Starting to make plans for altitude acclimation. Looking to spend 3ish weeks to get acclimated to at least 9k.
Not sure where the first two weeks will be, preferably at 9k (Frisco or someplace on the eastern slope?) but the last week through race day at Copper depending on prices, I’ve actually found a place at Copper that’s $110 a night with a kitchen which is about as good a price as I’ve found and it might be worth the extra to not have to pull up stakes.
Are you interested in staying in Breck? It’s 10 minutes south and pending where you stay, you can just hop on trails to get you up to 12K without getting in a car. It is a bit higher (I live just above town at 10K) but you could ride for two weeks and not do the same loop twice.
Though, good thing about Frisco is you can ride to Breck via Peaks or the rec path. Some great road riding too.
Copper is alright. The trails on the mountain are getting better. The CT up to Searle Pass is amazing. Plus, closer to Leadvegas if you want a shorter trip to do some preriding. I’d recommend the dirty triangle if you haven’t done it yet. 33miles and 5K of climbing. Brutual gravel road climb out of Camp Hale. Could be a good simulation. $110/night is pretty solid.
Frisco is only ~10 minutes further than Copper. Elevation is a little lower, but more going on in Frisco than Copper.
Breck is another ~10 minutes (depending on where you are in town) and has a LOT more going on than Frisco or Leadville for that matter.
I personally come straight from Sea Level to over 10K and it hasn’t bothered me. It’s pretty individual so if you haven’t done it before starting lower is better. Last year I rented a place in Alma / Fairplay and got a great place, just in the middle of nowhere and the riding could have been better (Worked great for Altitude Acclimation, and working during the days)
This year I rented a place ~10 minutes outside of LV for the two weeks before the race (Out 24 towards Ski Cooper). I personally enjoyed doing as many rides as I can on the course. I’m waiting until after the lottery to see if friends get in and what their plans are, but I’ll probably have rooms available for people looking for a place.
Book something now that you can cancel, it’s only going to get worse from an availability perspective.
An alternative to consider: 9k feet is quite high, and your sleep may suffer. Avon or Edwards on the other side of Vail pass are at 7.5k feet. Yes, less acclimatization, but maybe better sleep and recovery.
I’ve never spent 3 weeks at 9k+ but I live full time at 6k and I can’t overstate how bad I sleep at 10k.
Maybe that’s the part that gets better with a few weeks, but I feel like a lot of of claims of the toll of acclimatization where “your body is tired because it’s exerting itself to produce more red blood cells” are really just the effects of sleeping like crap.
I feel like the sleep thing is personal. I sleep like crap at first when I get to altitude, but get to a point where I’m fine. And, being there for the two weeks before the race, I felt great this year leading into it.
It’s really great to see it end a bit differently this year
is it though? I’m sincerely happy for everyone (not just the show participants) who worked hard to get this done, whether they achieved their goal or not (because it truly doesn’t matter if you gave it all). But what the season 3 of FTGU kinda shows is that… LT100 is not THAT hard. People who are staying generally active and healthy, can just sprinkle that with some (4 months!) specific training and get Leadville done. Am I getting it wrong?
Yes and no. The MTB piggybacks on the aura and history of the run which really is “that” hard. I don’t think the MTB would have the mythos it does today if the run event never existed.
Still, compare it to other things that are widely recognized as being very difficult like Ironman and the LT100 MTB is actually much more selective. Ironman has far more generous cutoff times for those looking to just finish.
Spoilers:All that said, let’s look at our finishers. Kawika - retired professional athlete whose occupation is stay at home dad to kids who are old enough to been school most of the day. Has time, money, decades of experience training very hard, and to boot they showed a shot of his garage where he had multiple other bikes. Kawika had a riding history, just not MTB experience.
Monish - 24 year old male who at least according to the video stated he had no other real obligations besides working and training. Still impressive that he finished, but only by about 20 minutes. Wish they showed more detail, but I’d guess he trained the most diligently of any of the past participants.
Brindley - young, no kids, riding history (just not MTB) and “finished” over 1.5 hours past the official race finish time cutoff in no small part because the race organizers bent the rules to let her through cutoffs she clearly missed. No disrespect to her at all, still very impressive she stuck it through but she wasn’t anywhere close to finishing the race in terms of the official race finish of 12 hours.
I don’t think the race is some mythical thing, but I also don’t FGTU to be particularly damning evidence.
You can also look at who didn’t finish from that group - Amani Toomer was a former NFL Wide Receiver for the Giants. Maybe not known for endurance in (american) football, but a former elite level professional athlete. In one of the earlier episodes he has a riding history, and reached out to get Kawika interested. Sounded like he wasn’t able to put in the effort and consistency of the rest of that group, but got pulled at Pipeline inbound. Who knows, maybe he took it for granted based on his background. And, Kawika was a Linebacker and an even bigger guy.
So, I don’t think it’s some mythical accomplishment either, but not in the realm of just pull it off off the couch with a little bit of getting in shape, it is a serious accomplishment for every one of them, and it can be as hard and soul crushing as you want to make it.
Not sure I know how to interpret that. I think Leadville is hard for everyone who finishes, whether that’s a pro who finishes sub 7 or for people who squeak in under the 12 hr cutoff. For me, Leadville has been the hardest days I’ve ever done on a bike.
Not certain that is the best comparison…the majority of Boston participants get entry through qualifying while the majority of entrants in Leadville get in through the lottery (I believe).
That said, I think we (collectively) often underestimate how challenging events like Leadville are…for those of us who participate in endurance training, such events are largely achievable to us all. For those getting “off the couch”, they are massive endeavors and extremely challenging. Same thing for Ironman races and marathons.
I remember when the enormity of a full IM hit me…I was flying to Asia and was about 10 hours into a 14 hour flight and I was exhausted. I thought “when I do the IM, I will likely still be on the run (but hopefully finishing soon), but will have been in motion this entire time”
That’s the key point. Lots of people could ride Leadville and finish in the time limit even though it is hard for plenty of folks. BUT, racing it is a whole different thing. Anyone who says it isn’t hard or isn’t a mtb race most likely hasn’t actually done it. If it isn’t hard, you aren’t trying hard enough.
For those of us who are flying to the race, what’s the best way to get from Denver (I assume) to Leadville? When I ski in Colorado there is usually a bus service I can jump on to get into town. I’d prefer not to rent a car, as I plan to stay for a week and enjoy the area so the car would just sit there for most of the week.
Setting a minimum qualification time to enter the race/lottery is probably at odds with the sprit/culture of the race. It’s always been a race with fast folks at the pointy end and folks with no chance of making the time cuts. They could definitely reduce the number of folks not making the cutoff (and give those spots to faster riders) if they required a qualification time, but I think it goes back to Lifetime wanting to create the perception that these are hard events that many won’t complete (at least not on their first try). And honestly, some of the best stories from these races happen at the back, nobody cares about including one more dude who can comfortably finish within the time cuts.