Felony Charge for Racing Leadville 100 Without Entry

, , , , , , | UltraRob | Monday, May 10th, 2010 at 6:03 pm
Leadville 100 Start

The Leadville 100 mountain bike race has long made it clear that entries are non-refundable and non-transferable. It’s one of a very few races where I’ve had to show my ID to pick up my race packet. Now race organizer, Ken Clouber, has made it clear just how seriously he takes racing with another person’s entry.

Last year Katie Brazelton was injured and unable to race. Rather than just lose her entry, she gave her entry to her friend Wendy Lyall. I’m not sure how that worked because of the required photo ID check. My guess is that Katie picked up the race packet herself.

During race check-in though they put on a bright green band that must be worn during the race and still be on to pick up awards. Although you have to give your race number to check in the morning of the race, they haven’t checked for my band. During the race I can’t tell that they look for the band so it may have not been noticed if Wendy wasn’t wearing one. In the photo with the Denver Post article there’s something green on her left wrist but it’s not clear enough to tell if it’s the required band.

The switch off may have gone unnoticed but Wendy finished in 9:53:27. That was fast enough to put her in 2nd place in the 40-49 age group even though she was 36. Ken Chlouber received an anonymous tip that it might not have been Katie Brazelton racing.

According to the Denver Post article Rachel Farrett, who finished 3rd didn’t recognize the woman who picked up the prize from the race the day before. Farrett remembers the woman who passed her on the race course had blond hair. The woman who accepted the trophy did not.

After being contacted by Ken and Lake County Sheriff Ed Holte, the women returned the belt buckle, pendant and necklace. Ken didn’t think that was enough since the true 2nd and 3rd place finishers didn’t get to enjoy their accomplishment. He also banned both women from ever competing in the Leadville 100 and now Katie and Wendy have been charged with criminal impersonation, a Class 6 felony.

I think using someone else’s entry is a serious thing and it was much worse in this case because Wendy finished 2nd in an older age group. I’m not sure that USA Cycling has anything in the rules to deal with something like this other than suspending them from other races.

Filling felony charges does seem to be going a bit far. I’ve heard the race received well over 10,000 entries for this year’s race. Last year there were 1,400 entries accepted but I haven’t seen the number for this year yet but I hope it’s not higher. Maybe this case is more about deterring the thousands that didn’t make it in the race lottery from lining up on race day with Lance Armstrong than it is about 2 women from last year’s race.

- UltraRob

Update 5/13/10: More On Leadville 100 Felony Charges

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10 Responses to “Felony Charge for Racing Leadville 100 Without Entry”

  1. [...] news about Katie Brazelton giving her Leadville 100 entry to Wendy Lyall and both of them being charged with criminal impersonation has spread outside of the mountain bike [...]

  2. BikingBruce says:

    Class 6 felony for riding for someone else in a bike race? You’ve got to be kidding. Leadville, their attorney and the race organizers should have better things to do with their time. Leadville was a neat place to visit, but now I have totally changed my opinion. I am striking it off my places to visit and encouraging all my biking and shopping friends to do likewise as I send this article to them.

  3. UltraRob says:

    BikingBruce, it seems it’s the District Attorney that has blown this out of proportion. He’s made other bizarre calls on cases. The Leadville 100 organizer also thinks that a felony charge is too much. See my follow up post for more info.

  4. COCrazyBiker says:

    So if I am injured and don’t want to “donate” my entry to this now sad race and give my number to my training buddy Bob. Bob and are are now felons?

    I will have absolutely nothing to do with this event ever again. Anyone else who enters needs to seriously rethink supporting this event.

  5. Grego says:

    While I agree that any felony charge is over the top, it’s still true that Wendy Lyall should have disqualified herself from any prize. She knew she was ineligible, yet still traded places with her friend so that Katie Brazelton could accept a 2nd place prize? This sounds a lot shadier than just letting a friend enter the race instead of losing the nonrefundable entry fee.

  6. Jim Seely says:

    I poached a local cyclocross race using a number from a previous race in the series and was given a special prize for messing with the promoter’s head. Silly Big-Shots, take themselves so seriously!

  7. COCrazyBiker says:

    Back in the day, (when people actually took distance running seriously)”banditing” races was a common practice. I would hate to think that I could be considered a felon … good god, that is crazy.

  8. Brian says:

    I was actually going to do the 50 mile pre-leadville race this summer. Forget about it. I won’t pay to watch another film about the race or support it in any way. What a bunch of crap.

  9. Grego says:

    No matter what, one person earning the place and another receiving the prize is deceptive and wrong. Can there be any question of that?

    That said, I still disagree with pressing charges. Just ban them both as of the beginning of the race and apologize to the real 2nd and 3rd place finishers. Bad things happen; so it goes. The finishers were harmed by this, but such is life. Nothing will be gained through legal action except some kind of strange pedantic revenge, as if the to-the-letter punishment of a “class 6 felony” could restore the race’s finish.

  10. COCrazyBiker says:

    I’ll concede that picking up the prize was wrong. The way that this has been handled is terrible, and escalating all the way to the DA is simply asinine.

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