With his record-breaking win and the support of his family, Ben Aufderheide snagged himself a spot at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB start line.
How does it feel to be a record breaker?
It always feels good to break a record! Really, I had no idea how fast I would be because I had never ridden the course before. I’d raced against the former record holder Bryson Perry in Utah a couple of times this year and heard he had set the record last year, so I thought if I had a good day and the weather cooperated I might have a shot.
Take us through your race — what was your strategy?
First it was to line up at the front and be in a good position (top fifteen or twenty riders) after the crazy run up Dutch Henry Hill. Then to settle in and try to ride with the front group until at least the turnaround point. I knew we had a long substantial road climb before the final descent of several miles. The idea was to try to get a gap on that climb and then hold on until the finish.
Tell us about your bike. What are you riding and what’s your setup?
Cannondale Scalpel Ultimate 29er. With ENVE wheels, Schwalbe racing Ralph tires, and Rotor-Q rings on the front chainrings. The Hub Bicycles in Jackson, Wyoming, keeps it running perfectly. I’m really enjoying the full suspension. It is the only way to go especially on the rough Silver Rush 50 course.
Give us a rundown of your racing resume. What’s your typical distance and favored terrain?
I typically enjoy the marathon-type events — 50 miles or about four hours of racing is about perfect for me. Courses with lots of climbing really suit me and that is a main strength. Races this year included: 12 Hours of Disco (on a team in Salmon, Idaho); the Wasatch Back 50 in Utah; Outer Local Games in Jackson; Marathon National Championships in Sun Valley; the Laramie Enduro in Laramie, Wyoming; Pierre’s Hole at Grand Targhee; Park City Point-to-Point, and this year I am lucky enough to get to go to the Red Bull Dolomitenmann in Lienz, Austria.
Now that you’ve qualified, will we see you at the Leadville Trail 100 in August?
Yes — can’t wait. Got the green light from my wife and family to go for it!
What are you most looking forward to and how will you prepare?
The atmosphere is 2,000 racers buzzing around. Hanging out with a bunch of like-minded people competing and pushing ourselves to the limit. To prepare I will do whatever my wife tells me to do: She has personal training business, Teton Training, that has gotten me in pretty good shape so far.