Leadville 2021 Thread

Can you drive to the top of Columbine in a family SUV (think Kia Sorento AWD) or is it Jeep trails only? I looked at photo’s from race day at the turn around and it looked like mostly 4x4 vehicles except there was a vendor sprinter van. We’re doing another road trip this summer and I would like to drive up and check out the view. Probably won’t have the bike with me or time to ride up. Although that would be ideal.


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I’ve only ridden it a few times and have never driven it, but I know the sections near the top are pretty sketchy. I think you could drive most of it and then make a decent hike out of the rest of it. I’ve never seen a vehicle at the top, just ATV’s.

Probably not. At the beginning of the goat trail is where it will get challenging for most vehicles.

About where I have dropped the pin on this map is where you can reasonably expect to drive to:

Dropped pin

Fantastic. Really appreciate the info.


I’ve been running the Tannus Armor Tubeless inserts in my rear tire for the super rocky Las Vegas trails. Do you all think this is necessary at leadville?
Pros: More protection against flats . Can run about 2 psi lower pressure.
Cons: Weighs 150g. If I DO puncture with this in, its a bit difficult to get off (though nothing like a cushcore or anything.
FYI I’m a pretty big guy at 6’1", 190lbs and I’m running a Schwalbe Racing Ralph Super Ground (a bit beefier sidewall than the Super Race).

I’m entered in for both the Leadville 50 and 100 and in the Denver area. If there is anyone else in the Front Range looking for someone to go on some long endurance/tempo training rides with or to preview the course with let me know. Always more motivating to train with someone on those long rides.

I’m headed out to the MTB ‘camp’ from July 1st - 4th… Flying in from NJ, and going to try and see how I feel pre-running the course with minimal acclimatization. We’ll see how that goes…

Anyone else headed out to ‘camp’ - or have any general feedback what to expect?

I will be at the Camp next week driving in from Texas from about 3600 ft elevation. Don’t have any other feedback since this is my first time for Camp, Silver Rush, and MTB 100 this year. Signed up for “Camp Only” option since I was already in MTB 100. I wanted some sort of pre-ride before MTB 100 in August and I thought the stage race wouldn’t allow enough recovery while shooting for a sub-9.

Cool! I havent heard much in way of how many people are attending… hoping for a good turnout. My bike’s in the mail already!

This will be my first MTB100 as well, so pre-riding the course also made sense for me.

I’ll figure out what my target pace is going to be after the pre-ride! :slight_smile:

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Can anyone tell me how the aid stations are set up? I won’t have a crew with me so I’m trying to have a good gameplan to get in and out of the stations ASAP. I imagine the athlete guide will be coming out soon but I want to try some stuff out. Questions I hope people could address: How is the Gatorade (or equivalent) doled out? Bottles or cooler with a spigot you fill your own bottles with. I’m assuming all of the ‘food’ is just laid out an you can take what you need. I’m assuming they have gels, fruit etc.


I’m not sure any of those questions can be answered yet since the next race is post-Covid. I’m hoping to get some of the answers you are looking for at the camp this weekend. I will try to report back what I find out.

Good point, things may/probably be different. If you remember to, report back if you get any good information from the camp.

How is the Gatorade (or equivalent) doled out? Bottles or cooler with a spigot you fill your own bottles with. I’m assuming all of the ‘food’ is just laid out an you can take what you need. I’m assuming they have gels, fruit etc.

Last time I did the 100 was in 2018 and I’m struggling to remember the details of exactly how, but I do remember that volunteers would fill your bottles for you. Pretty sure you would hand them off and they’d fill them from big coolers with a spigot. In other races I’ve done since COVID they haven’t wanted volunteers to touch bottles so not sure what they’ll do this year. For the gels/food, they had everything laid out on tables you could grab from, or volunteers would also grab things for you in many cases.

Different topic - I know there’s the separate XC race tire thread but curious what people are thinking about running specifically for Leadville.

I’m between either Conti Race King Protection 2.0 or back to Vittoria Mezcal which I ran previously. I think the Race Kings are lower Crr, but I’m a pretty shite descender and actually slightly worried about the lack of grip on loose over hard on the Race Kings in a few of the higher speed parts descending Columbine and bottom of Powerline. It felt sketch to me in a few spots on the Mezcals and I’d expect Race Kings to be even moreso.

