Leadville 2022 Thread

Couldn’t find a 2022 thread… so here you are.

Fourth year in a row of trying to get in via the lottery, fourth year of failure. Looks like I’ve got no choice but to travel to the US to do a qualifier. Annoyingly, I was supposed to do Austin Rattler last year but the US opened up a week too late for me to get there for it (there are no qualifiers in Europe, even though I keep begging them to add one!).

Ho hum. Anyone else have better luck?

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I got in. Rode last year too. Two coworkers got in 1st try. We are all in Colorado…

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Man, I must have really awful luck.

How did you do last year?

If you do decide to travel to the US for a qualifier, I’d recommend the Silver Rush. That way you get some of the Leadville experience, and a taste of what the altitude is like. There’s also a ton of great mountain biking in Colorado, and Moab is a few more hours west.

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I probably should have said in the OP, it’s not my first Leadville.

Did it back in 2018. Had a major crash / surgery in 2019 and I’ve been trying to get in again since so I can test to see if I can get back to where I was when I did my original run. Sadly the more years pass, the less likely that will be.

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I’ll be coming back in ‘22 for third go. I got in via the general lottery this year, first time I’ve ever gotten in that in 5 years of trying. The other times I got in via a qualifier (Silver Rush 50). From talking to 10-year buckle holders the “secret” to consistent entries is volunteer hours. Given you’re coming from Europe though that’s a tougher ask, you either need to do volunteer hours before/after the event or stick around and get your hours in the next weekend. Other than volunteering, given how expensive it would be to travel to Europe doing a Charity slot may be cheaper overall then traveling for a qualifier. Plus in the US it’s tax deductible, but no idea if charitable deductions are a thing in non-US tax codes.

General question for those who are in - did you set your event type in Plan Builder to Cross Country Marathon or to Gran Fondo? I did XC Marathon last year, but Gran Fondo / Century is probably more accurate to Leadville pacing?

I opted for a different approach. I have the time for higher volume (I hope) than the TR specialty plans have. Last year, I used the Fascat high volume Leadville option, and it had me primed where I wanted to be, CTL at 100. Then I crashed the Sunday before, and, umm, had less than ideal shoulder mobility, but raced anyways, with some modifications to the race day plan. 10.5 hours later, and a relatively satisfying day. 6 weeks off the bike, and 4 months of PT has my shoulder pretty much back to where it was. If you have time, and can recover, higher volume is probably better. Even if you are fast, its a really long day. For me to keep pedaling up some of these climbs requires efforts beyond my threshold. The goat path and Powerline are steeeeeeeep.

I did Grand Fondo, along with some properly massive rides (12h plus) in the months before. Was good for sub 9 pace. There used to be an article that suggested it on Trainerroad, but I think it’s been replaced. This one mentions Grand Fondo though: How David Curtis Went From The Couch to a Sub-9 Leadville with TrainerRoad - TrainerRoad Blog

It’s more of a long, hilly road ride than it is your classic XC.

As for getting in, to be honest, all the options are sh*t. Volunteering means an expensive flight out / accommodation, and only gets me to the back of the pack (I had a lot of issues getting stuck behind people last time as I’m not an aggressive rider). Charity entry isn’t tax deductible as it’s not a UK charity I’m giving to, also has the same issue with being at the back.

Only qualifier that sort of works for me is Austin because it’s a direct flight, and the event is pretty close to the city. Maybe I should just stick to European events (there are some even harder ones here), but I definitely feel like it’s the best way to get me back to where I was (assuming that’s possible).

I’ve ridden steeper… but with the altitude, dear god. I basically had a flat out panic attack the first time I did Powerline.

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Not arguing against the volume if you have the time and preference for it, but there’s a lot of examples of people doing fine with less. I went sub-9 last year on a mix of low and mid volume, did XC marathon as my speciality. The only 2 “long” rides I did were a 7 hour race in June and a 5 hour race in July. All other rides were less than 4 hours. YMMV.

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You don’t need to, absolutely. I did my first two 24 hour events with my longest ride previously being 6 hours.

Just felt like I wanted to know I could go all out for that long.

I got a slot at one of the qualifiers, this will be my second Leadville. I just missed the 10 hour finish by a minute last time so hoping to see a 9:XX this time :slight_smile:
I’m planning to do some longer gravel events such as Crusher in Utah to train for it as I live at sea level.

