The Year After Next Year Starts Today

11.30.2015 | 12:57 pm

Tomorrow, the lottery opens for the 2016 Leadville 100. At my house, that’s kind of a big deal. I’ll be signing The Hammer and me up for it pretty much the moment it’s possible to sign up.

2016 will be my twentieth LT100 (although it will hopefully be my nineteenth finish). And as you might guess, I’m already thinking about it.

Thinking about how I’ll be fifty years old when I race this year. 

Thinking about how I want to do my fastest LT100 at age 50. 

Thinking about what I will need to do in order to make that happen, and the kind of help I’m going to need to ask for.

And thinking beyond this year, to…well, to something new.

Doing Something New

While doing this race is anything but new to me, it is new — and intimidating — to most of the people who try it. And that’s awesome. People should do new, scary stuff. Whether it’s racing, or trying mountain biking, or getting in shape when you haven’t been in shape in years, or writing, or drawing, or singing, or…or…anything

I think it’s awesome to stretch yourself. To do something new.

As Exhibit A in the “Do Something New” sweepstakes, I’d like to present this very cool print by Cole Chlouber, an artist and a friend:

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I first became acquainted with this artwork when I saw a photo of it on Facebook, at which point I reached out to Cole and told him I needed a copy (I got #16 of 50) and also said, “Hey, I didn’t even know you’re an artist; I feel stupid for not having known that.”

Cole replied along the lines of, “Until recently, nobody knew.” But now we do. Cole’s putting himself out there. And that’s awesome. 

Something New For You

Maybe you’re thinking of putting yourself out there, too. Like, maybe trying to race the LT100. But maybe you’ve got some concerns. Like, is it even possible to get in to this race? And how can you get ready for it, once you’re in?

Well, I can probably help with both of these questions.

First, getting in to this race can be very difficult, if you just try your luck at the lottery. To be honest (but completely unscientific), it seems that about 15% of the people I hear about entering the lottery actually get in. That’s not terrible odds, but not great.

But there are a few surefire ways to get into the Leadville 100. Most people just don’t know about them. 

  • Camp of Champions: This is perhaps the simplest way to guarantee yourself a slot in the race, and is a pretty good value. For $2000, you get an entry in the race as well as four days of race course recon, with access to LT100 legends Dave Wiens and Rebecca Rusch. David Houston and Dave Thomas have each gotten into the race this way, and they’ve each told me that they were glad they went.
  • World Bicycle Relief: I have it on good authority that World Bicycle Relief is going to have charity slots available this year…and that there are some pretty famous people who are going to be a part of it. (And I’m not just talking about me, either.) If you take one of the coveted Team WBR LT100 slots, you’re going to have to do some serious fundraising, but it’ll be worth it.
  • Charity Slot: If you want to make this race be about something larger than yourself, you can get a guaranteed slot in the race by raising money (at least $2000) for one of the race’s charities, or for one of your choice. 
  • CEO Challenge: If you’re a C-level honcho at a company that makes at least $5million a year, you can fork over $2K to get into the race, hobnob with other executives, get VIP treatment, network, get an un-earned spot in the blue corral, and otherwise make me gag. 

There are also several qualifier races you can use to get in, which are definitely not surefire, but are a good backup plan if you don’t get into the lottery. 

And if all that fails, you can boost your probability of getting into the race the following year by volunteering this year. 

Let me know in the comments if you’re planning to try to get into the LT100 this year…and if so, whether you’re going with the lottery or some other strategy for getting in.

Sharing What We Know

In the past nineteen years of racing the LT100, I’ve picked up a few things. Last year, Rebecca Rusch and I did a little webinar series (episode 1, episode 2, episode 3) to help folks get prepared for the race. 

They seemed to do a lot of people a lot of good; while in Leadville, dozens of people came up to us, thanking us for putting these on.

So, this year, we’re going to do more of these webinars. But this year, we’re going to start much earlier in the year, while you still have time to train and practice fueling smart. And we’re going to bring on guests. Like, seriously smart and knowledgeable guests who can help you hit your goal, whether it’s to finish in under thirteen hours, twelve hours, or even nine hours. 

Stay tuned for more on this. 

Something New For Me Too

This year, I plan to be fast at Leadville. Really fast. Sub-8 fast. And that’s a little bit new. 

But my truly new thing for 2016 isn’t even about 2016. It’s about 2017. And it’s already started.

For my twentieth finish of the LT100, I’d like to also have it be my first Leadman finish. Which means, yes, that I will need to do the LT100 run the week after I ride the LT100. 

I’m going to need to do some training if I want that to happen. And…I’ve already started. Specifically, I’m doing four-mile trail runs.

Yeah, I’ve got a lot of work to do if I’m going to make that happen. But hey…I kinda want to stretch myself a little bit.


  1. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 11.30.2015 | 1:18 pm

    Fatty, going for Leadman is AWESOME. So psyched for you!

