Leadville Prep Obsession, Part 2: Lists

08.7.2013 | 8:42 am

Most things I write for this site are meant to be accessible by anyone who likes bikes. Or knows what a bike is.

This one is not. This post is really just for myself — something I can bookmark and put on my phone’s home page, then go back and refer to about a thousand times during the next few days.

Because this is my Leadville Numbers, Stats, Lists, and Miscellaneous Obsessing post.

But you’re welcome to read it anyway. Especially if you happen to be in Leadville right now and are obsessing over similar things.

Mostly Failing to Learn from History

First of all, I’ve done the Leadville race before. Lots of times. Here’s a list of how I did (links go to race reports when I have them):

  1. 1997: 10:36
  2. 1998: 11:27
  3. 1999: 09:13
  4. 2000: 09:30
  5. 2001: 09:17
  6. 2002: 10:20
  7. 2003: 09:20
  8. 2004: 10:56
  9. 2005: 09:41
  10. 2006: 10:06
  11. 2007: 09:14
  12. 2008: 10:06 (Singlespeed)
  13. 2009: DNF (Singlespeed)
  14. 2010: 09:17 (Singlespeed)
  15. 2011: 08:18
  16. 2012: 08:49 (Singlespeed, 1st place)

There’s probably enough data in that collection of stories to give anyone who cares to figure it all out a good list of things one should do — and not do — in this race.

Oh, and if you’re curious how I keep all these times straight, it’s cuz my friend Rod made me a cool sweatshirt with my finishing times and defining moments listed on it:


I should probably get a sharpie and write my 2012 time on that sweatshirt, though.

The Danger Distances

For me, one of the tricks to racing the Leadville 100 is to not let the whole thing get into my head. I am always racing the current section. When I get to the end of that section, I push my mental reset button and start the next one.

So if I had a bad section, I’m mentally starting over. Just because a part of it went bad doesn’t mean the whole thing has to go bad.

That said, there are certain sections that are always difficult, and I find it helpful to know their distances. Here they are (links go to Strava segments):

  • Twin Lakes Dam to Columbine Turnaround: 10.0 miles. This is the climb everyone everyone focuses on, but it’s honestly not the hardest part. It’s the second-hardest. I find it useful to break this section down further. 2 miles from the aid station to the base of the climb. 1/2 mile of extremely hard climbing after that. 4.5 miles of medium-effort climbing. 3 miles of swapping between hiking and riding. And then you’re at the top.
  • The Powerline Climb: The hardest part of the race is the Powerline Climb. It is simply brutal. So it’s helpful to know that from when you turn off the pavement, it’s 4.0 miles to the top. For me, it’s even more helpful to know that when you go through a gate — signaling the beginning of the climb in earnest — it’s 3.3 miles to the top.
  • The Turquoise Lake Paved Climb: After dropping down Sugar Loaf, you turn on to pavement. From there, it’s 4.6 miles ’til you turn back on to dirt. The first 1.5 miles of it is downhill, though, and a fantastic place to fuel up for the long grind ahead. Then you take a hard right and it’s 3 miles ’til you turn left onto dirt again (where there’s a mini aid station waiting for you).

My Hoped-For Splits

Here’s a fun drinking game you can play when you’re in Leadville right before the Leadville 100. Just ask everyone how they’re hoping to do in the race. Drink every time someone replies with one of the following:

  • “I’m just hoping to finish.”
  • “Anything under twelve hours sounds good to me.”

And I don’t need to list anything else, because those are the only two things anyone ever says. It’s like we’ve all made a secret pact with each other to not reveal to anyone what our actual ambitions are, in spite of the fact that we’ve all spent hours figuring out our projected split times.

Well, “Enough!” I say, forcefully. I’m going to come right out and tell you: My best-case objective is to finish in 8:34. Fifteen minutes faster than last year. There, I said it. That’s what I want. However, I will be very happy indeed with any time that is faster than the 8:49 I finished with last year. 

