Leadville 2023 Race Thread

If I remember correctly one of Jonathan’s main complaints had to do with the mass start and the bunching, which I think has been mostly addressed with the corral changes over the last couple years or whenever it was… Can’t remember the exact details, but pretty sure that was the gist of it.

I had a blast. Reserved a big place 10 minutes from town for the two weeks before next year’s race today to chill / acclimate / work remote…


Do you run XC or Trail casing on your Mezcals?

Once you gain entry to Leadville the first time, are you guaranteed entry in the following year(s)? Or are you given preferred entry in the lottery? I hear a lot of stories of people racing it multiple times or “didn’t meet my goal this year, will definitely be back next year.” I’m just trying to get in for my first time and couldn’t afford to do it every year anyway, but I was curious how people make it an annual thing.

No guarantee, you still need to get in via one of the available paths. Lottery, charity spot, volunteer preference, etc. I understand there is a guarantee if you have done the race a bunch, but I think it’s a pretty big number (5+ maybe)

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They keep moving the number out. This year a friend of mine had done 8 in a row and they didn’t grant him entry until he petitioned.

For completeness the ways you can get in include

  • Normal crapshoot lottery
  • Lottery with preferred odds due to volunteer hours (which have increased)
  • Getting a true qualifier slot at a qualifying event (1-3 slots per AG)
  • Lottery at the very end of each qualifier
  • Doing the Lead challenge (every single Leadville race in the same year)
  • Lifetime gym member preferred registration (12 months of membership required)
  • Charity slot (expensive)
  • Camp slot (expensive)
  • limited slots with some coaching packages (very expensive)
  • special entry for people on long streaks (8+)
  • pros / lifetime Grand Prix

Outside of people who have been doing it forever, there’s no guaranteed entry outside of buying your way in.


LT also really tries to get as many first timers into the race as possible each year. At the rider meeting the day before they always get the first timers to stand up and its a pretty big number.

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My understanding was that the Life Time membership was minimum 6 months? That was potentially going to be my way in for 2025 since $90 seems like a no-brainer to pay for guaranteed entry. I realized that too late this year to get the membership in time.

It was 6 months this year which was the first year they ever did it. I’m off pretty sure they said I’m an interview much earlier this year they were going to change at least the digital to a year but there’s no written policy publicly stated anywhere for 2024 so I could be misremembering.

Could also be wishful thinking on my part because the 6 month digital membership (or the digital option at all) is an absolute disgrace of a loophole that needs to be closed immediately. The digital membership is $15 a month so for $90 total you could get guaranteed entry. That is a huge insult to every single person who spends 15 hours volunteering at an event, takes the time, money and effort to do a qualifier, or raises thousands of dollars for charity.

I don’t blame individuals for taking the offer, but I 100% blame Lifetime for devaluing all the historical means of getting into the race for such an obvious ploy to make some pandemic-era hype metric (digital memberships) look attractive to shareholders in some quarterly report.



I completely agree that it devalues the experience. As someone who’s wanted to do Leadville for years and sees how difficult it is to get in, it kind of seems too good to be true, which is why I’d almost feel silly not doing it.


I’m gutted that I forgot to sign up tbh. My only realistic way in next year will be a charity entry (I’d much rather the money went to a charity than anywhere else).

Qualifiers just aren’t a realistic option as an international entrant.


Summarized (if you can call 3K words a summarization) my experience with doing LT100 for the first time. Wrote it mostly for myself, as a post-race analysis, but figured I would share: Leadville 100 MTB 2023 - race report.

TL;DR: Got a small buckle easily. Expected more from the race and from myself, so I had mixed feelings afterwards.

Would be interesting to hear from those of you (unless I’m the only one) who experienced the same after completing “the race of all races”, which turned out to be an expensive GF.


Good Summary/post race analysis. IMHO you were stuck between “It will need to be a great day on the bike to go sub 9.” and “Something very bad would have to happen to not go sub 12/DNF”

I think you summed it up correctly in that you now know what you may be able to do differently to go sub 9. (Go faster at the start so there’s not so much walking? I hate the idea that I may have to walk next year, but am resigned that odds are it will happen. Take the hand that’s dealt I guess.)


Nice recap. What was your bike setup? What do you think the total cost of doing it was?

I was riding my Canyon Lux Trail (120/110mm of travel).
30 tooth chainring
Front tire: Specialized Fast Track
Rear tire: Vittoria Mezcal
Cush Core XC tire inserts

(My plan was to have Mezcal in the front and Vittoria Terreno in the rear, but when I was putting them on for the race - I chickened out and decided to go with a much safer setup).

Edit: cost breakdown.
Entry fee: ~ $500 (plus lottery application, maybe also some micro fees, so rather 500+)
Accommodation for 1 night: $300
Lunch/dinner/smoothies: $100

I would not include my fueling, gas, and all that. Because if there would be no race for me this weekend - I could just as well go for a similar long ride on my own.


I can empathize but I don’t think this feeling is unique to Leadville. In my experience it applies to any of the”epic” or “life changing” events people pursue.

For me, it started with a genuine belief that hearing Mike Reilly call out my name at the Ironman finish line would somehow be transformative. I literally dreamed about it. Turns out you’re still you, but with medals and trinkets.

I’ve gone on to do many such events and although I still experience some of the post-race emotional letdown it’s definitely lessened over the years as you know to expect it. Over time, process goals have proved to be stickier than the motivation I get from single event outcomes.


I’ve not done the app to get an entry. It does seem like a ridiculous loop hole to skip the lottery. Either lifetime are okay with it, as they get more subscribers, or they’re not and the rules could change. So if I was to do the app for 12 months before the lottery, then I would be doing it full well knowing that the rules could change and it would be $180+ down the drain.

So the only “catch” I see is that it’s not guaranteed (I don’t see anywhere where they have terms and conditions for the 2024 lottery for 2025 event published, as they seem to plan one year at a time) and they could change or “clarify” the rules at the last minute.

Something else: The more people talk about it, the more people become aware of it and take advantage of it, then they have to make it more restrictive and make the qualifying time longer or put caps on the number of registrants. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if 2025 goes up to a year, or longer.

If people are thinking about it, they’d be best off just not mentioning it and let it ride.

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I thought it was 12 months for the app already? So you’d need to sign up Oct/Nov 2023 to have done 12 months by the 2024 drawing for the 2025 race?

I see the TR Leadville crowd as being rather small, and even the Leadville Podcast Slack looked to only have 100 members. I’m guessing Facebook is the place where most people go? I’m not on Facebook. I would imagine that if they’re talking about it on Facebook, then it’ll get too popular.

Threads like this get crawled and become accessible on Google forever… People don’t need to participate here to find information posted here.