    Regarding my 2016 plans: 2015 was a GREAT first-time experience for me, but no LT100MTB for me next year. But I’ll probably give it a go at some point in the future.

    Having failed 3-4 times to get in via lottery, I went the volunteer route in 2014. I don’t think there was a guarantee, but I got in in 2015.

    I also race the Wilmington Whiteface qualifier in 2015. I’m guessing at the odds, but I think that I would have had a 50/50 or so chance of getting in via WW.

    The organizers have tokens that can be used to register for the LT100MTB as long as you finish WW in under 8 hours (I finished in 7h, and finished the LT100MTB in 11h 30m, so that gives you some idea of what a sub-8 finish at WW means).

    Most of the tokens are earmarked for age group winners at WW. But, if the winners don’t take them (keep in mind that it’s a LONG way from WW to CO), the tokens filter down in order of finish. There are also a few tokens that get handed out at WW if you happen to be at the right place at the right time.

  2. Comment by Bill T | 11.30.2015 | 1:21 pm

    Way to walk (run?) on the wild side Fatty! Looking for a crew/pacers yet? Count me in.

  3. Comment by Steven Toby | 11.30.2015 | 1:29 pm

    My teammates and I will be entering the Lottery as a team, same as we did last year (We did not get in).

    With eight guys, getting slots via one of the other methods isn’t really an option.

    We are so far away (Kentucky) that none of us want to go unless the whole group goes.

    The 2016 date does pose a problem for me, as it overlaps USAC Masters Track Nationals in Indy (the track I normally race at), which is also a big goal of mine to ride. But getting in isn’t as big a problem as Leadville. If I get in, I’m coming west!

  4. Comment by Arizona Guy | 11.30.2015 | 1:31 pm

    You know Leadman is actually 6 events, right? There is a trail marathon in June, the Silver Rush (Rausch?) 50 in July and LT100, followed by a 10K the next day… then the 100 mile run.

    You better get comfy in Leadville if you want that big chunk of rock you get with Leadman.

  5. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 11.30.2015 | 1:50 pm

    I will also be putting my name in the lottery tomorrow morning. Last year was my first Leadville, and it was the best riding/race I have ever done. The people, racers, families, volunteers, everyone involved made it an event I will not forget.
    When I arrived at Twin lakes outbound last year the first thing I said to my wife was “I am never doing this again” her reply was “We’ll see.” Man other than her choice of spouse my wife sure is smart.
    I am not aiming for a sub 8, but sub 10 is a goal I think I can shoot for.

  6. Comment by Jeff Weaver | 11.30.2015 | 1:55 pm

    I plan on qualifying at the Wilmington 100k in June, look forward to all the tips I can get for Leadville

  7. Comment by gly | 11.30.2015 | 2:02 pm

    I plan on the lottery and putting my wheels down in a qualifier. Looking forward to the adventure this will bring.

  8. Comment by Frank W | 11.30.2015 | 2:08 pm

    I’ll enter the lottery again, let’s see if I can beat the odds twice.

  9. Comment by FellowFattyChris | 11.30.2015 | 2:17 pm

    I’m not sure if I will try the MTB lottery again. I think I may just try my chances at qualifying in Cedar City. Like Bill’s previous comment, I’d also be willing to crew/pace for your 2017 run.

    Thank you, Chris! The Swimmer’s plan is also to try to qualify in via Cedar City. The Hammer and I will also be there. She will be there in order to move up to the silver corral, I will be there in order to pull her to the silver corral. Maybe we can all work together! – FC

  10. Comment by Kim Wack | 11.30.2015 | 3:10 pm

    I am going to put in for the lottery as a singlespeed! The Hammer egged me on. It’s all her fault.

  11. Comment by Don | 11.30.2015 | 3:14 pm

    Hi Elden,
    I plan to enter the lottery for what will hopefully be my 4th Leadville 100 MTB. I will head to the Austin Rattler as plan B. I plan to make my 50th year my fastest Leadville as well. Best wishes on that endeavor. As far as the 2017 Leadman effort, what a monumental task. Way to push the envelope.

  12. Comment by Nick - Sydney | 11.30.2015 | 3:32 pm

    Fatty – I am toying with the idea of doing it again. Will throw my hat into the lotteria and see how we go. Riding at sea level in Sydney is the perfect prep, right?

    Email me, Nick! If you get in, you ABSOLUTELY must stay at the B&B I’ll be renting. – FC

  13. Comment by Eric | 11.30.2015 | 5:12 pm

    I was having the debate with myself recently of whether I wanted to ride Leadville again after my first-time experience this year or not. And then I debated whether I should let the lottery gods decide if I couldn’t. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. Leadville Run still sounds insane to me, though :)

  14. Comment by Corrine | 11.30.2015 | 6:47 pm

    Not this year for me since I’m recovering from my knee replacement surgeries with complications. I would like to try again some year to break the 12 hour barrier. I should have the okay to bike with both legs in another 2 weeks, though! Yippee! Fatty, you are insane to try Leadman! Is the Hammer going to go for it too? I think it is a great goal which I’m sure you will achieve!

