Leadville reality check

Just got the email for the lottery opening for Leadville 2023. I am tempted to throw my name in assuming I won’t get in or I can defer if I am not ready. But, I also want to be realistic that I might get it in and I should plan on going.

So I need a reality check. I am not a mountain biker. I finished Unbound 200 last year and I personally thought some of that was pretty technical. I suffered through the last bit but I did finish.

I would like to do Leadville as a bucket list item. So, as a non mountain biker and somebody who does not consider themselves very savvy in bike handling, should I give the lottery a go?

The Leadville 100 podcast with Fatty and Hottie just released a three and a half hour podcast going through the whole course.

Bearing in mind that I’ve never been to Leadville, but from listening to them, it seems a race that anyone can tackle.

I’ve watched a couple of the videos from within the race on YouTube and I think there’s still a high proportion of riders like yourself that have it as their bucket list race.

[Leadville, The 100 Mile Mountain Bike Race Podcast p/b Shimano] S6E01: The Course, Version 2 (Leadville 100 MTB Course Deep-Dive) #leadvilleThe100MileMountainBikeRacePodcastPBShimano
S6E01: The Course, Version 2 (Leadville 100 MTB Course Deep-Dive) • Leadville, The 100 Mile Mounta - Podcast Addict via @PodcastAddict

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You can’t defer if you get selected in the lottery. They automatically bill your credit card.

Leadville is not a technical MTB course. But it is technical compared to a typical gravel course.

There will be sections descending where you will need to go slow to reduce risk of crashing. Maybe even a few spots where you will prefer to get off and walk. The worst that will happen there is you might frustrate people who are caught behind you :slightly_smiling_face:.

And there are climbing sections where you may need to walk sooner than other riders - I.e. if you are not used to slow speed riding, picking your way through rocks to get a smoother line.

If you do get in and decide to ride it, get a full suspension MTB, and go practice a bunch before hand. If you have fitness to finish Unbound you’ll be able to finish Leadville also.


I thought you could defer, but for the LT100 you lose your registration fee and have to pay it again for the deferral year, but you don’t lose your spot.

For someone with mountain biking experience, the course is not technical but the Powerline descent and the Goat Trail at the top of Columbine are the two spots where some skills and confidence are needed. Alison Tetrik, a very experience road and gravel racer, admitted to struggling mightily on the Powerline descent and more or less froze up for a while on the side of the trail. The best thing would be to get out and ride it ahead of time. If you feel ok on those sections, the rest of it will not be an issue.


I think this is correct. For the qualifiers, you can defer and not pay your registration fee again (I’m in this boat for the Stage Race this year), but with the LT100, my understanding was you can defer but you do forfeit the registration fee if you do so.

Yes. This is true. You have to pay again if you want to ride the next year. This happened to me in 2018. I told them in December of 2017 that I wouldn’t be able to ride in Aug 2018 due to upcoming surgery in Jan 2018. I figured 9 months advance notice would have been enough to find someone to fill my spot and allow me to roll over to 2019. But I had to pay again for my 2019 entry.

here is my 2022 leadville story. Perhaps it helps. If nothing else I hope it brings up some questions for preparation. without knowing anything about you I am certain you can prepare from now till then and enjoy it like I did.

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I am a mountain biker and completed Leadville this year. I think whatever you lack in technical ability you’ll have a make up for with fitness. My goal was until Columbine to be incredibly lazy on the climbs and make up my time on the downhills. I started in purple and was being passed by some of the corals behind me up St. Kevin’s but would net out my position after each descent when I would pass 30 people. Some of us leapfrogged each other all the way until Columbine when I allowed myself to start putting in work on the climbs. I think it’s doable because it’s not that technical. However if you’re at home on a mountain bike and stay off your brakes you can fly on the down hill parts of this course and make up lots of time. Just focus on the fitness side and challenge yourself on your mountain bike some between now and then and you’ll be fine.

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