Keeping Things Spinning: A Female’s Perspective
This Friday, August 9 there will be a “Women Ride the World” panel discussion held from 2 – 3 p.m. at the Race Across The Sky Expo. The event is being produced by the Leadville Race Series and promoted as an opportunity to “explore the inclusion of women in cycling, specifically mountain biking, and ways to encourage and promote women in the industry, both on and off the bike.” The discussion will be moderated by Jenn Dice with the People4Bikes organization.
Cycling fans should also take note as the event will see the return of 4x Leadville Trail 100 (LT100) Mountain Bike Champion Rebecca Rusch as she participates in the forum sharing her experiences. In addition, 2019 also marks the 10 year anniversary of Rusch’s first LT100 Championship as she blazed the trail for women’s cycling and laid the tracks to a legacy that’s been hard to beat at 10,200 feet! This Friday, Rusch will celebrate that milestone occasion with a major announcement after the panel discussion, so come down and get inspired!
Friday’s discussion will be comprised of women leaders in the cycling world and also include pro-rider Rose Grant and Leadville locals Merilee Maupin and Roxanne Hall. According to race organizers, the panel is part of their “Women Ride the World” campaign. Here’s what Leadville Today can share so far.
Women Ride The World Panelists:
Merilee Maupin is the co-founder of the LT100 race series and LT100 Race Director Emeritus (the title retired with her). Maupin became Race Director for the Leadville Trail 100 races in 1983 and held that position until 2010 when she and business partner Ken Chlouber sold the business. In March 2016, Maupin was honored with a Sportswoman of Colorado award, recognizing Colorado’s outstanding female athletes, coaches, mentors and others who have contributed to girls’ and women’s athletics. While lovingly known as the best medal hanger and finish-line hugger, Maupin’s first-hand knowledge of the sport and dedication to advancing females athletes will surely shine through at this event. Come, hear her wisdom and celebrate her accomplishments.
Roxanne Hall is a familiar face around main street and up on the big screen. Readers may recall Hall’s feature in the 2009 “Race Across The Sky” film which chronicled her recovery from a tragic cycling accident during a training ride which left her with multiple life-threatening injuries and a long road to recovery. Hall is a 17-time LT100 MTB finisher and also a lead guide in the LT100 MTB Training Camps held annually every summer in Leadville. Roxanne and her husband and Leadville Legacy cyclist Ty own the Tennessee Pass Cookhouse and Nordic Center in Leadville. Hall knows these mountains and the course like the back of her hand and can provide those trail tips to get you across the finish line! Come and hear it from a Leadville expert!
Rose Grant is a pro-cyclist that is anticipated to participate in the panel, but according to race organizers is unconfirmed at the time of this posting. Readers may refer to her cycling bio as outlined below in the accompanying story. Hope to see you there, Rose as well as the other female pros!
Rebecca Rusch marks the 10-year anniversary of her first iconic LT100 MTB victory in 2009 as she returns to Leadville to participate in the panel. There’s little doubt that this champion brings the most experience to a “Women Ride The World” discussion, as it pretty much summarises the professional athlete’s past decade. From a first-ride LT100 victory that would set into motion an on-fire career, Rusch’s international accomplishments include podium championships across the globe, from La Ruta in Costa Rica to the desserts of Morroco, to the trails in Iceland. All of these travels inspired her to start her own race, and in 2013 Rebecca’s Private Idaho was launched. Last year, the race boasted a 35% female participation and was SOLD OUT.
When she is not spinning out on the trails, you can find Rusch riding her bike on the big screen in any number of movies including the locally-beloved “Race Across The Sky” movies – the 2009 and 2010 editions, as well as her most personal film to date, and now an Emmy-Award winning documentary “Blood Road,” which chronicles Rusch’s search for her fathers remains and memory along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Her experiences have prompted a book, “Rusch To Glory,” which she launched in Leadville during her 2014 race.
