More On Leadville 100 Felony Charges

May 13th, 2010
Lance Armstrong at Leadville 100 Start

The 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 world. There a good post on the Ex-Pat Ex-Lawyer blog with what lead up to the charges.

In a letter to the Lake County Sheriff, Leadville 100 organizer Ken Chlouber asked for prosecution on theft of services for the $250 in race fees, $225 in awards, plus racer services, including aid stations, security, and a pre-race banquet. That would be much less severe than the criminal impersonation felony that DA Hurlbert charged them with. It seems that Katie Brazelton may have already lost her job over the incident.

As I said I think that cheating to get into the race is serious but worse in this case because of Wendy finishing 2nd in Katie’s age group. Still being charged with a felony is overblown for something like this.

Some people are complaining that Ken doesn’t enforce his rules consistently. We own an old mining claim in Lake County close to Leadville and we always say it’s still the wild, wild west there. It’s not just that Ken runs the Leadville 100 that way. Even so about 10 times as many people wanted to do the race this year as are allowed in.

The Leadville 100 entry lottery isn’t totally a lottery. Some number of riders appear to get picked and the rest get drawn in the lottery. I know riders that have used a friend’s address in Leadville so they’d get picked. Leadville is small enough that Ken and whoever else does the preferred picking probably know when that is the case but the riders have still gotten into the race.

UltraRob

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Felony Charge for Racing Leadville 100 Without Entry

May 10th, 2010
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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