• Last Minute Tips for First Time Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Racers

    If all goes well, I will complete my 10th Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race this year. In the last 15 years, I've coached and helped several racers successfully complete the race and others have achieved PRs (personal records). All of this experience can help you too.

    If you are racing this year or plan to race the event in the future, here are a few last minute tips that might help:

    Altitude. If you are arriving shortly before the race, one of the first things you will notice is that your breathing is labored and any small effort – like climbing a couple of stairs – makes your heart rate increase noticeably. This is caused by the altitude. When you head out to ride a climb like St. Kevin's before or during the race, you may find that an effort that seems manageable when you begin becomes extremely labored on the steep climbs. Stay calm and do what you need to do to reduce your effort. This may mean getting off the bike and pushing for a stretch until your body adjusts. Given some patience and dialing back your effort, you will be able to get back on the bike and ride again.

    A-Line. On any of the climbs or descents there will be an a-line or the line that is best. Take the line when you can. If you must walk, as nearly everyone will, give the a-line to people that are still riding. Move yourself to the side of the trail when you are pushing.

    Ask. If you are following someone and they are going slower than you prefer, ask if you can pass when it is safe. If someone is following you and it seems they might be stronger, ask if they would like to get around you. There are some flat-ish, windy sections where it is advantageous to everyone to work a paceline. If you notice riders near you, ask if they would like to work together in a paceline. Sometimes people look like they might be in trouble, feeling really bad – ask if they need help.

    Attitude. At some point, or many points, during the race everyone feels bad – even the pros. The causes of feeling bad are many. It might be pace, weather, nutrition, other riders, etc. Rather than dwelling on the negative, you must ask yourself what you can do right now to keep your race progressing in a positive manner. It might be as simple as making a goal to crest the next climb. Turning around a bad attitude and removing yourself from a pity party is critical to your race success.

    Good luck to everyone heading to Leadville. Looking forward to seeing you soon!


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    • Arch says...

      WHOOO!! Can’t wait to get out there Gale! Thanks for all the support.

      On July 30, 2014

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