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The Leadville Top 10

By Dave Wiens

What are your top ten favorite things about Leadville? We asked Dave Wiens that very question. Go ahead and compare notes: From personal transformation, Ken’s words, Merilee’s hugs and the town itself, we’re willing to bet many of the things on his list are in sync with yours.

1. Increased Motivation and Meaning
Once you commit to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB your mindset will change and this will alter your entire existence in a positive and meaningful manner. Try it and tell me that it’s not true. Upon receiving confirmation of your starting spot in the race, you will experience a remarkable change. Your motivation, in all aspects of your life, will increase. You’ll become better at everything you do.

2. The Personal Transformation
I can’t count the number of people who have told me that this race changed their lives. Whether they lost weight, regained long-lost fitness, got fit for the first time ever or learned to deal with a life event, the LT100 MTB and all that comes with accepting the challenge to ride, has the power to alter peoples lives for the better.

3. The Training
An event as challenging and demanding as the LT100 MTB requires that you put in as much time as you can training and preparing – and this means getting to ride your bike a lot. I think there are some people who sign up just so they have a reason to ride their bike all the time, but the memories, friendships and experiences you’ll accumulate during training rides – road rides, mountain bike rides; cold rides, hot rides: easy rides, hard rides; rides alone, rides with others – will mark your life forever.

4. Ken’s Pre-Race Talk
This is as much a part of the LT100 MTB as anything. Once you have experienced this, Ken Chlouber will be your co-pilot and in your ear not just during the race or while training for it, but he’ll also pop up at other pivotal times in your life when you require grit, guts and determination to get through a rough patch.

5. The Scenery
The early morning glow on Mt. Massive as you’re awaiting the start on race day. You’re staring west, the direction of the starting route down 6th Street, and this majestic fourteener (the second highest peak in the state) watches over the entire upper Arkansas River Valley.

6. The Milestone Climbs
Cresting the final three major climbs of the LT100 MTB – Columbine, Powerline and St. Kevins – each one a milestone and accomplishment and each one that much closer to your goal.

7. The Red Carpet Finish
Riding the red carpet and crossing the finish line at 6th and Harrison being welcomed by Merilee’s smiling face. While Ken is the hardcore, in-your-face motivator, Merilee’s influence and inspiration is no less, just more subtle. Ken will push you toward the finish line; Merilee, and her charm, will pull you there.

8. New Friendships and Family
Friendships are forged in, around and because of the LT100 MTB. Friendships are formed in Leadville before, during and after your race. Friendships are formed while training for the race. Friendships will develop out of casual conversation anytime and anywhere as you come across other members of the ever-expanding and global LT100 family.

9. Leadville, the One and Only
Whether you come to Leadville multiple times during the year to train or even if you only arrive in time for the race, this place draws you in like no other. The heritage, architecture, people, landscape – everything about it. And there is nothing on earth like the ascending hum of Leadville that reaches a crescendo with a shotgun blast at 6:30 a.m. on the third Saturday of August.

10. The Lasting Sense of Relief and Accomplishment
Once the euphoria of simply crossing the finish line wears off, there is an amazing feeling of relief and accomplishment that lasts for months. Initially, it’s very strong as everything that had been weighing heavily for weeks or months – diet, training, equipment, tires and tire pressure, race-day nutrition, altitude, crewing logistics, sleep patterns, etc. – is suddenly and perceptibly gone. This buzz slowly decreases over the course of several days, then mellows and hangs on for months. Note: As this feeling continues to smolder, it will eventually fuel your motivation to commit all over again to another LT100 MTB.

Good luck, I hope to see you out there!

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