Irony of this course to me is that while it’s not technical, there are a few descents where you can hit way faster speeds than on single track and the consequence of wiping in one of those would be pretty dire.

I ran aspens for the stage race a couple years ago and was happy with them. Planning to run them again this year, but honestly haven’t thought about it. Probably need to get planning. I’m also curious what others are running. No big race is complete without a good tire debate.

“Different topic - I know there’s the separate XC race tire thread but curious what people are thinking about running specifically for Leadville.”

I’m going to ride Rekon Race 2.4" front and Aspen 2.4" rear.

Personally, I am going with 2.35 Ikon front and 2.25 Aspen rear. I think the Ikon (and your Rekon Race) up front is very helpful for the fast descents and can help prevent a ruined day from a washout.

Rode the course last weekend. Conditions were very good, a little less dusty than normal. Was on a FS Supercaliber with Enve M525’s wrapped with Schwalbe Racing Ray 2.25 on the front and Thunder Burt 2.25 rear. Same tires I ran at Leadville in 2019, except I ran a HT that year. Remains a personal choice, but after the weekend riding it confirmed my decision to go FS Supercaliber with dropper this year vs the HT without dropper I rode two years ago. Picked up time on all the descents including two minutes coming down Columbine. Other times on the course were either on par or better. Lots of variables including fitness, but the bike felt great and I didn’t feel fatigued after two days of hard riding covering the full course.

There is a new rocky crossing on Powerline. Descending, it’s a little before the steep graded section. I believe it was built to help channel water down across the road when it rains. It’s rideable, but will likely be a spot a lot of riders stop at on race day if they are not familiar with it.

On the weekend, I noticed the right hand sweeper after the steep, graded section of Powerline was very loose with a lot of sand near the edge. Just be mindful of the corner on race day.

Columbine is rideable all the way to the top right now and all the snow is gone. Goat trail is unchanged.

It sounds like the section between Twin Lakes and Twin Lakes alternate aid has changed slightly to avoid private land. In the past, the private land was opened on race day but I think now they have decided to go around it if I understood things correctly. This would be the same route people used for pre-rides in the past. Not really a big deal.

The Powerline descent on the way out, and the Sugarloaf descent on the way back, and the goat trail at the top of Columbine are the biggest threat to your tires. Bouncing on and over all those rocks at speed is likely where the majority of punctures happen. Definitely a tire with a little extra puncture protection would be worth it, be it a Snakeskin Schwalbe, an EXO Maxxis, etc. Some cornering knobs on the Columbine descent help. The Sugarloaf descent is really fast and rocky, but for the most part very straight. St. Kevin’s has a few turns where traction is important. I think all the fast rolling options people talk about are going to be fine, but don’t skimp on the puncture protection.

They are limiting crew to 2 crew members on the course this year. It sounds like this may be a permanent change to reduce car traffic. They were strongly encouraging to work together with other riders and share crews. No indication that aid stations will be any different and it sounds like they will still be filling bottles with GU Roctane or water out of pitchers. GU remains the sponsor and therefore GU products will be at the aid stations. During the camp they had GU waffles, gels, and new liquid energy (isotonic gel similar to SIS). They no longer had GU chews. Not sure if they will have the chews there on race day.

The Lifetime staff, as well as Ken and Merilee, are all so excited that the races are back this year. It’s going to be a special atmosphere on race day with everyone being a little more appreciative of things after last year’s wipeout. Good luck to everyone during final preparations!


Great intel on the course, thanks for posting. For that detour around the private section, is it just going to be the maintained gravel road that kind of goes left around the land outbound? It will be interesting if they make ant other course adjustments to keep the mileage the same because I think the road adds 2-3 miles (can’t recall exact distance, but remember it being a bit of a detour). I’ll need all the help I can get hitting my target time, a couple of extra miles would be significant.

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In my 2016 go at the race, I took the outside of this turn and another rider was not confident in their traction and ran me straight of the road into a tree. Luckily didn’t end my day and had a great finish, but this curve is sketchy!