Home>>Leadville Trail 100 Mile Mountain Bike, Run and Leadman Report
2011 Leadman Report: 26.2 miles are down with 256.2 more to go for Leadman number 4. I have been on much of the LT100 Bike and Run courses over the past several weeks and much of the snow is gone, but not completely. There is still snow on the Silver Rush course on the south side of the Ball Mountain saddle as well as snow at Hope Pass and last section of Columbine. The north side of Ball Mountain area is very loose from the recent rains. There is some logging operations on the south side of the Twin Lakes damn that hopefully will be cleaned up by race time. I think the Silver Rush [Mountain Bike Race] will be a suffer-fest with 750 riders and single track at the beginning...the trick will be to red-line and run up Dutch Henry hill as fast as possible and get ahead of the masses.
Be carefully training on the weekend as there are large groups of riders on the LT100 course traveling both directions...it was crowded [for Leadville] this last weekend.
2010 LT100 trail report: After completing the LT100 marathon and the Silver Rush 50 Mountain bike Race conditions are much drier and hotter than years past. The most significant course change to the LT100 Bike Race course is the grading of the last 2 miles which should will make the course faster. The entire Columbine Mine section is now rideable and on the descent I was able to stay in a "return" track allowing other riders to continue up the climb. There are a couple sections which have a great deal of loose rock, but are manageable. Weather may play a big role in how riders finish. Yesterday [26 July 2010] it was 78 degrees in Leadville and the 80's in Twin Lakes.
In 2009 I am competing in the "Leadman" again for year number 3. I had a late training start this year due to Nordic ski over use injury [left knee and hip...over 500 miles classic XC skiing will do it], but after some trips to the chiropractor I am feeling reasonably healthy entering into July.
LT100 Lodging--plan for 2011. Typically, it would be impossible to locate any rooms for the LT100 a week prior but, for those last minutes planners and extra support crew there are a couple new rooms coming available now [17 Aug 09]: Four bedrooms and sleeps up to 11. Contact Sherry Randall at 586-596-0698 for additional details (tell her Mike referred you.).
[Bike] LT100 Trail Conditions [13 Aug 09]: The LT100 bike course should be faster this year assuming the weather holds the same as 2007 and 2008 [as of today looks like thunder showers and rain] because of the paving of the access road going to the quarry on Lake County road 11A and the improvements to Lake County road 4 [grading and new culverts]. Yesterday and today, I rode the new single track section that eliminates the "North Face", "Cobra", or fill-in-the-blank disaster name and it is a good addition to the course. I believe the new section is far enough into the course that the single track should not prove to be a choke point, but who knows with 1,300 riders on the course this year...anything is possible. The recent afternoon thunder storms coupled with the the day of rain last week have altered some of the lines on power line. This is especially true near the very bottom of power line. I recommend pre-riding this section if you have the time.
Current [Run] LT100 Trail Conditions [19 Aug 09]: The LT100 run course is now clear of downed trees on the Hope Pass trail [Twin Lakes side] section. The Turquoise Lake trail has been vastly improved on the north shore with new roadbed, culverts and some of the rock gardens removed--making for a much faster LT100 run course for that section...the best I have seen in four years.
Another excellent video from the 2008 LT100 Bike Race from SuperHumanMag.com:
This race report is a continuation of this years personal racing season goal of completing all the Leadman races: Marathon, Silver Rush 50 mile mountain bike race, 100 LT mountain bike race, 10KM (day after the 100 mile mountain bike race) and finally a week after the Leadville 100 mountain bike race: the Leadville 100 Trail Race. The first segment detailed the lessons I learned in the Buena Vista 50 Mile Trail Race in preparation for the Leadville Trail 100 race. I am happy to report that I completed all the races in the "Leadman" and was back to training within a week. A fairly frequent question I have been asked by various family members and friends was; "what was the hardest event?" and without question the 100 mile run was the most difficult event. Because the 100 mile run was the most difficult event I am writing down the lessons learned while they are reasonable fresh in my mind and available for racing next year.
