Leadville 2021 Thread

Right. As I mentioned this was my first bike race ever, and goal was to finish and learn, which was accomplished, I was not going “for time”.

Also definitely need to get better at eating on the bike. I was rarely successful and had to stop very shortly to get some blocks in several times.

Going back to a question you asked earlier - NP is Normalized Power, here’s a TR link explaining it but it’s an estimation of what your average power could have been if you had ridden steady the entire time. So no spikes, and no long breaks for descents either. I mentioned NP because you said you were comfortable holding a certain wattage, but in reality you aren’t holding that for the entire time of course due descents and other downtime.

Since I didn’t say it earlier, overall though I think 6:36 is an great time for your first bike race ever. SR50 is a challenging course. It’s a little easier than it used to be but by no means is that a beginner friendly event so I’m sure you have potential to lop a lot of time off of that in the future. My first MTB event ever (but not first bike event) was SR50 in 2017 and it was somewhat similar to yours in that I did it on an aluminum mid-travel trail bike and overall was just out to learn. That year my time was 6:07 and the following year my LT100 time was 9:50 on the same bike but with lighter wheels and XC tires. The old “1.7x” multiplier would have suggested my time should have been closer to 10.5hrs but it was a year later and I trained more - though that was before I was doing TR structured training.

It’s highly subjective and I’m probably relying too much on my own anecdotal experience on your chances of going sub-10 this year. Highly possible you could go sub-10 or sub-9 in future years, but it’s still a lot of time to take off in a month.

I find chews and blocks to be a pain to handle.

For the SR, I filled two small flexible flasks (5oz each) with GU gel. It’s possible to consume 200 calories in a couple of seconds this way - and then I drink water from my pack or bottle to appropriately dilute the gel so it’s not a concentrated glob in my stomach.

I consumed more calories and drank more fluids in this edition of the SR than in the past, and as a result did not feel as wiped out after the event (and maybe was a little faster also).

Great topic! I’m also doing Leadville this year and completed SR50 as a second race (first was Growler).

Was shooting for a red corral @ sub 4:30 (stretch goal). I completed in 4:38 at SR50 w 208NP. My most recent FTP was 258, so I was operating at 80% FTP. Felt a little spent on the last climb but felt like I could have pushed it harder by the end of race. Did I get lucky not to blow or is my FTP maybe a little low (only have tested it 3 times)

So in your opinions, should I shoot For NP at 70% ftp for Leadville? I found it super helpful to monitor my 10 sec power on climbs and to check my NP less frequently. Should my 10 sec power on climbs be similar to NP? I’m shooting for 8:30 at Leadville but would LOVE sub 8… damn that change from 1.7x to 1.8x

Re eating, I felt really good with my Tailwinds mixed w water. Took down 300 calories per hour in about 22 oz. struggled with the solids my first race.

This is probably one of the most important things to work on between now and August 14th. Remember, Leadville is an eating contest disguised as a bike race.

Everyone’s gut is different so try to find something that works for you and test it on some long rides. What works for 2 - 3 hours might be completely different than what works 8+ hours in. Some people do best with liquids only, others prefer only “real food”, and then there is everything in between.

While some hate chews, I’ve found ClifBloks one of the best things for me. Two Bloks every 15 min. Occasionally I’ll rotate in a SIS gel, some maple syrup, or an Untapped waffle. But everyone is different so practice, find what works, and then make sure you stick with it on race day. Don’t try something different on a whim.

Is 258 your altitude adjusted FTP? If not, at what altitude did you test at? Were you fully acclimated prior to the race?

4:38 on a sea level FTP of 258 would be insanely fast albeit I don’t know your weight. Same thing with holding a 80% NP for that duration. That it is at the high end of what should be theoretically possible to hold for that duration, but if your FTP was tested anywhere other than a relatively similar altitude then your FTP is either significantly underestimated or you are a freak of nature.

Either way I’m jealous.

I tested and train at 7,000’ and weight 165. Excited with the result but also nervous that I rode my best ride and will blow up trying that at Leadville… New to training w power but can see why you guys do!

According to the advice to the OP, should I dial back NP 10%-15% of SR50,( would be around 185w) ride with a pack on the flats and go for 8:30 finish?

I loved having split goals at each aid station, kept me focused, so I’ll do that again. Might steal splits from past riders in that 8:30 range…

Being based at 7K makes more sense, though I still think your FTP is underestimated based on that performance. I’m at 5600ft and last FTP test was 275 at 155 pounds. Down from 290 after a protracted respiratory infection. I did not taper or go at it particularly hard at SR but you still kicked the pants out or me despite having a theoretically worse power to weight ratio.

If your FTP is accurate, the estimation methods I’m aware of would not suggest it would be possible for you to ride at 0.8 IF at 10,000ft+ for 8+ hours. I’m shocked that you could do that for 5.5 hours.

That’s helpful, maybe my testing performance has been bad. But that would mean harder intervals, oh no…:open_mouth:

Regardless, I’d take your weight and pre sickness ftp any day!

I pre-rode the first ~80 miles of the course solo last summer and my NP was exactly 185 as I got to the base of powerline. At that point, I was about 30 minutes off the pace for a 9 hour finish, so I don’t think you’d hit 8:30 on 185 watts. I was about 167lbs, so similar weight. My bike was ~24lbs. I assume I would be faster targeting the the same watts on race day (drafting and taking the descents a bit faster, but also having to deal with traffic), but not 1 hour faster. My FTP at sea level is just over 300 and I plan to target about 190 NP for the entire race and keep it around 220-230 on the climbs (which has me sucking air pretty hard at altitude).

