14 August 11: Leadville 100!

by hillarybiscay

Yesterday the GCM and I had an iron-spectating kind of day. Except we weren’t spectating an ironman.


We watched our first mountain bike race here, in Leadville, Colorado, the place of legends. I was so excited to see this place and this course for myself, mostly because of my obsession with the lore of ultra-running and Leadville’s place in ultra-running’s history.


However, as it turned out, our friends were coming to Leadville for the mountain biking version of the 100-mile, 10,000-feet-of-elevation-and-up challenge. The two 100-mile courses are actually not exactly the same, but I was excited just to be in the place, and, more importantly, to support our friends Paul (PT) and Jake.

We spent the first half of our day in Twin Lakes, since the riders come through here twice (the course is an out-and-back). It was fairly scenic, in case you couldn’t tell . . .

pt twin lakes

Our friend PT was crushing it like this box of coconut water all day. I am pretty sure he is the most fit 42-year-old I know. It was his first Leadville—actually, I think it may have been his first race on a mountain bike, period.

downtown lville

Sidenote: the town of Leadville looks like this—small and very cute.

pt-noreen post-race

Paul “Keepin’ It Lean” Thomas with his lovely better half, Noreen, and bike sherpa . . . PT finished 24th overall out of the 2000 riders in this race, with a crazy-fast time of 7:13. Until yesterday, I didn’t really have a sense of times for this event, but now I know that this time is freakish.

Most mortals are happy to get the belt buckle that comes with finishing under 12 hours. The race allows finishers until 13 hours, but hours 12-13 are unofficial finishes. The sub-9 belt buckle is the big prize. And Paul went 7:13. Yep he’s  stud.

PT MT HB post-race

All the riders finished wearing masks of dirt. It was epic!

jake finish

This is our friend Jake cruising in for his TENTH Leadville 100 finish, also in an insane time: 7:28 and 38th overall. He has been in the top 3 here multiple times and I am pretty sure he has left part of his soul out there on the course.

jake lv buckles

That massive bottom buckle is what the 15-20 people in the world who have done this race ten times get as a reward. The top buckle is the coveted sub-9 version.

pt smashed

PT sat and stood around socializing for hours after his finish. He is a machine.

If you look closely at this picture, you can spot the Bachelorette family on the right. Turns out Ryan Sutter not only does ironman pretty well, but he is actually an even better mountain biker. He finished in 8:10!

GCM and I were smashed just from watching the whole deal—but equally inspired!

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