The first and possibly the most important observation for a first time 100 mile runner is to come earlier (several days) to the race location and talk to veterans of 100 running and specifically the race you are about to compete in. Living reasonably close to Leadville it was convenient to run and/or mountain bike a fair amount of the Leadville Trail 100 running course over the last 8 months so, actual course information was less important than an unfamiliar venue. Beyond course information, veterans of 100 running can provide a great deal of useful tips and insight that might take a few races and poor decisions on my part to acquire. I was fortunate enough to talk and briefly train with Jamshid Khajavi who is an absolutely amazing endurance athlete. Jamshid holds the American record for the fastest swim across the Strait of Gibraltar (13+ miles) as well as celebrating his 40th birthday by running the Western States 100 Mile Endurance run, biking from San Diego to New York in 31 days, and swimming around the island of Manhattan in an attempt to be in the Guinness Book of World Records for the worlds longest Triathlon. Unfortunately, Guinness lacked the category at the time of his performance. Jamshid provided advice on pacing, food choices, and countless other items of interest. Tim Englund, David [sorry cannot remember his last name], and Ray Gruenewald all veteran ultra runners suggested using the pacing chart written by Dana Roueche from Boulder, Colorado who had successfully completed the Leadville Trail 100 three times prior to developing a strategy for completing the LT100 under 30 hours and 25 hours. These articles are hosted on Stan Jensen's run100s web site which is an excellent source of ultra race and training information. Case in point to illustrate the information I received from the veteran runner prior the race was my lighting choices. I was going to run the night section of the LT100 with just my headlamp and not use a flashlight--which is the way I trained leading up to the race. While this works well for a night run when you are reasonable rested and fresh, it is not a good idea (at least for me) when you have already run 65-70 miles. I found the flashlight critical even while using an excellent headlamp [Petzel Tikka XP] with fresh batteries. The flashlight greatly reduced the shadows around rocks and improved depth perception.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the excellent course and race information provided by Art Fleming who posts a sub 9:50 time at age 62. I rode sections of the LT100 mile bike with Art who provided excellent pointers on what to expect race and how to best handle the situation.
My base camp for the Leadman competition was the Leadville Hostel which I hesitate to even mention since it is very difficult to reserve a space even a year out, but Bill and Kathy take excellent care of the racers adjusting meal times and menus to match the race schedule. This includes serving breakfast at 2:00 a.m. on race day for the LT100 mile run--Bill and Kathy totally rock!. The next sections are in no particular order but capture my observations over the 10 days and during the race.
I should have used caffeine past the 60 mile point in the race. I actually trained with and planned on using caffeine, but for reasons unknown to me, I actually never used the energy gels with caffeine or the Starbucks Frappachinos I had with my crews. Caffeine would have been very useful during the "witching hour" between 2:00-5:00 a.m. where your body questions why you are awake.
The next observation is closely related to the suggestion above which is to slowly wean yourself from caffeine a week or two prior to the race in order to maximize the effect of using caffeine in the race. Read this article on caffeine use and effect on endurance sports performance for a complete explanation of the physiological effects of caffeine use.
Having a support crew is a tremendous mental advantage but even in this area there was ample room for improvement. My support crew [wife and two boys] joined me in Leadville late the night prior to the race which resulted in poor communication on what I would require per aide station. In hind site I should have used drop bags that the race carried to each aide station and just had the crew present for moral support and possibly hand me the drop bag. The Winfield aide station is the reason I came to this conclusion. Winfield is the 50 mile mark on the LT100 and where you turn around and retrace the route you just completed. Training on Pike's Peak and similar terrain prepared me to perform the best on the steep section of the route...unfortunately, this fact was missed by my support crew. So, I ran into the Winfield aide station in 11:24 which was much faster than my crew anticipated. My crew was no where to be found since they were in our truck eating chocolate [I am not making this up]. I ran up and down the parked vehicles looking for any familiar face--no luck. I finally filled my hydration pack and headed out never see my crew or getting any of the items I had set aside for Winfield.
Everyone has their favorite food for ultra distance races but personally I cannot predict exactly what will appeal especially in the latter stages of the race. I had a variety of food items to select from to ensure there was something I would actually have some interest in eating. The best food item for me at the 86 mile aide station was the potato soap which was hot and salty--two attributes I craved at that point in the race.
There are countless articles on tapering and I have read most of them, but there is a big difference between understanding the intellectual concepts behind tapering and actually applying them. This is where Jamshid, David and Tim really helped out since I am very poor at tapering--they convinced me to ease up and rest prior to the LT100. You need to taper to do well in any race, but especially in a 100.
My last lesson learned was the value of nightly visualizing running the entire course. I knew the course which allowed me to see myself running all the sections of the course and successfully completing the race.
The Leadman series and the LT100 was an excellent experience and I will be back next year to attempt to complete the course under 25 hours. This year my time was 27:15 and I think some better preparation for the run as well as cutting down the aide station time can get me to that time.