2011 Leadville 100 Mountain Bike

Photo Credit: 303Photo


Riders in the 2011 Leadville MTB Trail 100 were greeted with sunshine and moderate temperatures at the 6:30am start.  303Cycling began covering the Race Across the Sky in 2010 (got a belt buckle back in the 90's) and we noticed a difference in this year's start.  While there were notable absences - no helicopters filming, no Tour riders, and Dave Weins not on a bike - there was real excitement as the the top riders flew past us up the hill on 6th St in a neutral yet very aggressive start.  If this was a strategy, it worked for Todd Wells who finished the day in first and with the second fastest course time ever as well as Rebeca Rusch who beat her course record by over 15 minutes.

Our favorite spot to photograph is the bottom of Powerline and we headed there next. It's an hour into the race and riders have just completed their first climb and major decent.  It's all smiles as they head to Pipeline not even thinking about the ascent back up in a few hours.  Most notable was Rebecca Rusch's position behind a handful of other women riders and the uncertainty of her getting to the front.  Spectators were out in full force again this year and in spite of the very dusty conditions many stayed to keep the course lined with cheering for the top riders to the last.

We caught the leaders after Columbine on their way back to Powerline.  Todd Wells was solo and in the lead but with less than a minute on Austria's Alban Lakata and around 6 minutes on Alex Grant in 3rd.  Heading into the final climb Wells seemed to be ahead of Levi Leipheimer's course record from the year before.  We headed to the finish to catch the exciting conclusion to the race.  

Photo Credit: 303Photo

While Weins didn't race he was there to congratulate and aid his team mate Alban Lakata.  We spoke to the crew of former World Champion Bart Brentjens who would end up 6th after who said he made his way from as far back as 22nd after getting caught in traffic early on.  The international presence is evidence of how well known and popular the race has become.  With 1900 riders more than just World Champions are getting caught in traffic.  We spoke to participants much closer to the 12 hour time than 6 and a half who felt it has just gotten too big.  We also met some volunteers who came in from NY state in hopes of getting in for 2012.  Unlike years past volunteering does not reserve you a spot but merely gets you better consideration.  

The race ran on time and smoothly under the new management.  In the years to come, we will look to see how they will handle the numbers and the desire of many participants to keep all of the Leadville traditions that have made it the race it is today. 

Top 5 Men
1. Todd Wells, in 6:23:38 DURANGO CO
2. Alban Lakata, in 6:27:57 LIENZ AK AUSTRIA
3. Alex Grant, in 6:35:32 SALT LAKE CITY UT
4. Jay Henry, in 6:38:31 AVON CO
5. Jeremiah Bishop, in 6:43:34 HARRISONBURG VA

Top 5 Women
1. Rebecca Rusch, in 7:31:46 KETCHUM ID
2. Gretchen Reeves, in 7:35:38 AVON CO
3. Pua Mata, in 7:37:50 ANAHEIM HILLS CA
4. Jennifer Smith, in 7:39:14 GUNNISON CO
5. Tammy Jacques, in 8:02:30 STEAMBOAT SPRINGS CO


Leadville 100 Page



Very Crowded

I lined up for the 8th time on Saturday in hopes of getting my 6th buckle in spite of being sick with a cold and not nearly enough training. I rode comfortably at a just under 12 hour pace for about the first half with the thought that it would be better to pick up the pace later than over do it early. Still I got heat chills and started dry heaving above timberline on the Columbine Climb and bailed after hanging out for 30 minutes up top.

Maybe it was just because of the pace I was on but it seemed even more crowded than I was expecting for the increase in riders. Also since Lance raced, the bike handling skills have gotten worse. I saw few riders acting like they had never ridden off-road before.


This being my first time in Leadville I have nothing to compare too. However, I started near the very end of the starting grid and had all kinds of time to move forward in the pack. The only point in the course where a rider is truly "stuck" is on portions of the Columbine climb . My 2011 experience was incredible. By far the toughest and at same time most enjoyable 10 hours and 34mins on a bike!


Thanks for the video, it was dusty and blinding on Powerline this year. Skills were lacking as someone else stated fir whatever reason. Nonetheless the video was good, whoever said it wasboring, well I enjoy it every year it's the most technical descent of the course. Whomever shot the video, great job doing all the passing in the less desirable ruts, I pass there also to leave the better line for less comfortable riders. Thx for posting