Leadville 2021 Thread

It can definitely vary. Have you been riding a lot in the Texas heat? Some have suggested heat training helps with altitude since there may be some overlap in the adaptions such as increased plasma volume and hematocrit. With Leadville being cool, you may have benefitted from the cooler temps and then not been hit quite as hard by the altitude.

Coming nine nights before and staying at altitude will help. My own experience is that after 7 days I feel the altitude a lot less. Team Sky reported in the past that 7 day altitude camps were ideal for their riders.

Given the length of Leadville, you might want to shoot for 0.7 IF during the first half. If your FTP is accurate, I think 0.75 in the first half might be a little risky. After Columbine, if you are feeling great, then you can start to push a little harder knowing you are in the back half. The big test is Powerline at Mile 80. On race day this is probably the biggest challenge on the course. If you feel good after that, you are golden and can drop the hammer until the finish.

Would also like to hear from others but I DM’ed Jonathan on a similar question and he said he pedaled up Columbine and his finish was ~8:15.

It’s been cooler than normal here in Texas, but I am well adapted to riding in the heat. I like your thoughts on starting at .7 and adjusting at Columbine. Totally agree on PL - just glad I got to ride and see it all before the actual race. I got the .75 IF from Jonathan when he did Leadville but understand I am not him…lol

Most certainly. Count yourself lucky if you didn’t suffer any huge effects. I personally really struggle with the altitude coming from sea level. The charts I’ve seen say to adjust your power down ~15% for 10K feet of altitude if you are acclimated and even more if you are not. That’s inline with what I see. The biggest discomfort for me is the breathing. I am sucking wind and suffering at 230 watts in leadville and I can ride at 270 watts comfortably holding a conversation at sea level. It’s almost a sensation of drowning or suffocating. The legs are OK, but I hate the constant gasping for air. Hard to eat and drink. I’ve never properly acclimated, I always get a little less than a week in. Some people say it’s best to arrive the day of the race or one day prior if you can’t get up there for 2+ weeks prior. I can tell you that wouldn’t work for me. I’ve tried to ride day of arrival and the following day, and I suffer bad. After about 3 days, I’m doing much better, but I still see the huge power drop off and rapid breathing.

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It was really weird, I only had shortness of breath when off the bike. When on the bike, my breathing and heart rate was very similar to Texas. I cant figure it out. I guess just enjoy it and go on. Both at race and at camp - I did try some VO2 efforts and I did notice recovery was slower, but not crazy slow. and I was able to get back into temp/SS pretty easily. The recovery was a kin to instead of two min to recover it was more like four, when I was expecting it to take like a half hour or more to recover. This riding/racing at elevation is so new to me I don’t know what do to expect or how to act…lol

Yesterday I finished my first ever bike race, the Silver Rush 50 in Leadville. My goal was just to gain experience and finish, I ended up crossing the line at 6:36, and definitely learned a lot along the way.

Aside from the last climb, I felt pretty comfortable holding around 180-190 watts which is right in the middle of zone 2 for me. Considering it’s above 10k feet the whole time, that may be the very top of my zone 2 or even low tempo. I didn’t push my pace, tried to stay “conversational” that’s not to say I wasn’t hurting at the end, especially on the last climb.

The Leadville 100 will be longer, but from what I understand not as steep and chunky (lots of hike a bike in SR50). For those who have done the SR50 and Leadville, is mid/high zone 2 (not factoring elevation) a realistic pace for the climbs? Also, I am thinking of setting my stretch goal at sub 10 hours for Leadville. I know I can push the pace harder than yesterday, is that doable based on my result, or should I reconsider my goal?

Thanks!
Alex

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Haven’t done SR50, but I’ve done Leadville a few times. I haven’t done it with power but I will be pacing with power this year. @Jonathan was on the Leadville 100 podcast a while back, and he paced at 70% of his altitude-adjusted FTP. I think he said at the end of this podcast that he could have probably been a little bit more conservative than this, but it sounded like he finished with something left in the tank(?).

Sauce:

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Super helpful thank you!

To get sub 10 in the 100, you’ll need to ride at a relatively faster pace vs what you did at the Silver Rush.

An estimate of your 100 time is about 1.8x your Silver Rush time (used to be 1.7x based on the old Silver Rush course, but the 2021 course is shorter vs the old course). That would put you just below 12 hrs for the 100.

Using the 1.8x multiplier, you would have had to ride the Silver Rush in about 5:30 to be on track for sub 10 at the 100.

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IME these are two VERY different races. Other than the location/elevation, they felt very different for me. SR is a leg and lung buster, straight up or straight down. LT100 has a few very long flat stretches and requires more endurance for obvious reasons. From an RPE standpoint, I would expect to dial back your effort 10-15% for LT100 vs SR50.
Also, having a group can make a huge difference in LT100 across the flats in the middle vs. SR50 feels more like a traditional MTB race, ITT style. During LT100 you need to save something early for Columbine, and then save something late for powerline. The top of Columbine is more like the SR50 climbs, rugged and loose and chunky.

