Leadville 100 MTB 2019

I’m not Nate, but ran the Ralph/Burt combo a few years ago. The reason to run something with more grip up front is primarily for the descents down Columbine, Sugarloaf, and Kevins. Especially on Columbine, there are a bunch of switchbacks that are dirt/small gravel and it’s fairly easy to wash out. Nice to have some side knobs on the front tire to make that less likely.

Whatever you do, run a rear tire with some sidewall protection. There are a few spots where, due to speed or oncoming traffic, it’s tough to pick a clean line and fairly easy to slice a sidewall. Just my 2 cents… hope you have a great race!

How about keeping Racing Ray on front with Thunder Burt on back…? Just thinking out loud.

Definitely a good option.

For the front, if sticking with Schwalbe, I would suggest either Racing Ray in Speedgrip or the prior generation Racing Ralph in Speed compound.

What are thoughts on the Vittoria Terreno cross country tire for Leadville?

Terreno Cross Country

I am a pretty confident rider as far as ability/handling and everything I have read is there is not much to handle on Leadville to justify a knobby tire; which makes most go for the “fastest” available tire with good protection as their preferred option? Seems like this could be a nice “fast” tire for dry conditions (Ill pack a back up set of tires if I went this route), maybe faster then Aspens based on the metrics? Cant find a ton of reviews on it being newer.4

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I have not ridden that tire but it definitely “looks” fast with pretty minimal tread, even less so than a Thunder Burt. As a rear it may be ok and possible excel on a lot of the course. It doesn’t look like it has much in terms of puncture protection and that could be a concern on some of the fast rocky descents - thinking Powerline and Sugarloaf out and inbound.

While Leadville has a lot of areas where this tire should excel, like the road stretches and the smoother double track sections, there definitely are a few spots where having some more bite in the rear could be helpful. I’m thinking of some of the upper portions of Columbine (but a good chance you’ll have to walk these stretches on race day so may not matter), that one steep short hill coming back from Twin Lakes to Powerline Aid stations, Sugarloaf outbound and Pipeline inbound.

That being said, like anything it is a tradeoff. I’m sure it will be nice to have something really fast rolling on the slog back to town after the St. Kevins descent…

One other tidbit: Talking with some of the Specialized riders, it seems Fast Traks are their go-to for Leadville. One told me he rides them at higher pressure (27 - 28 psi) due to the softer sidewalls as compared to something like a Snakeskin Schwalbe that would be run closer to 20 psi (155lb rider).

I just bought one to test drive. I also bought some Stan’s race sealant and will probably try it out the week prior to Leadville to see how I like it. If it’s fast enough it might be worth the weight penalty to toss a spare tire or a boot/tube combination in a hydration pack.

I also bought a Thunder Burt and Race King to try as well. I already have Ikons and a Racing Ralph so hopefully there is a good combination in there somewhere.

First comment on Conti Race Kings - aren’t they one of the fastest treads? That throws a cat amongst the pigeons!!

The race King pros certainly have low rolling resistance, but thunder Burt lower by 1 watt according to this:


The biggest reason to run the race king pros IMO is their flat protection - best tire on the list.

Would be nice to see the aspens added to this table.

I ordered a Vittoria Terreno, a Conti Race King and a Schwalbe Thunder Burt. I already had Fast traks, Ikons and Racing Ralphs around the garage.

The Terreno is interesting. It came in at 680grams which is heavier than I thought it would for a 2.25 with very little tread. The sidewalls on this tire are insanely thin. They won’t hold shape at all, they just collapse when standing up unmounted. I read that they were thin but they are crazy thin. I really wanted to run this on the rear for PBville but that sidewall is so thin I just don’t see it being worth the risk. I haven’t seen any rolling resistance data on the tire but I would guess that it would be faster rolling than virtually anything. It’s I’m sure an extremely fast tire that would be great on a dry course without any sharp rock but it’s probably just too thin on the sidewalls for my taste.

The Conti is the 2.2 Race King. Right out of the box it just feels like a tough tire. The sidewalls are thick and look very abrasion resistant. When not mounted on the wheel it will stand up and hold it’s shape well, definitely has some stiff sidewalls. The one I received was 780 grams out of the package. I think if flat resistance is key and rolling resistance matters more than weight, this is the tire that checks that box. It is heavy though, definitely heavy enough to consider what other options might be out there.

The Thunder Burt is also a 2.25. It was 560g out of the package. The sidewalls feel thinner than the Conti but it isn’t a dramatic difference. Either tire feels like an armed fortress when compared to the Terreno. For sidewall protection I would feel comfortable with the Burt although it feels like the Conti is just a bit thicker. If sidewall protection is the key ingredient, I would say the Conti has the advantage. For rolling resistance, the Burt looks fast but I haven’t tested it on the bike. The tests that I have seen put it near the Conti in terms of resistance and from that standpoint I would say they are probably close enough to not matter. I think you probably sacrifice a bit of puncture resistance vs. the Conti, have similar rolling resistance, but lose a pound if you consider the front and rear tires.

In summary, if a pound of rolling resistance matters to you, I don’t see how you can go wrong with the Burts. If you want to finish on a fast tire and feel good about not worry about flatting, the Contis would get the edge. They are noticeably thicker and tougher feeling than any other tire I own. The Torreno’s, I just don’t see me being able to trust that sidewall over a 9 hour race. I would say they are the fastest and probably by a wide margin but they aren’t the lightest and those sidewalls are scary. So they only check one box vs. the others for me.

From a handling standpoint I don’t have an opinion but I don’t consider PBville to be much of a bike handling challenge so to me they are probably all about the same. I’m going to take all of them up there a week prior to the race and will post any updates as we get closer to race day.

I’m leaning towards ordering a 2.1 Thunder Burt and running those front (2.25) and rear (2.1).


My race king pros weigh 635g. Not sure why there’s such a big difference vs the tires you got…

That’s a big difference! At that weight I don’t know why you would run anything else for this event.

Yeah… I had a terrible qualifier and I’m in purple. I was really hoping to get in the first wave and was also thinking it will be nearly impossible to catch the right groups in the first wave.

@Nate_Pearson did you start in White last year?

I was in Green. Jonathan is in Silver this year.

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He told me. I’m slightly jealous. A couple of friends doing the race with me are in Silver and Red. I’ll hope for the best!

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The Pipeline return time looks a little off. I’ve seen as high as 6:20 for 9 hour finish. 55 - 60 mins for Twin Lakes to Pipeline segment would be about right.


The nice part is, if you line up at the front of white you’re pretty much green.

With the gaps now there will probably be a lot less traffic and I bet you could hook up with the fast green people.

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Nice! I like the sounds of that. Thanks for the tip. Can’t wait for the race.

Here are the corals and their corresponding waves. Green is two waves ahead of white.

Wave #1: Gold, Silver, Red – 6:30 a.m. Start

Wave #2: Green, Purple ~ 6:34 a.m. Start

Wave #3: Orange, Blue ~ 6:38 a.m Start

Wave #4: White ~ 6:42 a.m. Start

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I think Nate likely meant if you line up at the front of purple (the corral @christhornham is in), you’re pretty much in green. That’s my plan also.


Oh yes, I meant purple! Chris is in Purple so he’s pretty much Green.

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