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Did not get in via the lottery.

Looking to get in at the Silver Rush, one way or another. I did SR50 last year, started 2nd row in the first wave. I put my head down and gave the run up the hill a 90% effort. At the top I was approximately in 10th, which was a total surprise. I think I have a chance to win the spot on the opening run, but I sure am training to get on that podium if I fail in the run. I have 7 40-100 milers on my calendar this year, and SR is my first A race of the season.

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We’ll done. A sprint up that hill is a brutal way to start a race!

Failed to get a lotto ticket this year. Headed to Tahoe but it’ll be chance since I’m not fast enough to get a Top spot. Sooo… prob have to just try again in the future. :man_shrugging:

I raced last year and I’m going back this year. Last year was my A+ race after a long wait due to injury, covid cancellation, etc. This year it’s my B race, but still hoping to get in around 9 hours.

For me (at 53), I need big volume to have a chance at getting in under 9 hours. I can only push my FTP up so far and then I need to focus on how long I can hold a percentage. This is absolutely trainable for me and it’s the most valuable card I have when racing, particularly gravel. I know that if I can hang on for the first hard 2-3 hours, I’m probably going to do well because I’ve trained to go hard for 6+ hours and at 3 hours I’m just getting into the groove. That’s not really the dynamic at leadville, but the endurance is still key. I get passed by a lot of people early at leadville and I start passing a lot of folks as the day progresses. I know I need to be at the base of powerline inbound by about 6:30 to go under 9 hours. In my training, I want to get to a point on my long training rides that 6:30 (at the pace needed for leadville) isn’t crushing me. I’ll ask myself at 6:30 - “could I go up powerline right now?”. I train to the point where I’m not wrecked after 6:30 of high Z2/low Z3 and sweet spot when climbing. That typically means lots of 5-6+ hour rides working up to around 7:30. This is as much about nutrition training as it is about fitness. My A race this year is unbound gravel, which is likely to take me over 14 hours. I plan to take a similar training approach to allow myself to ride at Z2 all day with sweet spot climbing. I don’t plan to push the hours past 7-8 for my long rides, but maybe a couple 10 hour test rides mixed in to see how my body reacts.

Yes, leadville can be done on 2-3 hour training rides and some folks do very well at that level of training. I am not one of those people.

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Being fast at a qualifying race is one way to get in, but they also randomly draw names for slots at the end of the awards, usually quite a few (20+ for the Austin Rattler all the times I’ve been). Odds depends on how many people stick around vs. how many coins they give out. The first time I got in was luck of the draw. I was the last name pulled from the hat that day. My 2nd time (for this year’s entry), I got in on finish time at a qualifier. It was the first year of covid, so maybe a little easier competition compared to most years. I’ll take it either way.

How fast do you have to be to get in? Like are we talking about winning your age group? Or is a podium or top 5 fast enough? I’d doing Lutsen this year with the hopes of getting into Leadville in 2023.

Depends on the size of the category/age group. Here’s how it used to work and I don’t think it’s changed -

It usually covers at least the podium (3 spots) except for small groups like single speed might only have 1 spot. First place in each group is guaranteed a spot. I think I’ve seen it go 5+ deep in the larger fields (40+ men, etc.), maybe even 8 in some years. I think the total number of coins varies and these last few years with covid and the lottery screw up have skewed numbers down. I got a coin for 3rd (last podium spot) in 50+ men, but I can’t recall if it went deeper. One other factor - if the person in front of you doesn’t want it, it rolls down to the next person. You’d be surprised how many high finishers don’t want or need the spot. Remember that some portion of the field already has a spot and they are just there to improve their corral position

I’m currently looking into the charity option and exploring the idea of trying to fundraise a bit with friends and fam. One of their charity options (Challenged Athletes Foundation) seems like a cause I would love to support. Has anyone gone this route before or know anyone who has? My goal at the event would be just to finish - I’ve got a w/kg of around 3.25 right now which I’d hope to bump up at least a modest amount by race day.

I tried this year on the standard lottery and was shut down. I’ve done it 3x before so not a big deal. i might try whiteface to see if i can get a slot that way but could care less either way.