Spectating the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race

, , , , | UltraRob | Wednesday, August 12th, 2009 at 7:23 am

Leadville 100 MTB Start

This Saturday morning well over a 1,000 mountain bikers will line up on 6th street in Leadville. It will still be dark and very chilly when they show up to secure their starting position for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race.

Many of the racers will be attempting to finish in under 9 hours to receive the coveted “big buckle”. Many more will be there just hoping to finish under the 12 hour cut-off. At the front will be a handful attempting to beat 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong.

Dave Wiens, 6 time Leadville 100 winner, has the best shot at beating Lance Armstrong. He accomplished it last year by just under 2 minutes. This year though Lance has been back racing in the Pro road peloton so I expect Wiens will have to ride faster to keep his winning streak alive. Tinker Juarez should also do well.

So with all the buzz from Lance racing the Leadville 100 for the 2nd time, you might be wondering how you can watch the Leadville 100. I don’t know of any race day TV coverage although Citizen Pictures is planning a television show. Update: Citizen Pictures created a movie, Race Across the Sky, that was shown in theaters instead of a TV show.

If you live close enough, you can view some great mountain bike racing and Colorado scenery. There are 3 good spots for watching the race. They are the Start/Finish, bottom of Powerline and on County Road 10. Another great place to watch would be at timberline on the Columbine Climb but the road is closed on race day since it’s the course.

I have a Leadville 100 course map that’ll give you an overview of the course. There are camera icons on it. Clicking on the icons will pop up a photo of that part of the course. It’s a live Google Map so you can zoom in and pan around.


The Leadville 100 starts at the corner of 6th Street and Harrison Avenue. Harrison is also Highway 24 and the main route through Leadville. Harrison is closed the morning of the race. Near race time it’s hard to find parking within a few blocks.

The race starts at 6:30 AM. It’s interesting to hang out and see everyone getting ready. A little before the start, I recommend walking about 5 blocks down 6th Street so you’re up on a little hill and can see the racers stretched out for blocks when the start.

If Lance breaks 6 hours like he thinks is possible, he’ll be back to the finish a little before 12:30. I doubt it’ll be much before 1:00 but you never know. The largest number of finishers will probably be coming in around 4-5 PM. The last riders will be rolling across the line as late as 7:30 PM.

Here are slideshows of Leadville 100 pre-race and start and finish in 2008.

Bottom of Powerline

Directions and Larger Maps

Powerline at Leadville 100The bottom of Powerline is a flying descent on the way out and a brutal climb headed back toward the finish. There’s also a small creek crossing at the bottom that can be an entertaining spot to watch.

The Google Map above marks the dirt road that cuts back to the Powerline. The big cut running straight up the mountain is the Powerline. The paved road past the dirt road to the Powerline is closed race day because it’s part of the course. Park along the road before that and walk in. Pay attention and stay out of the way of the racers.

The lead riders should be coming down Powerline just before 8 AM and be heading back up around 11:15. The last riders inbound will be a little after 3:30 PM.

Here are slideshows of racers coming down Powerline and of them heading up Powerline.

County Road 10

Directions and Larger Map

New Leadville 100 SingletrackCounty Road 10 is about 8 miles south of Leadville on US 24. It’s then almost 2 miles to the intersection of County Road 24A. This is where the racers will be coming off the new singletrack and onto the road.

I expect the lead riders will be through around 8:30 AM outbound and coming back around 10:45. Likely there will be a few racers still headed outbound when the leaders return. The last riders will be back through around 3:00 PM.

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4 responses to “Spectating the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race”

  1. Jay Dub says:

    Great map and picture Rob. I can't wait for Saturday (and I'm just watching the stream on my computer a thousand miles away).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting the detailed information. Haven't seen the race before and wasn't sure how best to experience. I was glad to find your post!

  3. So sorry to hear you had to drop out. 🙁

  4. Bruce says:

    I’m pretty sure this is Lance’s 3rd LT100. I raced against him the first time, but he won:-). Second time he had team help except for the flat he couldn’t fix.

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