Interesting, sounds like we are similar riders… found myself targeting similar numbers at SR50 for climbs while keeping HR under 168 (tempo for me). Maybe we will end up riding together at Leadville.

Do you guys let yourself go above threshold for periods of time on these long races or do you avoid that as much as possible (except for steep sections or strategic passes)? It seems like the body could handle several hard efforts.

I try to avoid big efforts at any cost. They come back to haunt you in the later hours. However, at times they’re unavoidable. I just completed a MTB 100 a few weeks ago (Lumberjack 100) and below were my stats. I tried not to exceed threshold but it looks like on 18 occasions I held over my FTP for 60+ seconds. (Note: There is some missing data due to remoteness of National Forrest).

I had no efforts above FTP for 2 mins.

I had 7 efforts above 400 watts for 30+ seconds.


Thanks for teaching me something new in the TR workout analyzer! I wasn’t aware of the search option based on power and duration.

I caveated earlier that I never had a PM on MTB until this season so I only have 2 marathon events with power data. For SR50 I had three 1-minute intervals over threshold and zero at 2-minutes or longer. Those were all at the beginning of the race. Having a PM now I hold myself back way more than I used to at the start of races but it’s still hard not to get excited and chase an early group.

found myself targeting similar numbers at SR50 for climbs while keeping HR under 168 (tempo for me).

Back to this - I still find myself using HR data a lot in races even after having a PM. I know of course HR is a trailing indicator and influenced by lots of other things, but that’s part of why I think it’s really important to consider along with power.

At high altitude my % of FTP is inconsequential if my HR is at threshold, I know if I go higher I’m going to pop regardless of what the watts say. Then separately at last race (SR50) there was a period of time in the middle where I fell behind on hydration and I couldn’t get my HR up at all. My power was crap too, but the fact that my HR vs RPE was so off clearly indicated to me that there was another factor that was putting the governor on. I couldn’t resume any attempts to ride at target % of FTP until after I fixed the hydration/nutrition problem.

1 Like

Generally staying below threshold, especially in the first half of the race, is going to help you finish a lot stronger in the second half. Digging too deep early is what costs some riders, especially if you haven’t done it in training.

I’ve been doing a lot of long gravel rides this year on weekends in anticipation of Leadville. Generally I pace carefully in the first half of the rides and then slowly start to push harder in the second half if my legs are feeling good. This past weekend, with fitness slowly building, I did push above threshold some in the first half of the ride, but not excessively. I wanted to see how much of an impact it would have in the second half and for the most part I still felt good later in the ride and was still able to finish strong, something else I’ve specifically been working on for all my long rides this year. But when in doubt, hold back in the first half and then work to empty the tank in the second half.

1 Like

Looking at data from my leadville solo ride last year, I exceeded my altitude adjusted FTP (260w) only once for more than a minute. I was on super sore legs from hiking Mt Elbert the day prior, so that probably helped keep me in check. I suspect that pacing discipline will be much harder on race day with fresh legs and the race atmosphere.

I did the stage race in 2019 and I tried to hang with a fast group heading back to pipeline from twin lakes. I blew up in spectacular fashion and never recovered from that. That probably cost me a red corral placement since I missed the time cut by 5 minutes. Blow up early at the 100 mile race and you are in for a long miserable day. My experience is that going too deep at altitude is a point of no return. Good to err on the side of caution.


Makes a ton of sense, great info! I’m on the aggressive (stupid) side of things, so being conservative is exactly what I probably need. Part of me probably needs to blow up to learn, but I don’t want that at Leadville!

@mcneese.chad Might be worth merging this with the Leadville 2021 thread. Lots of good information.


Agreed… lots of great info here, I just realized about the TR function “search for specific power as well”… really cool.

Will be my first LT100 this year, and I was out at Camp in the beginning of July. In looking at those two rides, I see that I was over altitude adjusted FTP for 1 minute 9 times day 1, 13 times on day 2. That seems pretty reasonable, and I finished with an IF of about .61 on both days.

That was probably a little too conservative, but there was certainly more socializing and learning the course than racing… which was the point at least for me!

I used 3s power to monitor power, and I had AP also up on my Garmin. With all of the descents, I found AP to be pretty much useless. Wondering what people have on their CPU’s… 5s or 10s power seems more appropriate. Maybe 5s power and NP? Or just 5s power… and pace using feel and a glance down as a reminder when you’re running >FTP.

I use:
3s Power
Normalized Power
Distance (km)

I keep debating cadence, but I don’t know if it’s just noise. I like seeing power and cadence when training.

I have a couple of different screens but for LT100 my key ones will be:

3s Power - I used to using this. My coach doesn’t really like 3s power and favors just the standard power (not smoothed) but as long as you don’t “chase the ball” I find it works really for me. I tried longer and short and didn’t like them.
HR - while I don’t really ride by HR I do like to keep tabs on it as I find it does give me so info if I’m going hard enough or too hard.
Elapsed Time - I watch this closely as I also use to guide fueling every 15 min
IF - this is on a secondary screen but helpful to glance at to see how the day is progressive. There is also a Lap IF data field that you can get a Connect IQ app for if you want to monitor IF in certain segments.
Temp - again on a secondary screen. Won’t be a big issue in Leadville but something I monitor on hot rides to help with adjusting fluid intake.

I also will use the Climb Pro screen at times on some of the longer climbs. I have HR and 3s Power on that screen. When I was learning the course it really helped a lot but now that I know the climbs I don’t always leave it on.

The GPS nav/course screen can be helpful on the Columbine descent if you are unsure about some of the corners. A quite glance down will show you the upcoming bends. Again less beneficial once you know the course but can be reassuring to have if you have little experience on the course.