How a schedule headache helped the Leadville 100 and SBT GRVL launch “LeadBoat”

Betsy Welch, VeloNews

When the Leadville 100 MTB and SBT GRVL races were scheduled on back-to-back days, organizers decided to create a new endurance event called the LeadBoat Challenge.

What was initially an “Oh no” moment for organizers of the SBT GRVL and Leadville Trail 100 MTB races quickly turned into an “Aha” one. Now, the gravel and mountain-bike communities have a new endurance challenge to target in 2020.

On Thursday, SBT GRVL and Leadville 100 owner Life Time revealed the LeadBoat Challenge, an event comprised of completing the 2020 Leadville Trail 100 MTB and then the SBT GRVL’s 144-mile “Black” course the next day.

The invite-only challenge was birthed earlier this year when SBT GRVL organizers learned that the 2020 Leadville 100 had been moved back a week from its 2019 date to fall the day before their 2020 race. SBT GRVL organizers initially worried that the schedule might force riders to choose one race or the other.

“Our first reaction was to see if we could move the date, which is a pretty big ask,” said Amy Charity, one of the co-owners of SBT GRVL. “We quickly learned the answer was ‘no’ for either event.

Rather than stress over the scheduling conflict, teams from both races organized a conference call to brainstorm ways to collaborate. According to Charity, it was Kimo Seymour, Life Time’s senior vice president for events and media, who proposed the idea of combining the two events into a single challenge.

Both teams jumped at the idea.

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