It’s hard to believe it’s nearly time for another Leadville 100 mountain bike race. A couple years ago someone emailed me off list for tips on making the 12 hour time cut-off for a heavier rider. He was 195 lbs. Most of the tips apply no matter your weight so I thought I’d re-post them here in case they’ll help someone. They’re really just
I’ve dropped some weight this year but I’m currently over 40 pounds heavier than the year I rode 8:18. I’ll be much slower than that but I hope to break my streak of not finishing the last 3 years. I think I’m in about 11 hour finishing shape. Hopefully I don’t get food poisoning, have asthma issues or get a cold this year. Those are the things that derailed me that last 3 years.
Random Leadville 100 Race Day Advice
One year I was 190 and finished in 9:02 after a couple mechanicals cost me close to 10 minutes. Weight is big factor on the Leadville 100 course but if you have a good engine and ride smart, you can still do well.
Make sure you don’t go out too hard but still keep moving and a good pace. You’ll most likely get caught in a traffic jam on St. Kevins. Don’t panic. I see way too many guys try passing and wasting a huge amount of energy. In a mile or less you’ll be able to easily pass.
Don’t waste time at aid stations. If you have somebody crewing for you, you should be stopped 5 minutes or less over the whole race. Even without a crew, I think stopped time should be 10 minutes or less. Somebody missed the time cut-off by a few minutes last year but said they didn’t know how they could have done it faster. They went on to say they only spent a total of 30 minutes at the aid stations.
Most of the time if you’re hurting you’ll actually recover better if you keep moving but go to a couple easier gears. That way the blood keeps moving and flushing the muscles. If you’re on a climb when that happens and you don’t have any more gears, get off and walk. If you really feel you need a break, don’t stop more than 30 seconds.
If you can’t keep turning the pedals smoothly on a climb, you’ll probably be almost as fast walking and will use slightly different muscles. If you have the descending skills, you can make up a bunch of time on the descents. For us that are heavier, that’s a time to recover some of the hard work on the climbs.
Try getting in a group on the pavement section near the fish hatchery and even on the Pipeline. As a bigger rider, you probably have more power than the skinny guys so you’ll tend to want to ride faster. It’s alright to take a little more than your share of pulls but also take advantage of the group and drop to the back and do some recovering.
Stick to what you’re used to eating during training rides. There’s lots of yummy looking junk at the aid stations but hold off and treat yourself to something yummy after finishing. For a race of this length, you’re best off sticking to all liquids for fuel. If you didn’t train that way, don’t go totally liquid during the race but try to do more liquid than solids. The solids slow your digestion and altitude also tends to slow digestion. I have raced 24 hour solo events on liquids only and it’s worked better than when
I ate some solids.
The race is long and you’ll probably need more electrolytes than are in your drinks. Even if it isn’t super hot, the dryness and the intense sunlight at altitude make me need more endurolytes than I normally do. I like the Endurolytes from Hammer Nutrition but NUUN seems to work well too.
Good luck and if you see me say Hi!