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  1. #1
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    Need help re Leadville 50

    I need some advice regarding the Leadville 50, preferably from someone who has ridden it (or the 100). I'm thinking about signing up. My current bike is a Novara Method 1.0, which can be adjusted for 4in. travel front and back, but is HEAVY. Will this bike be too painful to ride in that race?

    Second, I want to be sure I'm fit enough by then. I mostly train for on-road spring tris right now, but am trying to focus on the biking and running portions. Any thoughts on whether extensive off-road specific training is necessary? I can ride off road and handle the MTB, but I haven't done any lengthy off road events. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    I did the Silver Rush last year on a nice light hard-tail. It's almost 100% fire-road, steep enough that all but the world-class walk some sections. Everyone walks/runs the opening hill (unridable).

    There are some loose sections where it helps to be very comfortable/smooth on the bike, but nothing I would term "technical" trail riding. You cross 12,000' a few times so it's more about altitude/aerobic training.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecoomer View Post
    I did the Silver Rush last year on a nice light hard-tail. It's almost 100% fire-road, steep enough that all but the world-class walk some sections. Everyone walks/runs the opening hill (unridable).

    There are some loose sections where it helps to be very comfortable/smooth on the bike, but nothing I would term "technical" trail riding. You cross 12,000' a few times so it's more about altitude/aerobic training.

    Good luck.
    Second this.
    Leadville is not technical, but kinda cobby in a jeep road kind of way. The route is not anything like what I'd choose as great MTB trails. But you need excellent fitness - its really hard because of the altitude and climbing. I rode it on a light hardtail and while light was good, suspension might be better. You might be able to rest more by remaining seated and spinning the climbs out.

    Fitness is what will get you there, the bike is very much secondary.

  4. #4
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    Regarding the bike; it's all a trade off. I did the Leadville 100 this year, after only riding bikes for 5 months, and finished in 10h02m. I did it on a pretty light(25lbs) aluminum hard tail, and plan to stick to the same setup next year. It's a matter of what you prefer, I personally would rather shave a few pounds off the bike as opposed to having a heavy full suspension rig. There are only a couple sections that I even bothered to unlock the fork. Like others mentioned, the full suspension might be more "comfortable" for you, but also consider that 50 miles isn't too long to be in the saddle(figure 5 hours), and a little less weight might result in a faster time.

    Fitness and endurance are definitely more important than bike selection, as long as the bike you're riding is comfortable for the distance/time. I'd say just get in your base miles, and on the road is fine. Put in some long rides, so you know how your body and mind(very important) will react to being in the saddle for 5+ hours. As it gets closer, put in a few long rides on the bike you'll be racing to make sure it's dialed in for your comfort. Even if this means just cruising some dirt/gravel roads for a few hours.

    Good luck, and be prepared to become addicted!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoRacing View Post
    Regarding the bike; it's all a trade off. I did the Leadville 100 this year, after only riding bikes for 5 months, and finished in 10h02m.
    Thanks for the response. I was thinking about the 100, but didn't want to DNF. I'm impressed someone could do that ride after only riding for 5 months. What did your training/long rides look like?

    thanks.

  6. #6
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    I was riding my mountain bike almost exclusively, and up until 5 days before the race, it was single speed. My situation was kind of wacky, and a cram session... Back story: I raced the Northstar Qualifier(100k) three weeks before Leadville, it was only my 3rd race ever, and yet I finished 5th overall in my age group(19-29), on a single speed. This qualified me for Leadville, and I seized the moment and began the scramble to make it all happen. With only a few weeks to prep myself, I pretty much just kept doing what I had been doing for the previous month or two. That involved 15-20 mile rides several days a week, and one longer ride on the road bike(60 miles or so). I rode as a hobby, not really planning on doing much with it, although that has since changed.

    With months to prepare, I'd definitely do things differently. Like I said, I'd primarily work on base miles. No need to get crazy with intervals or any of that type of training. Just get those legs used to spinning for hours and hours. And with that, get your mind ready as well. I think that a large, and often underrated part of endurance racing, is mental strength. You're going to hit walls, you're going to hurt, you're going to question yourself... Having the knowledge that you can push through all of that, and that you are capable of so much more than you might think you are is worth a lot.

  7. #7
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    If you're going to compete at Leadville you need to know how your body reacts to racing at altitude. If you already live high (>5K) then you're probably OK to just go there and do it but if you're a flatlander like me then a few trips to the mountains will be necessary to figure it out. Good luck!

  8. #8
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    2 Silver Rushes and 7 Lt 100. I'm 6'2 been on 29ers for several years. I'd say HT 29er for either event. You can do FS and actually the Silver Rush is better suited for a FS.
    If you have mountains train on climbing and rides at 4-5 hours.
    I'd compare the SR50 to a century on the road with a lot of climbing and LT100 as a 150 to 175 mile road effort with climbing. The elevation is a variable that you need to consider.
    Good Luck!

  9. #9
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    I also signed up for this as my first big endurance ride. I think it's going to be quite the challenge but better to try and fail then to never try.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasondbikes View Post
    I also signed up for this as my first big endurance ride. I think it's going to be quite the challenge but better to try and fail then to never try.




    You can do it with the help of a solid training plan. Keep us posted.

  11. #11
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    @ RenoRacing, at what altitude to you live? I am guessing that you live in Reno, Nevada.

