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An Interview with 2013 Leadville Trail 100 MTB Male Champion Alban Lakata

2013 Alban LakataMission accomplished for Alban Lakata: After keeping the gas on all day (and enduring what he called one of the toughest one-and-a-half hours of his racing career), the returning champion achieved his goal of breaking the course record.

You didn’t just come back to Leadville for the win, you came to break the course record. How did you do it? 

Yes, my focus this year was to set a new course record. I knew the split times for all aid stations I would need in order to achieve a faster time than the previous record. We arrived at nearly every point two minutes faster than those split times. The result: I broke Levi’s record by more than 12 minutes.

Do you think there’s a chance that the Leadville course can be completed in less than six hours (maybe that should be your next goal)? 

If I come back, then for sure I’ll try to go sub-six hours. That’s just about 0.5km/h more in average speed. I think that’s possible, especially if the conditions are similar to this year.

Did you switch up your nutrition plan at all this year? Were you able to stick with your plan throughout the race? 

My plan was to eat more solid food than last year. That’s better for the stomach. I ate one-and-a-half bananas, half a bar and eight gels. Far less than what I had planned to eat. That’s one way, I think, to be faster the next time.

It was a pretty cold start out there this year. Do you prefer to pile on the layers and start warm? Or does all the excitement surrounding the start keep you warm enough? 

I prefer cold temperatures, but this year it was very chilly at the start. I had on arm warmers, leg warmers, a wind vest, shoe covers and a wind jacket. I got rid of all those extra layers at Twin Lakes on the way out. From that point on, I felt free to go full throttle.

You worked with Sauser until you attacked on Powerline — the same place you attacked last year. Why did that strategy work, and how did you know you could hold the lead?

Sauser, Todd Wells and I were a good working train all the way along. I knew from last year that Powerline is a good place to attack. So I did it again, as it worked out last year. This year it was much harder. Christoph was always in my sight when I looked back over my shoulder. This was one of the hardest one-and-a-half hours in my entire race career.

How did the altitude feel to you this year?

This high altitude feels always strange to me, but with every year it seems to go a little bit better. So maybe that’s another way to improve my current course record. 😉

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