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Thanks for this, I often set my expectations too high. I did pace really conservative on the SR50, but 10 hours may be too aggressive for a goal. I might just set a power average goal for the climbs and let the time sort itself out. It’s interesting that they set the cutoff for Leadville at 12 hours and at 8:20 for the SR50, that does not jive at all with the 1.7 or 1.8 multiplier, but I have no idea what factors in to setting the cutoff time.

I was surprised at how chunky it was, way more hike a bike than I expected, and really had to focus on the descents! I hope I can sync up with some groups on the flats, although I have ZERO experience with drafting. Also hoping being a heavier rider (almost 200lb) benefits me on the flats, because it sure won’t on the climbs!

I wouldn’t judge much from the cutoff times. The 1.7x multiplier for the old course is based on the analysis I linked to in the post above, and matches my own experience. The multiplier of about 1.8 is what I have observed from my own experience with the new course.

Course, that multiplier is just an average. Some people are faster, others slower than that. At 200lbs, you may be faster as there are more flats in the 100 (and if you rode conservatively in the SR and could have rode faster)

The SR is for sure more chunky on average than the 100. All in, I’d say there is a longer duration (in minutes) of hike-a-bike in the 100, but a lower fraction of the overall race. The goat trail on Columbine, and lower part of Powerline is all hike a bike for most mortals.

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I’ve done the stage race and rode the first 80 miles of the leadville course solo last at a pretty deliberate pace. I made it to the base of power line and it was staring to rain and I used it as an excuse to nail. I did the stage race in 8:05 and they say add an hour for the single day race. On my 80 mile test ride last year, my NP was right at 70% of my altitude adjusted ftp and I think I could have gutted out another 2.5 hours or so with race motivation.

I’m shooting for sub 9 and I think everything will need to go perfect to have a shot. I was about 30 minutes off a 9 hour pace at mile 80 on my pre ride , but im hoping race day motivation and some drafting can find some time. I’m planning to target 73% of my altitude adjusted ftp as my np. I’m knocking 13% off my ftp for altitude coming from near sea level. I’ll only be up there a week prior, so not sure that’s enough of a percentage adjustment.

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I did SR50 yesterday as well. NP was 183W, which is ~66% of FTP. The long climbs averaged around 70-75%, so upper end of Z2. Definitely spiked higher when needed to clear shorter tech sections, but then would dial back to recover and build back closer to tempo.

Finish time was 4:58 with little walking, and those cases were mostly due to hike-a-bikers blocking the only rideable line or falling in front of me. I attribute this to two things, having a 30T ring and having deliberately steady pacing to not head into those sections too close to HR threshold. That last part I think is key. % of FTP really doesn’t matter if you’re at Z2 power and Z4 heart rate. For me sustained Z2 power is Z4 HR at 12,000ft. There’s not much room to go harder without blowing up.

This is the first year I’ve had MTB power so I can’t compare my previous SR50 finishes or my 1 previous LT100 finish in terms of % of FTP. Overall though I certainly don’t plan on riding the LT100 at a higher % of FTP, I need to dial in my nutrition to hold that pace longer.

Back to your situation. I would not advise pacing any higher % of FTP than yesterday unless you felt you had a LOT left in the tank at the end. Columbine is a monster and if you think you have a lot left in you then you have ample time after that to go for a negative split.

I also don’t think sub-10 is a realistic goal based on 6:36 finish on the new SR50 course. I get that it’s a stretch goal, but I think there’s a risk that you’d blow up and have worse overall time (both literally and in terms of enjoyment) if you went out pacing for sub-10 vs focusing on riding within yourself, enjoying the day and being comfortably under 12.

Best of luck to you at the race.

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That 30T chain ring makes a ton of sense. This might be hard to believe with my finishing time, but I was riding a lot of sections others weren’t, especially between the 1st and 2nd aid stations. But I had to either do it at a low cadence (50-60) or spike my heart rate a lot.

I had over 30 minutes of stopped time, all because my feet hurt, I just got used to clipless pedals and the shoes. I only stopped for less than a minute at aid stations.

Looking into your comments I had to check my NP, but I don’t fully know what it means, need to do some reading up, I was about 58% of FTP.

Good luck!

And great job finishing sub 5 hours!!!

Eliminating stopped time is low hanging fruit. Were the shoes too tight? Not a good insole?

Yes just a stock insole on a $119 shoe. Upgrading insole was my first thought, that was a game changer in backpacking and mountaineering for me.

I’m the only guy out there with an expensive custom bike with hacked Assioma MTB pedals and a cheap ass shoe :joy: