How controversial that is depends a lot on corral. If you want to go sub-9 in white then I think you pretty much have to do that or just be so strong that you could ride sub-9 pace solo all day.
I assume most people serious about sub-9 are in green or above and I’m of mixed opinions there. I have been burned by Pipeline inbound enough to be fully convinced that is where dreams are made or broken, but I think having a fast group to ride the flats can make a big difference too.
I think that is excellent advice. I know I’d have a real hard time not trying to just do all the pulling myself but the groups can separate very quick out there. I think if your group isn’t fast that 9 times out of 10 you’re better off sitting back and waiting for the next fast group to catch you vs trying to do a solo bridge.
Between the start and bottom of Powerline there is going to be a bit of a sorting out and it should be possible to find some groups after the Powerline descent even if starting further back.
I agree the Powerline inbound is the deciding point for many. Whether it is the pointy end of the race where the leaders attack, or whether you are going for sub-9 or just a finishing under 12, Powerline inbound is really critical. If you have been riding well up to that point AND then still have the legs to handle Powerline, you should be in really good shape. Many focus on the steep portion at the bottom of Powerline, but if you walk that its not a big deal. Its all the rocky, choppy stuff after that that is also really punishing and often feels like it goes on for quite a while. It requires a lot of short little surges to power over. Once you get over this, the race isn’t over, but everything else is more manageable and you just have to push to the finish.
Somebody had posted previously about going out and riding 6- 6.5 hours, and then trying to step on the gas after that. From a training/simulation standpoint, that’s great advice for Powerline. If you have the reserve to hit it here, you should be in good shape.
Only other comment I’ll make is that the stretch from the bottom of Columbine back to Pipeline is pretty grueling with the 2021 course changes. Lots of potential for headwind and there are some longish sections that are just enough uphill to make it tough. Good groups and the ability to hold steady power key with Powerline on the horizon.
Being first unbound had no idea on pacing or strategy. Started way to far back, new this as soon as I rolled the timing mat. Did what I thought I wasn’t going to do make threshold power for 10-20 minutes in first 20 min. But moved up to a good group in the race. Totally over estimated the difficulty definetly not the physical challenge of Leadville take away altitude and multiple hour long climbs unbound is a piece of cake. Until the mud!!! Mile 125ish 126.5 was wheel shoe and gearing full stop, bike touched mud would stick 3-4 inches on every surface. Second 1.5 miles of mud at 165? Same but now temp was up baked mud a little so seemed rideable but many made the mistake and broke everything.
All in all unbound is a great event but totally different challenge than leadville
Definitely a course that favors fast rolling tires. There are some chunky sections on the descents, but most of them are straight shots and turning traction isn’t that critical. It’s more about picking a line. There are some high speed sweeping turns on the fire road descent, but aggressive tires aren’t going to buy you much time there.
I would definitely put on some faster rolling tires for Leadville. I’d go with something like Maxxis Rekon Race, Specialized Renegade, Vittoria Mezcal, Continental Race Kings, or Schwalbe Racing Ralph. The regular Rekons you have are definitely overkill for a 100 mile “gravel” race (very little singletrack at Leadville).
I agree with the tire assessment, but not the “gravel” race label. It’s certainly much closer to a gravel course than your typical marathon MTB course, but people are riding MTB’s at leadville because it’s the fastest tool for the job (otherwise the fast folks would be riding gravel bikes or mullet builds). It’s certainly been done, but it’s not common. There are a bunch of fire roads and places where a drop bar bike would be faster, but enough chunk to swing the balance toward a MTB. Also, drafting/group tactics are often critical in gravel races for most of the race. Leadville has some sections there drafting is really important, but it’s not like your day is over if you end up by yourself early on. Leadville just doesn’t have the dynamics or the terrain of your typical gravel race (at least not the races I do).
I do think the line is being blurred as some gravel races get more technical. Gravel bikes with droppers, real suspension, and slacker geometry are becoming more common. Some of the bikes are getting pretty close to hard tail MTB’s with drop bars. I’ve considered putting some drop bars on my spark RC for leadville, but I’m not a great bike handler. I do OK, but when all the pro MTB and gravel racers (and other really fast folks) are running mtb’s with flat bars, I’m thinking they have much better bike skills than me and they still choose flat bars. I think you might see more folks riding drop bar bikes in the future as more options become available (and if sponsors push pros to ride them at leadville), we shall see.
I put on a set of Mezcal 2.35’s this morning and will run them this weekend on a 100 miles gravel ride. They were super easy to mount up on the Scott Syncross rims (I think 25mm internal). Only had to take out the valve core and was able to seat with just a floor pump. Looking forward to see how they ride this weekend.
I love my Mezcals. I live near Leadville and put these tires through the wringer. They are super thin, but roll so good. I ride them on the CT trail here, local trails in Summit County and Front Range. Raced this setup at the Firecracker 50 and had my best race yet. You’ll love 'em for Leadville!
I’ve put a lot of miles on Mezcals in general as well as riding them for one LT100. They are good tires and on my recommended list for people to consider for the race. Conti Race Kings are faster and will be what I run again this year, but I do think they have less grip.
It’s true-ish but feels about 0.5 W/kg too high. E.g, 4 W/kg goes sub 9 on a solid day, mid-ish 8 on a perfect day.
Although, I live at 5,500 ft so my W/Kg perception scale may just be skewed. Still I’m pretty sure I’ve heard of more than a few 4 W/kg sea level people going sub-9 without it being the absolute perfect day.
Obvious caveat that W/kg doesn’t matter if you don’t nail nutrition and pacing.
I was a little over 4w/kg (sea level) last year (at ~75kg) and had a pretty much perfect day and finished in 8:50. And my strength is long endurance events. I might have found 10-15 by riding more aggressive, but no way I’m anywhere near 8. It was a slow course last year, so maybe under 8:30 on a perfect day on a fast course where I’m also willing to roll the dice a bit. I’m going back this year and I’m just as strong (maybe a little stronger), so we’ll see. The sub 9 was a bucket list item that had been derailed by major injury and pandemic for ~4 years, so I was hyper focused last year. It will be interesting to see how my race day mindset is with a lot less pressure. Sometimes that can be good, but this race requires big motivation (and fitness) to go hard all day.
Seeking opinions on my support crew setting up at Twin Lakes or Twin Lakes Alternate? This will be my first time doing the race and will be their first time crewing the race. Access to a porta potty might be a factor as well as they’re going to be there for a while. Anything for the packing list for their comfort? On the list is chairs, golf umbrella, ice chest, portable dolly to haul stuff.
Unsure if this plays into the choice but I’ll be around 2.6 W/kg for the race and I know that I’ll likely not have a lot of room with the cut off times.
Finally should I try and have them meet me anywhere else on the inbound route? I was planning on just using neutral aid for water and having enough nutrition to get me to the end.