there were people who definitely over-estimated their climbing ability, but I can't imagine it really cost anyone 10 minutes. One or two minutes. But not 10.

    I was in the gym for Ken's speech. There were empty seats on the main floor and lots of room in the bleachers upstairs. I was surprised the place wasn't packed. Did they prevent people from coming in? There wasn't a LOT of room, but there was definitely more room for more people.

    I thought it was a crazy event. Much longer and harder than I anticpated even after pre-riding most of the course. I had a sub-9 in me from a training / endurance perspective, but a busted backwheel (swapped out at Twin Lakes - all by myself) and then massive leg cramps reduced me to 9:16.

    I really like the personalized sweatshirts. Though I wonder how the 9:01 guys who got sub-9 buckles feel. That must be weird to have "9:01:??" on your sweatshirt and a sub-9 buckle.

  28. #28
    Let's fly!
    Reputation: MultiRider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    423
    I would like to add that having a 2nd section for documented racers behind the Top 100 section would be a great idea. As long as they include the Winter Park Series here in Colorado as verifiable races. I race he Expert class in Winter Park, so I really don't want to be in the back of the pack at the start. Not trying to brag, just sayin'.

    I got up at 3am, on the road at 3:30am, in Leadville at 4:30am to have my bike in line near the front. I was in the 2nd row back from the orange fence for the Top 100.

    The slinky effect after the 6th Ave downhill and then uphill during the start was scary - swarms of people going much too fast from the downhill trying to make up many positions as the pack compressed. That was a bit wild. But I'm not aware of any crashes from that.

    The SS folk have my immense respect - from 150rpm on the downhill to out-of-the-saddle, bending-crankarm 30rpm efforts on the uphill, y'all are much tougher than me! I need all my gears!

  29. #29
    It ain't easy being Green
    Reputation: sdcadbiker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    1,146
    Quote Originally Posted by MultiRider
    St Kevins was a little trying on the patience since there were people who definitely over-estimated their climbing ability, but I can't imagine it really cost anyone 10 minutes. One or two minutes. But not 10.
    Yes, 10 minutes. In 2008 I got to Carter Summit in exactly 1 hour, this year it was 50 minutes. I don't recall riding any harder this year, also I went down just after the switchback when someone went offline and hit my front tire. Didn't cost me more than 10 seconds but even so...

  30. #30
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Zignzag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    1,116

    I bet you didn't know that...

    Quote Originally Posted by mudge
    I don't recall a single item of information presented at that meeting that I didn't already know, and most of which I didn't really need to know anyway.
    You are better than you think you are! You can do more than you think you can!

    Well, maybe you knew it.

    Ken's son posts here, and one year I complained that Ken didn't say the YABTYTYA YCDMTYTYC, and I had a bad race. The year before Ken said three YABTYTYA YCDMTYTYC's and I had my best time. I guess his son told him, because at the next year's pep talk, Ken apologized for not saying YABTYTYA YCDMTYTYC the year before, and then he shouted it out!

    I've done the race 8 times, and I always looked forward to Ken's pep talk and those words. I love seeing the newbies get fired up by it.

    My buddy Jeff video taped some of Ken's early pep talks (c 1999). I'll put something together and post it.
    Tequila is a pallid flame that passes through walls and soars over tile roofs to allay despair. A. Mutis

  31. #31
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    4
    I thought the "dig-deep" speech was very beneficial. I only made it 60 miles, but I can tell you that all day long I heard Chlouber's voice in my head talking about how "the truth is at the face."

    ... For something as non-consequential as a mtb ride...
    This event is quite a bit more than a simple mtb ride for a lot of people, myself included.

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •