Race Across the Sky 2010 (2010) - full transcript

Ahh... ahh

We created this race
for one reason,

to bring money to our out
of work mining community.

Right from the start

we knew we had
something special.

- Okay, Kenny you wanna hop in there?
- Yeah.

Just step inside the wall
right there, ya go.

This is what Leadville
is all about.

It's our history, our heritage

one day,
it'll be our future again.

You can feel this, solid rock

so if we were... we were
extending the tunnel

on through there, was a vein

of mineral here, gold, silver

something we wanted to follow.

We'd be drillin' holes in here,

settin' that dynamite shootin'
it and then muckin' it out.

You gotta figure that takes
a great amount of courage.

And it takes
a great amount of skill.

Ah, and... and determination,

it's those very same factors

that it's gonna take every one
of these mountain bike riders

to get across that finish line.

They're gonna have to dig deep.

The first question,
are you ready?

Let me tell ya, we've got
over 800 volunteers out there,

the course is well marked.

You have accepted
a monumental challenge.

Are you ready?

When, not if, when

you... you cross the finish line

under 12 hours between nine
and 12 hours,

you get the silver buckle.

Finish under nine hours,

you get "La Plata Grande."

Get your buckle
ten times in a row,

and you get the thousand mile.

You've accepted a challenge,

to ride your mountain bike

across the tallest,
the toughest, the baddest

mountains in the state
of Colorado

and you've gotta do that

in less than 12 hours.

You're better than
you think you are,

and you can do more
than you think you can.

See you at 5 - 5:30
in the morning!

We're here
in Leadville.

My name's Travis Brown,

and I'm a mountain
bike professional

for Trek Mountain Bikes.

I'm an Olympian,
past national champion

and last year I did
the Leadville Trail 100

for the first time.

And probably not gonna
be able to do it this year.

It makes riding a mountain bike

pretty difficult at the moment.

The Leadville
Trail 100 begins and ends

in Leadville, Colorado,
elevation 10,200 feet.

Remember, above 10,000 feet
there's 30% less oxygen

than there is at sea level.

The first test of the day
is the St. Kevins climb.

Loose in the middle,
it might be hard

for some riders to stay
on their bikes.

A short descent to the base
of Sugarloaf Pass,

and the riders are
climbing again.

Sugarloaf Pass starts smooth,
but the road deteriorates.

And at the top,
it's very rocky and you drop

directly into
the Powerline descent.

Probably the most treacherous
and dangerous part

of the entire course.

At the base of
the Powerline descent,

riders are gonna
wanna find groups,

ride together, save energy
and increase their speed.

This flat section
rewards riding together,

rather than riding alone.

The Pipeline feed zone
represents a point

in the course
where the rollers start.

This deceptively difficult
part of the course

will sap the legs even before
the Twin Lakes feed zone.

At Twin Lakes, it's the
last point to take on fuel

and fluids before the
massive 3,000 foot

vertical climb to the top
of Columbine Mine.

Columbine tops out
at 12,570 feet.

At this point, you're halfway

and to finish,
all you have to do

is retrace your steps

back to Leadville.

Hey boss, check here.

I'm just tryin' to stay warm.

Last year was brutal.

We're tryin' to encourage
more bodies in here

so we can, you know, have kinda
group body heat right now.

It kinda helps a little bit.

It's not raining, excited.

This is gonna be the year
to finish.

I'm nervous as hell right now.

- Good.
- Cold.

- Ready to go.
- It's very cold.

Ready to ride,

should be a good day for it.

We feel good, and nervous.

I'm ready to roll.

You know, at some point,
you just kinda go numb

to the whole thing,
after all the preparation

and everything you just
can't let your emotions

run away from you, so you just

keep it under control.

Leadville 100.

I'm ready, I'd... I'd think
I've trained well enough,

and now it's time to find
out what's gonna happen.

Ready to get that buckle.

The Leadville 100 race
is unique.

I think about it more
in the context of

it's a race
with a bunch of peers.

Maybe they see me
and they think something special

but I don't... I don't view
myself in that way.

I'm just the same
as all these guys,

and we're just out
there doing what we do.

Having a good time, and
nobody's experience is...

is any more important
than anybody else's.

I'm working in orthopedics,

and to get the opportunity
at the age of 45

to launch into a new career

is... is fantastic.

And the OR is intense.

It's game on, and I like that.

I need that challenge,

and it's not unlike a bike race

where you'll just show up there
and do it,

you prepare for it.

You never know what's
gonna happen on race day.

I'm hoping for the best
again this year.

I love to ride my bike.

And for me, it's... it's why
I've been successful

in... in my racing career,
is just I love to train

and I love to get out there.

I'm not gonna lie,
I've never done

a real mountain
bike race before.

The only thing I've done
to prepare for Leadville

is race the Tour de France,
so I definitely need some ah...

I need to do homework,

to be there with a guy like
Dave Wiens

who's won it six times.

I'm... I'm gonna have to
cue off those guys.

Those guys are strong,
they know what they're doing,

and it would be foolish of
me to think that I could

that I could just go in there
and beat them at no problem.

So I'm not gonna count
on breaking the record,

I'll do my best to win,

and you know, who knows.

Record, it just
comes if it comes.

If not, no big deal.

It's just really, you know
it's all about

the love for the bike.

We've got
the luminaries of mountain

bike racing and many of the
luminaries of road racing

here with us today.

30 seconds.

Remember, dig deep, dig deep!

Are you ready?

15 seconds!

Eight, seven, six, five,

four, three, two, one,

Get out there!

Have fun!

We'll see ya back here
as soon as you get here!

We'll gonna be choir.

Surprisingly enough,
one of the most dangerous

parts of Leadville can be
the start on the pavement.

Over 1300 riders squeezing
through the narrow streets

of Leadville,
everyone is hoping,

please don't go down
in front of me.

Leadville's unique in that
it has some dynamics

of a road race and some dynamics
of a mountain bike race.

There will be people
that will probably go harder

than they should

to try to make it into
the elite group

where they can ride on a wheel

and get a little bit
of a draft effects,

so people might be willing
to cook

their selves a little early,
and we won't know until

you know, halfway up
the Columbine climb.

Whether that was too big
of an effort

for a given athlete
or whether it paid off.

Last year's Leadville
100 was my first one.

What makes the Leadville
course so unique,

is that it draws all
different riders.

I mean you get world cup
mountain bike racers.

You get Tour de France riders.

It mixes the two disciplines

and brings 'em together.

That's something
I try and encourage

the Fort Lewis riders to do.

They learn a lot from the
road season that we do,

from the mountain bike
season that we do,

that all goes in
to the one race.

It's unlike any other event.

It's become the Tour de France
of mountain biking.

The first
major climb is St. Kevins.

It's only 850 feet

but it's enough
to let the racers know

is it gonna be a good day
or a bad day?

It's pretty much
anyone's guess, uh

you know that first climb.

If someone's gonna go
and push the pace, and,

you know, the decision's
gonna come.

Do you go and put
yourself in the red

and try and get over
the first climb with the group

so you can sort of fence it in,
and draft,

or do you play it conservative
and save your legs for later?

St. Kevins is
so early on in the race

to encounter that degree
of difficulty early on

you just gotta know the...

that toughness, that difficulty
is not gonna last forever

that you will be able
to get some easier sections

after that.

This is the first year
that I uh... I'm tackling

the Leadville 100.
I've looked at it at a race

that I've wanted
to do in the past.

My dad, actually raced
the Leadville 100 long before

it became the phenomenon
that it was now,

and when I was a junior
I was racing, you know,

local races in Colorado,

and I was actually
his support crew,

so running around
to the eight stations

and watching him go by,
so I've been there before

but it's gonna be fun to do it
as a competitor this year.

I don't have any expectations
going into Leadville 100.

I don't know entirely
what to expect,

but I do know there are a lot
of things about the course

that play to my strengths.

I am gonna make
a serious effort at winning.

I think the toughest part
for me at Leadville

is gonna be the length, ah... the

You know, six and a half hours
of racing is something

that's a bit longer than
I normally would do.

My wife, Heather, wouldn't
be caught dead actually doing

a 100 mile mountain bike race,
so she is gonna be out there

cheering me on
and supporting me,

so I'm looking forward
to that too

I'm sure I'll find myself
jealous of her

at about mile 85, when she's
got a motor, and I don't.

I really like the Leadville 100.

I actually like the idea of it

from you know, the cycling
community perspective.

I'm actually really looking
forward to being there

as support, you know I...

I joke that it's funny and
it's ridiculous and I can't

and I can't believe people do it
but it's... it's pretty amazing.

Umm, and I have a feeling
I'll probably admire him.

I won't be jealous.
He's amazing.

Like, he's really amazing.

Mount St. Kevins.

You get to say Kevins
and all the sudden

you're like, "Whoa."

People are piling up,
getting off their bikes.

You're trying to ride it.

It's just a fiasco.

This is just a snowball effect.

You get one person
who can't make the climb,

the next thing you know
it's all piled up,

and you're trying to get
through these people.

Uhh, everyone is
all right, fuck!

You wanna get to the top,

but you're not gonna
lose your race there.

A lot of people
don't realize that.

"You must find strength."

I've been
a professional athlete 15 years,

was a runner in high school,
and always stunk at the

you know, 100 yard dash
and was better at the two mile

and cross country racing
and the longer distance

just tends to be what I'm
better at, and my nickname's

the queen of pain.

My body is built for endurance.

I also think you know,

huge part of it's
a mental game of just

turnin' your head off

and suffering along
with the best of them

and realizing
that everybody's hurting.

You know, Amanda Kerry,
she's definitely coming.

I have a target on
my back this year.

Yeah, there's more pressure
coming as the defending champion

there's more expectation and...

And now I know
what's in store for me

that people will be gunning
to chase me down,

So yeah, I...

I got my work cut
out for me for sure.

After a short
descent and almost

no recovery,

the athletes find themselves
going back up a hill.

The Sugarloaf climb
starts with pavement,

but ends with a rocky
steep finish.

This'll be my first year
competing in Leadville,

so I don't have much to go on.

The longest mountain bike
race I've ever done I think

is two and half hours.

The Leadville race is completely
different type of on event.

You know, it's Colorado,
and it's 12,000 feet,

so, it can go
from 75 or 80 degrees

to 30 degrees

and snow or hail in a matter
of minutes.

This race is four times
the distance of a normal race.

The terrain is rough,
so my strategy is just to

try to conserve as
much as possible.

It's a new challenge
and it's a good time to do it.

If Todd does well,
I'm taking credit for it.

If I can be up at the front,
just mixing it up it's exciting

that definitely motivates me
to go out,

and try and win some stuff.

There's gonna be so many
fast guys in that group,

I don't think Todd's
gonna get dropped,

and I'm gonna pace him
back up to the group.

I just don't see where I'll
be that much of a factor

to help him.

The quick pace
on the climb

has caused a separation
in the front group.

The second group knows
exactly what this means.

If that gap continues to open,

their race day is over.

The front group knows this too

and they're gonna
put the pressure on

and try to make that happen.

Traditionally in mountain
bike races, the opportunity

for one teammate to help
another doesn't materialize.

But Leadville isn't a
traditional mountain bike race.

Sometimes, pressure
leads to mistakes.

I kept seeing the pink
and black string for marking

the course and I thought
there was a right,

so I braked really hard.

By the time
I could get my hands up

to the brakes and grab 'em,
I hit him,

and ah, went down.

I ripped the spokes out
of the wheel and flattened it.

Matt was in the group
so he gave me his wheel.

We're both on the same
team and he was more out

just to kind of do it for fun.

He knew that I was trying
to have good results,

so he was gracious enough.

After the crash,
the adrenaline is pumping.

In a split second
you have to evaluate

what's wrong with your bike,
what's wrong with your body,

and how much time you've lost
and you have to get going

because it's a mountain
bike race

and no one's gonna sit up
and wait for you to come back.

The Powerline descent is
probably the most technical

part of the entire course.

There's a lot of surprising
rain ruts where if you get

on the wrong line,
they will eat your wheel.

The decomposed
granite is deceptive.

It's actually better traction
when it's wet,

than when it's dry.

There's definitely
a lot more to be lost

than to be gained
on this descent.

Grass roots races are
starting to draw top pros,

and this is a perfect example.

On paper there's
a lot of fast guys

that would crush this race

but with all the different
factors involved

you never know what can happen.

Like your brakes
might stop working

in middle of a long descent

and you've gotta figure out

another way to get
down the hill.

Coming down the Powerline

for people who are not
great descenders,

it's just an exercise
in trying to keep tires

from flatting,
and trying to stay upright.

When I first started
doing Leadville,

it wasn't a huge race.

I did not do any kind of biking
until I turned

I think, 29 years old
and I was just curious.

Can a guy who has never been
particularly athletic

ah, train hard enough to finish

a big 100 mile
mountain bike race?

Turns out the answer is yes.

This year I will be doing
Leadville on a fully rigid

single speed, which means

that I'm gonna get
rattled around pretty good.

It is fun to stand up
and power through things.

The simplicity is
really, nice.

If you're on a single speed
and you pass someone

who is not on a single speed,
you do a little bit of grunting

and you row bike a little bit,
so people will look at you

and go, "Hey, you're doing
that on a single speed!"

That's why you ride a
single speed, ha-ha.

Every single year I make
a game out of counting

the number of flats I see
as I come down Powerline.

The number's always
greater than five.

There are a lot of people who
flat out coming down Powerline.

Aw, shit!

- Get out of the course.
- Get out of the course.


About a half an hour
behind the leaders, guys.

About 30 minutes.

Collar bone, ouch.
What happened?

Dislocated shoulder,
I blew a... I blew my front tire

and no front tire, down you go.

The shoulder's popped out,
or the collar bone's broken,

one or the other,
but that's the end of my day.

Damn it,
I was doing so well, too.

Next year.

I'm a mountain climber,
I've climbed the seven summits

the tallest mountain
in every continent.

You know, those might give
you sort of a foundation

of what it's like to suffer

but they're much more
long-term suffering.

This is really very different
from the things I've done.

And in 11 hours,
you either sink or swim.