And here’s how that ought to look:

  • Pipeline (25 miles): 2:00
  • Twin Lakes (40 miles): 2:40
  • Columbine Turnaround (50 miles): 4:20
  • Twin Lakes (60 miles): 4:55
  • Pipeline (75 miles): 6:00
  • Finish line (103.8 miles): 8:30
Yeah, I gave myself a nice little four-minute cushion. You know, just to have fun with.


What will I be eating and drinking? Well, here’s what I’m going to be asking my crew (which will be Kenny and Heather!) to have ready for me:

Twin Lakes 1 (2:40)

  • Soup
  • Water (for chugging)
  • 1.5 bottles
  • 4 gels
  • Pull off arm warmers

Twin Lakes 2 (4:55)

  • Soup
  • Coke
  • Rice cake
  • 1 bottle
  • 2 gels
  • 1 chews, open
Pipeline (6:00)

  • Soup
  • Water (for chugging)
  • Rice cake
  • 2 bottles
  • 2 chews
  • 4 gels

And that’s about it. I’m easy to crew for.

OK. I’m done obsessing. Or more accurately, I’m done writing about my obsessing. I’m heading out this evening, and will arrive in Leadville tomorrow. I’ll be tweeting (if you don’t follow me, maybe you should: I’m @fatcyclist, unsurprisingly), and — if I have time and am not too anxious — may post a few short entries on the blog.

And I’ll be back Monday, with a race report of…whatever happens.


  1. Comment by Matt (anything under 12) | 08.7.2013 | 8:52 am

    so you pull off your arm warmers at the base of columbine? you don’t get cold coming back down? or is it over fast enough that you don’t worry about it? Also, do you pack the rain jacket the whole race, don’t bother, or do you pick it up along the way? Good luck!

    If the day’s cold, I keep my armwarmers with me — I can tell whether I’m going to want them or not on Columbine by the time I get to Twin Lakes. The current weather forecast has me thinking I’ll probably keep them on this year.

    I put a rain jacket in the Columbine drop bag in case I need one there, and I carry one throughout the day if the weather looks threatening. – FC

  2. Comment by Jim Tolar | 08.7.2013 | 9:19 am

    Good luck FatMan and The Hammer! I’m already looking forward to the multiple race reports.


  3. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 08.7.2013 | 9:43 am

    Good Luck ‘Big Man’!

    Like others I look forward to sharing in an ‘armchair’ way your success. I’m pulling for Doug(way upstate New York) now going all Grizzly-er Adamsthere in Colorado, and any other Fatties tackling this crazy effort.

    As for The Hammer…it’s time! (podium smile)

    Good Luck to Everyone!!

  4. Comment by owen | 08.7.2013 | 9:48 am

    no Kenny in this years race? – the race report won’t be the same without his sightings and snarky comments back and forth.

    Kenny’s doing the Breck Epic this year. – FC

  5. Comment by Wife#1 | 08.7.2013 | 10:08 am

    Go forth and conquer sir! Just remember, it’s a win/win for the rest of us. If you do great, you have a fabulous story to share. If you implode, you have a fabulous story to tell. If you explode, well… we all know AKChick loves a good poop story. *ducking and running from Sasha now*

    In other words, it’s all good, so just go out there and have fun. Oh and Hammer – kick some SS booty!

  6. Comment by Wharton_Crew | 08.7.2013 | 10:18 am

    Good luck! But why isn’t Kenny racing this year?? Although he’s not nearly as famous or award winning, we all love to read about his racing too! Have you banned him from blogging, so as to minimize your competition for Beloved Bike Blogger status? Are you a mob Don??

  7. Comment by Nancy_in_MN | 08.7.2013 | 10:20 am

    @FC, @Lisa, you two already have me on the edge of my seat! You sure know how to whip up a crowd, Fatty!

    @David-Marin,ca Do we have a sense of who the regular FC-fan Leadville riders will be? That might be a dumb question, but I ask dumb things sometimes. In addition to FC and The Hammer we have:

    @Doug (way upstate New York)

    Hoping to cheer all of them on from afar. I’ll be in northern Michigan on a MTB trip where I can’t ride because of broken rib and lung injury… dumb endo in northern Wisconsin 10 days ago…. I blame Wisconsin.

