• Tue August 15 2006
  • Posted Aug 15, 2006
The 13th Edition of Leadville is now in the books and the competitors from Iowa are now safely home! The day began with the 802 starters lined up for the 6:30am start. A 5 mile neutral downhill was very hairy as the pace car tried to keep the pace at about 15mph. A few crashes ended some racers day early, even before their tires saw dirt! Some of the guys on single bikes made it up to the front before the first climb and the tandems clawed their way past about 250 people before the first 4 mile long climb, St. Kevins. The climb, while crowded, went by uneventfully for all the Iowans. Each of us glad to have it done! A fast 3 mile long paved downhill lead directly to the next climb, which started with about 2 miles paved, 2 miles gravel and 2 miles of rough jeep road to the top of Sugarloaf Mtn, 11,400ft. The next 3 miles to the bottom of that mountain are hair raising! You follow a powerline cut basically straight down the mountain. The trail is steep, rocky, rutted and long. Even with fancy hydraulic disc brakes, keeping a tandem under control, this descent makes mush of your forearms! Into the first aid station at mile 28, Jason and Ben were well on track for a sub 10hour pace, Brent, Fish and Brian were on track for an 11-11:30 hour pace and both tandems were just inside the 12hour pace. An hour of jeep road brought us to the Twin Lakes aid station at 9200ft so we could fuel up for the grind to the Columbine Mine at 12,500ft. Jason, Ben and John Adamson paced strongly up the climb... while the rest of us made the best of the 2.5hr climb. Jim and Sally Logan rode strongly catching Dave and Dee Mable about 2/3 of the way up. The last 1.5miles of the climb is on a rough narrow steep trail and is mostly hike-a-bike. Two way traffic makes things very interesting, both up and down! Being runners, Dave and Dee pushed ahead of Logans here and ran into Dave Fish at the aid station at the top... with Logans arriving right behind. This was the longest break that all of us took, eating soup and rice, cheese, and fruit. We needed the energy after being zapped by the climb! Jason, Ben and John were still all on track for a 9:30hr pace, Brent and Brian were moving along on an 11:30hr pace... and Fish and the tandems were pushing the limits on making the 12hr cutoff! A fast and sometimes scary descent led us all to warmer temps and sore forearms. What was a 2-2.5hr climb was only a 45 min descent! As we went through Twin Lakes aid station on the out and back course... big black clouds loomed over the westward mountain tops, moving slowly east over the course. We ventured out along the high plateau and into the storm, with the rain, wind and cold striking the course at around 8 hours. Jason, John and Ben were through the last aid station and heading up the power line climb, under buzzing and crackling power lines while lightning and thunder loomed in the near distance. The rest of us were caught out on an area with only a few trees. The wind and rain gave us no favors, while the temperature dropped an estimated 10-15 degrees. Marching on from the final aid station, only Brent and Brian were on schedule to finish under 12 hours (except of course for Jason, Ben and John, who were still on sub 10hr pace!). Out of the final three, the Mable tandem was leading, with Fish about 7 min. behind and the Logan tandem another 5-7min behind him. The Mable duo had 3.5hrs to make the final 28 miles, with 2 major climbs plus the final 3.5 mile uphill grind to the finish line. Fish and the Mables were the only ones left to push on, the Logan pair succumbing to the cold and driving wind and rain. Dee Mable, driven by the reward of a sporty orange finishers sweatshirt, and Dave by a shiny new belt buckle, pushed ahead, again using their running legs to drive the tandem upward on the push up power line. Over the top of the power line and down to the bottom of St. Kevins left them with 14 miles and 1hr 40 mins left in the race. They pushed hard up the tree mile paved road, hit the dirt again (well, mud!) with an hour-ten and eleven miles. It would be close. Jason, Ben and John were all already safely across the line in 9:49, 9:53 and 9:58. John winning his age group by only 2 mins! Jamie Jorgensen, from Coralville finishing a great first time in 10:39! The motivated Mable tandem was pushing the pace, passing riders on the rest of the climb up St. Kevins. Over the top and down the four mile descent, rain, mud and rocks making it an interesting trip! Finally, through the bottoms of Leadville Station, and cranking the pace to 30mph...with 30 min to make it too the line up the last long gravel ascent! The bottom of the last climb starts with steep loose cantaloupe sized rocks makes it tough to ride. Dee and Dave tried to ride, passing several walking riders, then loosing the one good line when a rider in front of them stopped suddenly. Off the bike and "running" to the top found them on the wet, mucky gravel road of "The Boulevard" for the final 3.5miles. They stormed up the climb, passing rider after rider and finally popping out onto the paved road for the last .9 mile... with 8 min. to go and two more hills... with energy gone and running only on adrenaline, the two pushed over top of the first hill, put it in the big ring and stepped on it... up the last 3 blocks and across the line in 11:55:25 - too close for comfort! Dave Fish continued on, pushing through the mud of St. Kevins, along the bottoms of Leadville Junction and up the Boulevard to finish in a hard fought 12:25, earning a finishers medal to those that make it before 13hour, and the respect of all! In all, 456 finished the 100 miles in 12 hours or less. Jason Alread was the top Iowa finisher, 144th and Ben Garrett at 150th. John Adamson was first for grizzly old men aged 60-69 and 176th overall. Jamie Jorgensen 148th in 10:39, Next came Brent Mitchell, 403rd in 11:39, Brian Benson 415th in 11:41 and Landon Bradly from Kalona 435th in 11:49 and the Mable tandem 446th in 11:55. Dave Fish finished about 25 places back at 12:25. The Leadville Trail 100 is the highest 100 miler in the the country, and has earned the respect of all who attempt it. While the altitude and 15,000 feet of climbing is daunting, the 12hour time limit creates a kind of pressure not normally associated with racing. It creates the need for a strategy to stay ahead of the curve, to push when you want to go easy, to question the need to even finish, when the mark won't be met. The fact that only 50-60% finish on any given year, proves the scale of the challenge, and no one even dare toe the starting line without questioning the ability to make the cut! For info on the Leadville 100, click on David Mable

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