We're leaving for Leadville today. We'll be volunteering at the Leadville Trail 100 (Leadville 100) on Saturday. And so officially begins a year of preparing for my own attempt at the 100 mile mountain bike race in 2012.
We're taking the bikes and we're all excited about the prospect of riding around the mountain town and mingling with the bike culture melting pot that is sure to descend on Leadville in the next 48 hours.
The Leadville Trail 100 was established in 1983 as an ultramarathon (running race) and in 1994 the LeadvilleTrail 100 MTB race was added. The bike race has been featured in at least two films, Race Across the Sky and Race Across the Sky 2010.
The MTB race begins downtown in Leadville and then heads west around Turquoise Lake, over the powerlines and then across the plains to a heinous climb up to Columbine Mine with a total elevation gain of about 14,000'. Columbine Mine is the halfway point and the high point of the course. In 2009 Lance Armstrong beat the long time champoin Dave Weins and set the course record. He didn't return in 2010 due to an injury and Levi Leipheimer broke Armstrong's record to take first place.
Lance just recently qualified for this year's race by winning the Crested Butte Alpine Odyssey.
Regardless of who shows and who doesn't, it promises to be an interesting race.