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Event Series Event Series: Leadville Race Series MTB

Leadville Trail 100 MTB 2024

August 10

mountain bikers at leadville trail 100 mtb

Updated April 2, 2024

A mountain bike race that needs no introduction, the race of all races...the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. One hundred miles and 12,000+ feet of elevation gain at high-altitude, extreme terrain of the Colorado Rockies makes it one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in Colorado and the Rockies year after year. This event was created for the most determined athletes - with peak elevations reaching 12,600 feet; you’ll be challenged to catch your breath while the views try to take it away.  Leadville Trail 100 MTB is the culmination of the famed Leadville Race Series, produced by Life Time Events, an organization focused on producing premier off-road Gravel, Mountain, and Trail running events in spectacular locations across the US.

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB's iconic sister event, the Leadville Trail 100 Run, takes place the following weekend. The "Race Across the Sky" is the culminating event of the Leadville Race Series Run, a Grand Slam of Ultra-Running event, and one of the Best Trail Running Events in the Rockies. Its shorter training event, Leadville Trail 10k takes place the day after the MTB event.

Event & Course Info

The inspiration for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB came back in 1994 when a group of 150 riders decided to take on a similar challenge to the Leadville Trail 100 Run but on two wheels. The iconic running event's origins go back to 1983 when community champions were determined to boost the local economy and celebrate the town's mining heritage after the closure of the Climax Molybdenum Mine. This is where the idea of a grueling ultramarathon trail race was born to showcase the tenacity and indomitable spirit of the Leadville community. Riders and runners alike must confront high-altitude challenges, extreme weather conditions, and technical trails, making it a true test of physical and mental endurance.

Over the years, the Leadville Trail 100 MTB has gained immense popularity, attracting elite athletes, amateur riders, and mountain biking enthusiasts from around the globe. The event has also become a symbol of determination and perseverance as participants push their limits to complete the grueling course within the strict time cutoff. Finishing the Leadville 100 is considered a remarkable achievement, earning riders a coveted belt buckle as a badge of honor. Registration is lottery-based or won through certain finishing requirements of any qualifying Leadville Race Series events listed toward the end of the article.

Making the event extra special is the positive impact to the local community from funds generated by the event. Each year, organizers are able to give back through strategic partnerships and projects aimed at benefiting Leadville and Lake County, including just this past year, over $400,000 in college scholarships to graduating seniors pursuing higher education, grants for new trails in Leadville, support has been extended for healthy lunches and necessary improvements to local schools.

The Course: The epic Leadville Trail 100 MTB is a 104-mile out-and-back course that tests riders' physical and mental endurance to the limit. The race starts and finishes in Leadville. Riders will have to conquer a staggering elevation gain of 12,270 feet, reaching a low point of 9,200 feet at Twin Lakes and a high point of 12,496 feet at the formidable Columbine Mine.

The race is divided into waves to reduce congestion and create a safer environment. The first wave sets off at 6:30 am, offering an ample 12-hour window for participants to complete the course and earn the coveted "Small Buckle." For those seeking a more ambitious goal, there is a 9-hour cutoff time (3:30 pm - 3:50 pm) to claim the prestigious "Big Buckle."

The majority of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB course consists of rough forest service roads and high alpine two tracks, keeping riders on their toes as they navigate through this challenging terrain. To add an extra element of excitement, there are also sections of singletrack that demand technical skill and focus. This dynamic mix of terrain ensures that participants are in for an exhilarating and rewarding experience.

There will be several well-stocked aid stations staffed by rockstar volunteers and staff who go the extra mile to ensure riders have everything they need to stay fueled and hydrated. Aid station supplies include water, Gu energy gels, Coca-Cola products, fruit, cookies, potato chips, and salty snacks. These essential resources will keep the riders going, especially during the toughest sections of the course.

For friends, family, and supporters looking to cheer on their favorite riders, there are designated spectating locations where they can witness the determination and grit of the athletes. The main spectating locations are: Pipeline Aid Station, Twin Lakes Aid Station, and Twin Lakes "Alternate" Aid Station. These areas have been carefully selected to ensure the safety of both participants and spectators while minimizing the impact on the local community and environment.

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB is more than just a mountain bike race; it is a celebration of endurance, camaraderie, and pushing one's limits. The spirit of the event extends beyond the riders, as the local community, USFS, BLM, City of Leadville, and Lake County officials join forces to create a safe and memorable experience for everyone involved. As the sun sets over the Colorado Rockies, participants and spectators alike gather at the Post-Race Finish Festival from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm to honor the achievements of the riders and bask in the euphoria of this extraordinary event.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

A visit to Leadville, CO, is an opportunity to explore history. Leadville has six local museums, and the Museum Passport is available to share among friends and family to tour the historic attractions any time during race season, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Hiking, cycling, and water sports at Twin Lakes are popular outdoor activities to enjoy in the area while in town, or if you extend your weekend, drive over beautiful Independence Pass to enjoy a visit to Aspen.

Favorite restaurants among locals and tourists in Leadville are Treeline Kitchen, the Golden Burro, and High Mountain Pies. For lodging, participants can stay at area hotels, bed & breakfasts, home rentalscabins, and campgrounds. Also, remember that the gorgeous Copper Mountain Resort is close by and open for summer starting in early June, and easy camping is available at Colorado Mountain College.

For those shipping bicycles, the recommended logistics partner is Bike Flights, as well as the local bike shop, Cycles of Life, which will get your bike prepared for race day and pack it up for the return ship.

Outdoor-loving friends and family who are supporting their athletes in Leadville will be impressed with the number of activities there are to enjoy in the area’s stunning mountainous landscape. It is a hiking paradise, where those looking to bag come iconic peaks can consider tackling Mount Elbert and Mount Massive, two "Fourteeners" (peaks above 14,000 feet) offer not only breathtaking panoramic views but also a sense of accomplishment as you conquer their summits.

Mountain bikers who aren’t quite up for the 100-mile race will enjoy Leadville’s scenic cross-country paths and heart-pounding downhill runs, such as the Mineral Belt Trail, a 12.6-mile loop that winds through historic mining sites and offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. For those seeking more adrenaline, the nearby Copper Mountain Bike Park provides gravity-fed trails, jumps, and features for an exhilarating downhill experience.

Finally, Leadville's pristine lakes, rivers, and streams make it a haven for fly fishing enthusiasts. With its elevation and abundant natural water sources, the area offers unique opportunities for anglers to test their skills. Turquoise Lake, located just outside of Leadville, is a popular spot for fishing, known for its rainbow, brown, and lake trout. The Arkansas River, renowned for its gold-medal fishing waters, is also within reach, offering the chance to catch trout amidst stunning alpine scenery. The summer months provide ideal conditions for fly fishing, with clear waters and ample insect hatches.

Related Events

Leadville Race Series & Leadville Trail 100 MTB Qualifier events include:

Life Time Events also owns and operates some of America's top biking and running events, including the Sea Otter Classic, UNBOUND Gravel, Crusher in the TusharBig Sugar Gravel, and Chequamegon MTB. Life Time recently announced the inaugural Life Time Grand Prix. The series features 6 of the most iconic cycling events and the best cyclists in off-road cycling. The challenge combines mountain biking and gravel riding disciplines, and the events are all around the country, including The biggest prize purse in U.S. cycling, $250,000, will be split evenly between men and women.  Each series event will be streamed live and on-demand on FloBikes, part of the FloSports network.

course map leadville trail 100 mtb 2023
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