    @Wife#1 You constantly delight, as does @AKChick!

  8. Comment by James | 08.7.2013 | 10:22 am

    LOL! I nearly choked on my drink as I pictured Fatty as a mob boss. Someone who’s better at photoshop than me should get right on that visualization! Stanley Tucci meets Brando = Fatty!

  9. Comment by sdcadbiker | 08.7.2013 | 10:35 am

    Y’know, there’s a reason why nobody ever tells the truth about their ambitions for this race: The Jinx.
    …and that’s all I’m going to say because I’ll be there too!

  10. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 08.7.2013 | 11:10 am

    Good luck to Fatty, the Hammer, Doug(way updsate new York), Corrine, TJinCT, and any other Friends of Fatty who wil be riding in Leadville on Saturday. We are rooting for you all!

    Looking forward to at least two reports next week on the day’s events. Most of us can only particpate vicariously through your reports, and we look forward to them with baited breath (not quite sure what “baited breath” really is, but idioms aren’t always clear anyway).


  11. Comment by MattC | 08.7.2013 | 11:22 am

    Every year around this time I always think I should do this race someday, then my ego goes takes a quick nap and I truly think about it, and remember that I am a big wuss who lives at sea-level, and riding my bike as hard as I possibly can for WAY over 8 hours doesn’t sound like that much fun (that’s the ‘big wuss’ talking).

    Good luck to all Fatties who dare this Monument of Mt bike races. Finishing at all is a huge accomplishment in my book (I’ve never yet done a century on my mtb). Doing it on a SS just defies my senses…(and Fatty…the gear you chose blows my mind, even more so than the gear you chose last year).

    Sometimes when I’m out mtb’ing around I think I should try a SS…so I gear down to my 34×20 and TRY to do any reasonable climb, and VERY quickly realize why I have (and LOVE) my gears (that’s the big wuss talking again).

    Be safe all you LT100 Fatties, and share your stories!

  12. Comment by Corrine | 08.7.2013 | 11:24 am

    Thanks to all of you cheering on us Friends of Fatty. I truly do just want to finish the race and hopefully in under 12 hours!. I missed the second cut off by 3-4 minutes last year so this year I want to be able to suffer to the end! My husband, Eric, is also doing the race this year but he is stronger on the uphills and fearless on the downhills (unlike me – I’m a total wimp) so I will only see him coming down from Columbine. The weather is drizzly and below 50 here in Leadville so it can only get better (I hope) by Saturday.
    I’ll be wearing my 100 MoN T-shirt so if any Friends of Fatty see me at the bib pick up or pre race meeting, say hello, I’d love to meet you. Same to Fatty and the Hammer.

  13. Comment by Christina | 08.7.2013 | 11:29 am

    Do you mean The Feed Zone rice cakes? If so, do you go with standard egg and bacon, or a different mix?

    Best wishes! I know you’ll do awesomely.

  14. Comment by Brian in Va | 08.7.2013 | 12:03 pm

    Have a great ride everyone! Can’t wait thread about it next week.

  15. Comment by Jenni | 08.7.2013 | 12:40 pm

    Hi all!
    I’m headed to Colorado tomorrow to crew for Doug Bohl, but if any Fatties recognize me, please come say hi, I’d love to meet you in person. Or we can stay in touch through Twitter on possible meet ups. Let’s hashtag through Fatty?

    Can’t wait!!

  16. Comment by MLB | 08.7.2013 | 2:02 pm

    Did I miss the pickle juice in your food list? Good luck and have fun!

  17. Comment by kimbrolio | 08.7.2013 | 3:41 pm

    Man, seeing all those race reports listed out makes me realize I’ve been reading this blog a looooong time!
    Y’all give it hell!

  18. Comment by Susie H | 08.7.2013 | 4:04 pm

    Go Fatty and the Hammer! I’ll be on the edge of my seat, waiting for the report. Good luck to both of you, we’re all pulling for you!