    Yes, the current plan is that we do all events side-by-side. – FC

  15. Comment by ed | 11.30.2015 | 7:30 pm

    wife just gave the reluctant ok, she wasn’t thrilled with the altitude, entering lottery and Austin rattler, got in last year and was cut off at pipeline, thanks for the selfie you took with us at the Leadville race store, good luck to you

  16. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 11.30.2015 | 10:37 pm

    So, Leadville? I can’t remember whether you’ve ventured into trail ultramarathons yet, but if you haven’t, I admire the audacity. I tried to make a similar leap in 2011 and I’m still flailing around with it. I’ve had okay winter hundreds, but my summer 100 finishes have been ugly at best, and I’ve DNF’d two because of cutoffs. For some reason we cyclists think we can walk 100 miles in 30 hours … and then we try it … And the pain. Oh the pain. Words do not describe the pain. I’ve completed some ultra-long bike events, but nothing hurts like a 100.

    I do look forward to your training posts! Good luck! :)

    Giving myself (almost) two years to work up to it seems like it should help, but I completely realize that the most likely outcome of this will be a DNF for me, then meeting The Hammer at the finish line (she’s been a runner for a long time and is a lock for a good finish time).

    Hey, you should put LT100 on your calendar for 2017. The three of us could start together, and then the two of you would still have company when I implode. – FC

  17. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 11.30.2015 | 10:42 pm

    Oh, I see now you’re planning on Leadman in 2017 … not sub-8 next season and then the run one week later. I guess that’s a little more reasonable. :P

  18. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 12.1.2015 | 12:01 am

    My daughter paced a runner during part of the Leadman 100 run; she ran a full marathon with him, a good portion of it at night. She still talks about the pain.

    The bike race for me, as enticing as it sounds, will have to be lived through you and your blog posts/commenters. I’ll be following your progress toward 2016 and especially 2017; should be entertaining!

  19. Comment by Tom in Albany | 12.1.2015 | 6:53 am

    Woah! You are stretching yourself to the max. Awesome!

    For your video series, I’d love to hear how you managed any personal feelings of guilt while taking all of the time you trained with a house full of young kids and Susan’s cancer. I can’t seem to get myself to commit to a big event because I feel incredibly guilty for taking the time away from wife, kids, house crap, etc.

    Best of luck, Fatty!

  20. Comment by Brian in VA | 12.1.2015 | 7:56 am

    That’s quite a stretch Fatty but about what I’ve come to expect from you! You inspire me.

    Can’t even think about Leadville this year but 2017 will be my 60th trip around the sun and I may have to do something epic for that one.

  21. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 12.1.2015 | 9:35 am

    I LOVE the “reluctant OK” stories. A friend of mine cautiously asked his wife, “Hey, have you seen those bikes with the big tires that you can ride in the snow?”

    To cut off what she knew was going to be a protracted losing death march, she disgustedly and resignedly responded, “Just buy the #$%@ thing.”

  22. Comment by Derek | 12.1.2015 | 10:50 am

    Just signed up for the lottery again – fingers crossed for the next couple months.

  23. Comment by wharton_crew | 12.1.2015 | 12:47 pm

    @ Jeff D – “a friend”, huh? Riiiiiiiight. For the first time in a decade, I live in a snow state, and I’m eying those fat tires with curiosity, fear, and a little drool.

    For those of you who have raced LT100MTB, I have a weird question. How do your support crews get to the aid stations? Is there a fire-road that they bus themselves up? Helicopter drop them off?

  24. Comment by owen | 12.1.2015 | 1:15 pm

    wharton_crew – its not as remote as your probably thinking. Easy road access for crews. Also very doable without a crew using drop bags and race SAGS.

  25. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 12.1.2015 | 2:14 pm

    @wharton_crew, I agree with owen regarding support.

    Regarding N+1, I’m not married, so S-1 = ?. [smile]

  26. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 12.1.2015 | 2:14 pm

    That “?” was supposed to be the infinity symbol.

  27. Comment by john | 12.1.2015 | 6:12 pm

    I plan on racing in 16 and ought to get in with 11 finishes. I was thinking of breaking the time record for the 70+ Cat. – until I found out it is faster than what I did as a 50 year old. Now I just hope to finish and maybe stand on the podium.

  28. Comment by Levi | 12.2.2015 | 10:02 pm

    Fatty, sweet deal attempting leadman, pretty badass! I’m in on the bike for 16, and it will be my first attempt. Pretty much all I think about these days! The inspiration, info, and stories you give us are priceless to a newby mtbr like me. I look forward to following along as I train for this event and can’t wait to experience Leadville! Hope to see you there!


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