Let the Countdown Begin: The Leadville Trail 100
This Saturday’s Leadville Trail 100® (LT100) Mountain Bike Race will see nearly 2,000 riders at the start line to take on the grueling race course. According to race producers with Life TimeSM, the race will see a healthy list of returning pro-athletes from around the globe.
Back this year are defending champions Todd Wells (United States) and Sally Bigham (Great Britain) as well as second and third place finishers from 2014 Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) and Kristian Hynek (Czech Republic). Past winner and course record holder Alban Lakata (Austria) is set to return in addition to two-time defending champion and women’s course record holder Sally Bigham (Great Britain), Amy Beisel (United States) 2015 Leadville Stage Race winner and four-time Olympian Katerina Nash (Czech Republic).
LT100 Champion Rebecca Rusch will return to the race this year as an ambassador for the Phoenix Patriot Foundation (PPF). With a record-breaking four Leadville championships under her belt, mountain bike icon Rusch is now giving back to help military veterans through the foundation’s cycling program. She hopes to help veterans as they empower themselves by crossing the LT100 finish line. Instead of leading the pack in the main group of pro-riders, Rusch will pedal alongside American hero Matt Dewitt from the PPF cycling team, offering inspiration, motivation, and expertise all the way to the finish.
“As a member of a military family, I have a deep understanding of the sacrifices that the military make and also how the bike can be an essential tool for therapy and recovery,” stated Rusch. These personal ties are what fueled her desire to join forces with Phoenix Patriot Foundation Team at this Saturday’s start line, sharing her race expertise to support their efforts to shatter limits and reach the finish line.
Adding to a strong pro field, other participants are racing to raise awareness for organizations like First Descents, Phoenix Patriot Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery, World Bicycle Relief and more. On the local level, Leadville’s Ty Hall will be entered as Transamerica’s Tomorrow Chaser to help raise money for the Leadville Legacy Foundation. As the “chaser,” Hall starts at the back of the race and Transamerica donates $5 to the local foundation for every cyclist he passes. This will be Hall’s 14th Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.
Additional highlights of athletes participating include:
- Wendy Skean hopes to be the first 71-year-old women to finish in less than 12 hours. In 2005 at age 61, she finished in 11:24:36 to become the first 60 year old women to finish under 12 hours—a record she still holds.
- Pearly Van Nierkerk, originally from Zimbabwe, is racing to raise awareness and money for Zimbabwe children’s charities. This is her first attempt in the Leadville 100 MTB.
- Roger Mankus last year completed his 2,000 mile buckle. In 2015 Mankus will be gunning for his 21st Leadville Trail 100 MTB marking his participation in all but one race.
For spectators, here’s a timeline of the day, so be sure to cheer on all the racers!
- The entire pool of competitors will start the Leadville 100 MTB at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 15.
- 12:30-1:30 p.m. is when winners and top finishers are expected to cross the finish line in downtown Leadville.
- 3:30 p.m. is the 9-hour cut-off time for the gold and silver trophy buckle.
- 6:30 p.m. will mark the 12-hour final cut-off time for completion of the race and the silver buckle.
The internationally renowned bike race is a 100-mile “Race Across the Sky” at elevations ranging from 10,152 to 12,424 feet through the punishing terrain of the Colorado Rockies. For more details, see this year’s Leadville Trail 100 MTB Athlete Guide.