Leadville Silver Rush 50 MTB 2021

This is my first time starting a thread, hope this goes well. I’m signed up for the Leadville Silver Rush 50 MTB 2021 this year. Hopefully, it goes this year with COVID. My family and I should have our vaccines by then.

I’m currently using the following training plan:
Sustained Power Build
Cross Country Marathon

I’ll be racing it on an older 29er hardtail. This is my first time signing up for a MTB race so I’m not sure what I’ve signed up for. I have a similar length race at the end of March in NW Arkansas that is 60 miles long. No altitude issues in the tune up race but plenty of climbing.

I’ll arrive in Breckenridge at 9800’ altitude a week before the race to acclimate and ride some trails there then go to Leadville a couple of days before for the race.

Any advice on the the usual things like training plan, tire choice, etc? Any experience with this race? My max tire clearance for the rear tire is probably 2.2".

I searched for similar threads on this and only found ones on the 100 race

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I’m also signed up for this race as a tune up for Leadville. I’ve read/listened to a few race reports and watched some Youtube race footage. I have similar questions. Currently I’m doing SSB, Sustained Power and Century since Leadville is my main goal. I’ll be swapping some workouts to focus on longer SS intervals to better prepare for 1 hour plus climbs.
I’m thinking of going with a little more tire on the front since it appears there is no pavement (2.35 Ardent Race instead of 2.25 Aspen). I’m also considering altitude acclimatization - what elevation to spend the week at ahead of race since I’m coming from sea level.
Interested in the responses of veterans.

I raced this race in 2019 and it was a lot of fun. I’m Denver based and spend most weekends in the mountains above 9000’, so I’m probably not the right person to comment about acclimating to altitude.

I loosely followed SSB, Sustained Build, Century, all at LV and rode outside regularly. I think that was a good approach. The climbs are all sustained and pretty long without a lot of short bursts. Not sure that the marathon plan would fit that well.

I ran Maxxis Ardents (not race) and they worked well. An Ardent Race would probably work for the race, but wouldn’t work that well for my everyday riding along the Front Range. Some of the descents were loose and I was able to take a less than perfect line and blow past a lot of folks on pure XC tires. I probably lost some efficiency on the climbs, but I think either approach to tires would work on this course.

I’m racing the 50 again this year and will also race Leadville. I’m leaning toward running a Racing Ray/Ralph combo for both races. I think I’ll give up some descending capability for the 50 mile race, but it’ll be a wash when total time is considered. The new Schwalbe set will probably be a better pick for Leadville than the Ardents, but similar for the 50.

I’ve done Silver Rush (and LT100) twice. For both I was riding about 6 hours a week mostly on the mountain bike at 6000 ft. elevation. Neither of these seasons was I using a dedicated training plan, but just riding for fun. This year will be my first time going into silver rush using TR and a dedicated plan. Definitely excited to see how this year goes!

First, I fully recommend running higher volume, wider tires. The amount of rough double track and fire road has really taken a toll on my body when I did the race. Last 5-10 miles of mostly descending were pretty brutal.

Next, nutrition is key at altitude. There is plenty of time to eat on the climbs. Do it often!

Finally, be ready to ride the granny gear and hike a bike a decent amount. I have found a local trail that requires steep hiking as perfect training for silver rush. You don’t want your calves to cramp as a result of pushing the bike uphill!

Three specific things to train for:

  1. Sustained gradual and steep climbs
  2. very steep with hike a bike
  3. loose double track descents.

The race is a blast! The start with a run up a ski training hill is like nine other. Try to get to front half, otherwise you’ll be dealing with a ton of people hitting bottlenecks for the first 20 minutes.

Good luck! Hopefully it happens despite COVID this time around.

I’ve ridden SR50 three times. Signed up again this year. Hopefully will have COVID vaccine by then.

The training plan you’re doing looks good. For specialty phase, I think it’s a tossup between cross county marathon and century plan.

Regarding tires, the SR50 course needs more aggressive tires than LT100. I rode Conti Race Kings for LT100, but have ridden more traditional XC tires for SR50. Bontrager XR3s.

A few other tips about the race:

  • don’t run up the start hill. It will spike your HR and will take a while to recover.
  • there can be bottle necks on the first climb - depends on how far back you start, and how fast you are at passing people. Generally, line up to start about where you expect to finish - front, middle, back, etc.
  • there will likely be hike a bike, unless you are a very strong rider. Plan for it, and be willing to dismount when the going gets too tough.

Breck is pretty high. You’ll feel like crap for a few days, but by a week you’ll feel better.

The best part of the race!

Which year did you ride it?

In the comments on MTB Project, it sounds like the course was altered?

This one seems to be from this year and has 200ft less climbing:

Comparing the routes, it definitely looks different in the latter half of the out-and-back with the Trailforks version looking like the one on the official site.

I’m trying to get a better idea of the the trails ridden as well as the grades, to see what the hardest points are, but struggling to find much info.

The trailforks version is the route for tomorrow.