• 15 Tips on How to Score the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Last Ass Trophy

    The first year I race the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, I managed to place last. Yes, that's right, the official last finisher. To be an official finisher, you must complete the race under 12 hours. My time was a comfortable 11:59:55 - I had an entire 5 seconds to spare!

    To commemorate that achievement, I was awarded the hind-quarter horse trophy - the Last Ass Award. I have one of only 20 of these trophies given over the last 20-years of racing.


    Should you want to score a Last Ass Award, I will share with you some of my personal secrets:

    1. Have a good friend recruit you to do the race, convincing you that, "You will have no problem at all with the event. Your training and endurance is more than enough to complete the race under 12 hours."
    2. Preride the course with said friend, so that you know roughly how much time each section of the course might take for your given fitness.
    3. On race day, line up with joy and confidence that because you've completed Ironman, 50k trail runs, multi-day bike tours and other various endurance achievements, this race will be just another long day of endurance fun. Additionally, your friend said it will be no problem.
    4. Be certain to take your time in the aid station areas. I recommend standing in line for chicken soup at the top of Columbine. Be sure to thank the volunteers and hang around to chat a bit.
    5. Your crew is important to your success. A great time to pose for multiple photos is at Twin Lakes Inbound. Be sure to chat with the other support people (that you may or may not know) that have been hanging with your crew.
    6. At every opportunity, get in the port-a-potty lines. Don't pass an opportunity to be more comfortable.
    7. After visiting the port-a-potty at Pipeline, take the time to lube your bike chain and again visit with support crew members. It would be rude to rush off.
    8. Continue blissful riding until the Powerline Inbound push. What a nice opportunity to get off of the bike for awhile.
    9. At the bottom of Haggerman Pass, calculate the remaining time to the finish line. Now is the time to engage that sweet rush of adrenaline, "If I don't time trial the rest of the way, I won't be an official finisher."
    10. At Carter Summit, recalculate the remaining time to finish. Relish the support of one person there that says, "You're not going to make it."
    11. No matter what anybody says and how you feel, don't give up.
    12. Once off of the dirt Boulevard and onto the pavement, calculate the speed necessary to cross the finish line under 12 hours. Visualize a ride you do at home that is the same distance, you can achieve in at the necessary speed. Ride slightly faster than that speed.
    13. After you've climbed the last, cruel hill, ride to the finish line with everything you have left. Imagine a Tour de France climb with the crowd closing in and screaming at you - live it.
    14. Ride across the finish line only to hear the sound of a shotgun, seconds after you've arrived and before you've come to a full stop.
    15. Relish the adrenaline (which doesn't stop for days) and hugs from Marilee and Ken. Enjoy the finisher's medal like you've won an Olympic race.

    The 5-second buffer finish strategy is a thrill, to say the least.

    I'll leave you with the thought that Last Ass to first in class is possible with the right training and racing strategy.


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