Whenever Rebecca is in Leadville, she’s giving back, so stop by, say hi and show your support. Then be sure to stay after the panel, as in celebration of the 10-year anniversary of her first LT100 MTB victory Rebecca will be making a major announcement. Come and get inspired and uplifted by one of the true champions in Women’s Cycling today.
Women’s Line-Up for 2019 LT100 MTB
In the early years of cycling in Lake County, it was a men’s sport, but the ladies did not allow that haughty attitude to persist for long. By the early 1890s, a local journalist reported: “the cycle craze broke out with something like a fury, affecting all grades and conditions of men and extending in somewhat milder form to the fair sex.”
And true to its genesis in Lake County, the ladies of the sport have not allowed the men to dominate the headlines of cycling news, at least not in Leadville. So on Wednesday, August 7 when Life Time® distributed its official press release to media outlets regarding the LT100 MTB Race to be held this Saturday, there seemed to be a glaring gap. The document, which readers may find in full HERE, highlights more than a dozen male athletes, not all of whom are pros.
While the corporate PR announcement did make mention of the top three women pros who will also be at the LT100 MTB start line, no bios, athletic accomplishments or sponsorship profiles were listed. So Leadville Today is here to fill-in-the-blanks, by providing the following overviews. It’s this media outlet’s way of helping to “encourage and promote women in the industry, both on and off the bike,” for these accomplished, professional athletes who – no doubt – train longer, and fight harder for their podium victories.
It’s time to cheer on these dedicated athletes, both on course and online. This is the year to raise your voices high in support of Women in Cycling!
Nina Laughlin is a 27-year-old is a professional cyclist from Brevard, North Carolina. Most recently the pro’s latest victory was made right here in Leadville when she clinched the title at last month’s Leadville Stage Race. Laughlin’s cycling career started off on a road bike in 2017 and she quickly racked up some podium championships. Then in 2017, an illness sidelined her journey and left her wondering when she would be able to race again. But doubts were laid to rest after a recovery period and a new-found love of gravel riding. Laughlin’s athletic prowess would be put to the test several times this year and she came back a winner, clinching victories at both the Southern Cross gravel race in Georgia, and in Stillwater, Oklahoma for the 2019 Land Run 100, before crushing it at last month’s stage race. Laughlin’s podium call could see a repeat on Saturday as she has proven she knows the Leadville course.
Sarah Sturm hails from Colorado and calls Durango home. Like many strong cycling contenders in the state, Sturm sharpened her chops at Fort Lewis College. However, her growing reputation for bike challenges and choices seem to dominate her news feed. Case in point was last year’s Iron Horse Bicycle Classic where Sturm placed second in the women’s pro road race on a borrowed bike. Mountain bike shoes still intact, she still rode away from the competition en route to the Iron Horse podium. Later in 2018, with the proper bike, she claimed the national championship in the single speed category at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships. Sturm, 29, started her 2019 season at the Sea Otter Bicycle Classic, as she jumped into the pro women’s criterium road race. She rode a gravel bike and still conquered the rest of the field. Keep an eye on Strum as no doubt she’s gathered plenty of course tips from many of her Durango neighbors who seem to dominate the course in the men’s field.
Rose Grant, is a professional mountain biker who makes Montana her home and rides for the Stan’s-Pivot Pro Team. While 2018 was an off-road year as Grant recovered from a broken leg, she’s back in the saddle for 2019 and ready to take on the Leadville Challenge. You can read more of her Women in Cycling journey HERE.
Please join Leadville Today in welcoming all these dedicated female athletes by attending this Friday’s Women Ride The World panel at the LT100 MTB Expo. The expo is located at the corner of Poplar and 6th Streets, aka the new “gravel” park. The discussion starts at 2 p.m. and should last about an hour. Then be sure to stay around as Rebecca Rusch will be making an exciting announcement. It’s time to celebrate Women in Cycling – join the celebration!