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Dispatches from Columbine — Q&A with Dave Wiens

Dave Wiens has answers to your questions about training plans, hardtail vs. fully, and the Blueprint for Athletes Camp of Champions. Have a specific question you’d like to ask our experts? Post to social and use #AskLT100.

What is the most effective training plan for the Blueprint for Athletes Leadville Trail 100 MTB

This is a great question, but one that has the most frustrating of all answers: It depends. A training plan for someone new to mountain biking will be much different than one for an experienced rider. Likewise, a rider who only rides off-road will have a much different training program than a rider who rides a road bike, too.

The training “plan” that I will always champion, no matter the rider, is that there is no substitute for riding your bike. Ride it short, ride it long. Ride it slow, ride it fast. Climb all kinds of hills and hammer the flats. Keep some sort of training record or journal, making note of how you feel after different types of rides, and perhaps you’ll notice some trends. Short of that, I don’t think you can go wrong hiring a coach. But do some research first, looking for a reputable coach with experience, and take an active role in the training process. You’ll learn a ton.

I was hoping to get some bike advice. I have both a carbon hardtail and a carbon full suspension. Both are right around 25 pounds, fully loaded. The full suspension is set up with slightly nicer components. Which would you recommend for the LT100 MTB? Generally, the hardtail seems to climb better and the full suspension descends better. 

I’m always going to opt for the hardtail, but I would be looking to lighten it up if possible. The qualifier here is that I’m essentially a dinosaur and was racing fully rigid MTBs with toe clips for a few years, so nothing is shocking to me. I’ll almost always take the more efficient pedaling bike over one that might give me an advantage on the descents. Over the course of five major climbs, miles of flats and untold rollers and stingers, the most efficient bike, in my opinion, is always going to be the lightweight hardtail.

How does Camp of Champions prepare me for the LT100 MTB? If I do the camp, am I guaranteed a spot? My luck was not with me for the lottery last year and I’m looking to increase my chances to toe-the-line on August 13!

In addition to guaranteeing you a spot in the LT100, attending the Camp of Champions will:

  • Give you a detailed look at every mile of the course, eliminating surprises on race day.
  • Give you access to Leadville veterans who can shorten your learning curve about all of the many details you’ll want to bring together for the best possible race – bike setup, nutrition, training, pacing, preparing your crew, and more.
  • Provide a hard training block that will inform you about your fitness several weeks out from the race.
  • Provide skills coaching to make you a better and more efficient mountain biker.
  • Help you develop camaraderie and new friendships – the only kind that can come from being thrown into a challenging environment with likeminded mountain bikers. Just like when we were kids, we have a blast at camp!


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