  19. Comment by AKChick | 08.7.2013 | 4:08 pm

    Hey Fatty, if you see a guy wearing an HDR jersey, tell him Sasha says Hi and good luck. He is a very kind coworker who is crazy, I mean, in good enough shape to do Leadville. He has heard of you, though he said he’d be in the back of the pack so he may not see you. I know you’ll be busy with race prep and getting your race face on, but in case you happen to remember…
    I will be following on Twitter and checking for updates and crossing my fingers that The Queen of Pain finishes in the time I guessed or that I have the closest guess (fingers and toes crossed).

    I will also cross all said fingers and toes that you BEAT the time you’ve set for yourself. Or should I try reverse psychology and say you’re going to be MUCH slower (thereby making you so made you’re much faster?).

    In any case, I’ll be checking on you and the Hammer (and Reba). Allez!

  20. Comment by AKChick | 08.7.2013 | 4:11 pm

    Corrine – just saw your post! Good luck!!!! I know you and your hubby will finish! Sending some Alaskan luck with you – you don’t need anything else!

  21. Comment by AKChick | 08.7.2013 | 4:14 pm

    Also, Wife#1 YES I love a good poop story! But if Fatty is smart, he has action wipes. :)

  22. Comment by Kyle | 08.7.2013 | 6:55 pm

    Fatty– I just got back from the Cascade CreamPuff 100 in beautiful Oakridge, Oregon. Total death march- 20k in climbing over 100 miles. 69 entered, 21 finished. You should check it out- Oakridge has beautiful riding and scenery, but not much else going on- I live in Bend, but would love to see the gang in Oakridge get some publicity for their events and top-notch trail maintenance. http://www.cascadecreampuff.com



  23. Comment by Tony | 08.7.2013 | 6:58 pm

    I wish I was obsessed with a bike race like you. Sounds fun.

  24. Comment by Doug (Way Upstate NY) | 08.7.2013 | 8:31 pm

    The weather in Leadville today? Well, it snowed above 11,000 ft. I learned a harsh lesson in the weather here and the importance of staying dry while riding (wet fingers for a very short time, very bad idea).

    My goals? I have 3. 1. Finish under 12. 2. Time splits written down: 11 hours. 3. Remember goal #1. (I too really want to just finish under 12 hours. I have no idea what to expect.)

    Corrine, I have my Last Stop Pie Shop shirt with me. I will try to wear it tomorrow. I think Jenni and I will try to go to Single Track High. Will be on the lookout for other FOF’s.

    Friends of Fatty’s keep us in your thoughts. It’s going to be a ride. There is no doubt about that. :)

  25. Comment by AKChick | 08.7.2013 | 9:53 pm

    That sounds like something that would happen in Alaska @Doug (Way Upstate NY). I’ve had some really chilly rides because I don’t wear gloves normally (can’t stand them actually unless it’s winter or very cold and raining).

    I know all the Friends of Fatty will finish! I have no doubt. The Queen of Pain said the course has been fast so hope it remains fast and isn’t too hot or cold or rainy. I wish I could be there to cheer you on!

    If you happen to see a guy in an HDR jersey, tell him Sasha said Hi and Good Luck. He is a coworker from another office. I am not sure if this is his first time or not. He’s a great guy and has supported my Livestrong fundraising in the past.

    If I don’t write before Saturday – good luck and Allez!

  26. Comment by leroy | 08.8.2013 | 6:53 am

    Allez FC!

    When the going gets challenging, don’t forget to smile and breathe.

    You may not go faster, but at least you’re smiling.

  27. Comment by Co. Coach | 08.8.2013 | 2:55 pm

    Just checked in for the race.. 2500 people got in this year.. I am also hoping to finish under 12 hours. (Fatty take a drink :))good luck everyone and hope to see other friends of Fatty’s at the finish line.

  28. Comment by Josh | 08.9.2013 | 12:14 am

    You make a roadie want to buy a mountain bike and have some fun in the dirt. Good luck Saturday!

  29. Comment by DanD | 08.13.2013 | 8:28 am

    2012 Link is directing to the 2011 race report.


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