After 16 hours of driving through the night and part of the day, Arkansas Outside contributor Cliff Li and I arrived in the historic mining town of Leadville, Colorado. Home of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race and host to a good size contingent of Arkansas mountain bikers.
Leadville was made famous by extensive silver mining in the 1880’s and has survived to this day on the natural beauty of the area. At 10,152 feet of elevation it is the highest incorporated city in the country.
We arrived to find the town crowded with all kinds of mountain bikes and mountain bikers. After picking up our media badges we headed for the local bike shop to ask about any quick fun rides in the area. We ran into Arkansas mountain bikers, James Gaston and CHAD CRAGLE in line for packet pickup. At the bike shop we settled on a 14 mile out and back ride that would be up for the first half and down for the second. We stopped at Tennesse Pass Cafe for a quick lunch and the on to the trailhead.
The Camp Hale to Tennessee Pass Trail took us up from 9360 ft to the Continental Divide at over 10,400 ft. We had been acclimating ourselves to the thin air for all of about two hours. I don’t recommend this technique. We quickly gained a new respect for our riders from the 300 to 2500 ft elevations of Arkansas. They will be playing with these elevations for over 100 miles on Saturday.
After our adventure we set up camp in Silver Dollar campground I took a quick nap while Cliff enjoyed some food.
We went into town and met up with James Gaston and some of his new friends from North Carolina and Colorado. We had some pizza and talked about how tough the race is from a crowd control perspective. Most of the out of town racers had been in the area for a week or two getting ready, riding the course and learning to breath.
Doing this post from an iPhone is a new experience so please excuse the lack of photos. Well continue to post when we can. Watch our Facebook and Twitter feeds for photos.