  12. #12
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    LowOn02, correct. Reno is at about 4500, and most of my riding is around there, with a few rides up to 6,000 feet. I definitely feel that it provides a little edge. Even the qualifier at Northstar was really tough on the Bay Area racers, and the highpoint of that course was around 7,500. Where as I didn't even think twice about the altitude hurting me, nor did I notice any fatigue or trouble breathing freely.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RenoRacing View Post
    LowOn02, correct. Reno is at about 4500, and most of my riding is around there, with a few rides up to 6,000 feet. I definitely feel that it provides a little edge. Even the qualifier at Northstar was really tough on the Bay Area racers, and the highpoint of that course was around 7,500. Where as I didn't even think twice about the altitude hurting me, nor did I notice any fatigue or trouble breathing freely.

    The Silver Rush is entirely above 10,000'. I would *strongly* recommend getting in some miles above 10,000' during training- it's that whole exponential fall off that makes a big difference. I routinely ride at 7,000'-8,000' and racing at 10,000'+ still hurts.

  14. #14
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    That's what I figure will kick my butt. I really won't have any altitude training before the event. I guess I'll give it my best and that's all I can do. I just want to be the most prepared I can be otherwise besides the lack of altitude riding.

  15. #15
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    For what it's worth, I spent about five days at or above 9,500' before last summer's Leadville and it made a huge difference for me coming from 1,800'. If it's possible I would highly recommend spending a few days at altitude before the race. At least spend a night or two in Leadville or camp out somewhere around Turquoise Lake. It makes for a much better experience!

  16. #16
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    OH, DEAR! Here in Dallas we are at 450 feet (137 m) to 550 feet (168 m). Maybe I should stick to Texas races, ha!

  17. #17
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    I am planning to arrive on wednesday and do some riding. The plan is to camp at turquoise lake so glad to hear its recommended.

  18. #18
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    Don't worry about the bike, it's secondary. It's the motor that important.

    See you at the start line.

  19. #19
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    Have you looked into this at all Maverick Sports Promotions :: Firecracker 50?

    Much better event and course IMO and Breckenridge is great in the summer. I just don't get the appeal of the Leadville events as they are all jeep roads. I can see the 100 as a bucket list sort of thing, but there are better events in Colorado.

    For people looking for a 100 miler look into The Bailey Hundo | 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race | Bailey, Colorado They are taking applications now; this is one of the best events I have done and the course is awesome....good mix of everything.

  20. #20
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    The Silver Rush 50 is well organised with great atmosphere and has excellent food stations... Sure it doesn't have the terrain of the Firecracker but for someone during their first 50 at attitude I think it is a good choice.

  21. #21
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    Camp at Mayqueen at the other end of turquoise lake. And just prepare to suffer and you will be fine. It is only 50 miles

  22. #22
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    I've done both the LT100 and SR50, LT100 is a definite light hardtail course. SR50 is rougher and a full-sus can be justified, but I'd do it again on a hardtail, there was just one particularly rough section about 2/3 of the way through that I felt like it was a disadvantage.

    FWIW, in total effort put forth, I would say the SR50 felt like the LT100 first 70 miles; the SR50 course has more bang for your buck than the LT100 course.

    I also agree with the other comments, the FC50 is a much better course and has a better atmosphere to it than the Silver Rush.

    I haven't done the Bailey Hundo, but I'm strongly considering it this year, need to change up my schedule to accommodate.

    High altitude races are so much more about your fitness level than what bike your on.
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    Just keep spinning. Just keep running. Just keep paddling.
    Just keep moving forward.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasondbikes View Post
    I also signed up for this as my first big endurance ride. I think it's going to be quite the challenge but better to try and fail then to never try.
    Dude! It'll be my first big one too! I'll see you out there!

  24. #24
    JeffcoHo
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    My co-worker is running the Leadville 50 and convinced me to bike it. 2012 will be my first. I am going to be riding a 2x10 Ellsworth Evolve. Remember its a there-and-back to it's 25 miles of climbing and 25 miles of downhill.
    ‎"Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears." -Marcus Aurelius

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffcoHo View Post
    My co-worker is running the Leadville 50 and convinced me to bike it. 2012 will be my first. I am going to be riding a 2x10 Ellsworth Evolve. Remember its a there-and-back to it's 25 miles of climbing and 25 miles of downhill.
    Hmm... if they could just get rid of the "25 miles of climbing" part ...

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by nepbug View Post

    I've done both the LT100 and SR50, LT100 is a definite light hardtail course. SR50 is rougher and a full-sus can be justified, but I'd do it again on a hardtail, there was just one particularly rough section about 2/3 of the way through that I felt like it was a disadvantage.

    .......
    I am doing the SR50 for the first time as well and have a 26" hardtail and 26" full suspension. Given the choice between these 2 bikes (buying a new 29"er is not an option) what would you recomend ?

    Thanks ...

  27. #27
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    Unless your fs is particularly heavy, I'd recommend the fs. You'll be glad you have the fs on the big downhill at mile 40. I too have a 26" hardtail and 26" fs. My fs is about 25 lbs. and the hardtail is a couple of pounds lighter. I'll be riding the fs again this year.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BubColorado View Post
    Unless your fs is particularly heavy, I'd recommend the fs. You'll be glad you have the fs on the big downhill at mile 40. I too have a 26" hardtail and 26" fs. My fs is about 25 lbs. and the hardtail is a couple of pounds lighter. I'll be riding the fs again this year.
    Thanks, that's the kind of info I was looking for. FS it will be. Good luck !!

  29. #29
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    Im looking for some folks to train with in the denver area for the leadville 100. Iwould like to star training in leadville. But looking to car pool out there from dever. Im putting in 15 to 20 hours a week, im looking to go hard all weekend. Any takers?

  30. #30
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    Im doing my first Leadville 50 this year too.
    Hopefully I can use some of this advice too help me along.
    Good luck

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