The Summer of Leadman

Ever since first coming to Leadville in 2004 to race the Leadville Trail 100 Bike Race, I have loved the Leadville area.  Not being an ultra runner in 2004, when I heard about the Leadman competition during the awards ceremony, I thought it was crazy.  Fast forward to 2008 when I returned to Leadville to race the Leadville Trail 100 Run as my first 100 mile run and I became very intrigued with the idea of completing Leadman.  After 3 years of running 100s, when we returned to Leadville in 2010 for Emily’s Leadville 100 Run, I was sold on the idea that I had to do Leadman at some point.

What is Leadman?  Leadman is the completion of 5 of the 6 Leadville events over the summer:

  • Leadville Marathon on June 30
  • Leadville Silver Rush 50 Bike or Run on July 14 and 15
  • Leadville 100 Bike on August 11
  • Leadville 10K on August 12
  • Leadville 100 Run on August 18-19

The crux of Leadman is obviously the final 8 days when you have to complete the 2 longest and hardest events as well as a 10K.

When planning my race schedule each year, I apply for Hardrock 100 and everything else revolves around ‘if’ I get into Hardrock.  With this year’s failed lottery attempt, I am not 0 for 4 at the Hardrock lottery.  Since Emily was planning to do Wasatch 100 again, I decided this would be a good year to attempt Leadman.

With the less than average winter in the Wasatch, I came into running season strong and fast from skimo racing.  I started training hard in April adding in more than my normal amount of biking along with my normal amount of running.  I have had some large training weeks with 70 miles of both running and mountain biking in the same week and had planned not to race anything other than the Leadville series.  This has made for a strange spring since it is now the end of June and I haven’t raced yet – I am ready too start racing. 

Training has been more of a sacrifice than normal.  Since the Leadville events are very runnable, not a huge amount of vert, and not real technical, I have had to focus on running instead of the fun adventure running that I like to do.  In the end, this won’t be too big of a deal since I will be done racing August 19 and have late summer and fall for adventure running.  In order to do as best as possible in the events and minimize my travel between Park City and Leadville, I decided to only make 2 trips to Leadville and stay for 3 weeks at a time.  Since house rentals were expensive, I decided that camping was my best option.  I will be in Leadville from June 25-July16 and July 29-August 19.  This will be a long time away from family and friends, but spending that time at altitude and being able to train on all of the courses, will definitely pay off on race days.

While I am in Leadville, I will be taking some time off from work, but will also be working.  My base camp has AT&T 4G service and the great guys at Goal Zero Solar set me up with a couple of solar panels and battery pack so I will be able to spend some time working from camp.  For the rest of the time, I will be working from the Leadville Public Library.

     Leadman Camp 1 – Half Moon Creek

     Leadman Camp 1 – Mt Elbert

       My Goal Zero Solar Powered Work Area

My goal this week is to get out on the marathon course to see all the trail at least once.  After the marathon on Saturday, I will be dedicating my time to the 50 mile run and 100 mile bike courses.

On Tuesday, I attempted to run the first 8 miles of the marathon course.  I drove up to the aid station locaiton around mile 8, then road my mountain bike back to town.  I took a couple of wrong turns on the maze of mining roads, but still ended up at Ball Mt so I had a pretty good idea of what the first 8 miles of climbing will be like.  I had a great run with a good afternoon thunderstorm thrown in for some extra fun in the high elevations.

     Leadville Marathon Elevation Profile

     Mosquito Pass (marathon turn-around) from the mile 8 aid station

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