John and I
are on a tandem,

and I've never done a mountain
bike race before,

so this is exciting for us.

It's like you're on the back
of a roller-coaster

when it's whipping back
and forth,

so that's the way the back
of a tandem is.

And so, John goes over a dip

and I don't think you get
affected the way I do,

but I'm like, literally like,
whoa, I'm...

I'm like three feet
higher than him.

If he wasn't clipped in, I...I

I honestly think
he might get tossed

on a couple of these,
the way we hit, ha-ha.

When we're up on the top
of a hill, he'll look down

and he'll say, "I think we
can do this, but if we fall,

"just don't fall right." Ha-ha.

I'm like oh no,
what does that mean exactly?

10 years of bike shop skills
comes in to play right here.

Broke my chain,
coming down Powerline.

I guess I'm lost a link,

thought I had an extra link
with me, sure enough, I don't.

Gonna try to get this
thing going again.

I'm definitely not ready
to throw in the towel yet.

All righty.

I hope to see you
at the finish line.

- Go get 'em.
- Yeah.

I'm a fire fighter

and I've done this race 16 years
in a row.

This'll be my 17th.

Same bike, same tires,

the same helmet, the same shirt.

I keep coming back every
year because I don't know

what else to do.

I have to see if my
bike will break in half.

It has broken in the past.

I've had to weld
it back together.

It's just kinda fun to see

you know, how much you train
and how hard you can ride

on the same bike.

At the base
of the Powerline descent,

the course goes flat and fast

for a long, traverse over
towards Columbine.

At this point,
riders look around

and try to form new
coalitions to take advantage

of the gap that they've
formed on the descent.

It's also the perfect
opportunity to take on fluids.

In a race like this,

an athlete can lose up to
a liter an hour.

It's impossible
to replace that amount,

but you have to do your best

to prevent dehydration
by the end.

Just workin' stiff,
you know, I do this as a hobby,

and it's my passion, so

for me to come out in weekend
and to be lined up

with... with at least three
members of the mountain bike

hall of fame,
it's super cool for me.

You know, we have Tinker,
and Dave Wiens

and Ned Overend in this year,

those guys are my idols
growing up, Grayson,

so to be lining up with them,
I mean, that's... that's awesome.

This is the highest
100 miler in the world.

This is a race of superlatives
all around.

It's also the fastest field
ever assembled to

a 100 mile race.

You know, the experience racing
at altitude

and most of the race
is at 10, ah...

to 14,000 feet of climbing.

And you're just beat to a pulp.

Although this
is a mountain bike race,

there are parts
where road tactics

definitely play their part.

The group that's caught out
on this traverse

and is chasing
has to work together,

trying to conserve energy

to close the gap to the leaders.

That's Judy, she's very
enthusiastic as you can see.

She's ready to scream out
lots of cheers,

and we're hoping that she's
gonna provide the riders

with all the inspiration
and encouragement they need.

This is our honeymoon actually.

We just got married this summer.

Yeah, this is
the engagement ring, the bike.

He signed us up
and told me afterwards.

So there's this whole gamut
of extremely experienced

riders that know exactly
what they need,

exactly when they need it.

And others that are
just hoping to finish

and they surprise themselves,
so we may have people

that think they're gonna
coming through here

in two and half hours,
that show up in two,

and vice versa.
Anything can happen right now.

People are serious about this.

They work, they train,
and if you're not prepared,

you're not gonna finish.

I had no idea that he'd
be coming through first,

so to me, that's a good sign
and I think, okay,

he gathered himself
and you know, he's doing fine.

I think he just wanted
to be sure that he got his bag.

A lot of pros
don't feed at Pipeline

because it's only another
35 minutes to Twin Lakes.

But that means you have to
get a feed at Twin Lakes.

It's the last place
to take on fuel

before the big climb
up to Columbine Mine.

You get to your
eighth station

and you're happy, here's all
your loved ones and the people

you know, that are there
to support you.

All did awesome!

That's way better time
than you thought, yay!

Dad, go!

Well, I say go, love you

Everybody's yelling at ya,
they're in your face

you gotta watch out for kids
running out in front of ya.

Well, I compare it to one of the
climbs in the Tour de France

where all the people
are running with the riders.

It's about as close as I'll
ever get to something like that.

I don't remember to wear

You look good.

Love you, bye.

As you ride off
you got, you know,

people cheering for you,
the whole town's out.

It's just a... It's a great
community event.

We're waiting for Hal Russell,
he's coming.

We've got his motto on the back.

Just ride, it's what
he says to himself.

How's it goin', Hal?
How ya feelin'?

I'm all right.

Nothing's like Leadville.

It's not just the course,
it's everything.

It's the community,
it's the altitude.

Everything about
the race is just,

I've never ever experienced it
in any other race.

Welcome to Colorado.

Erik, take a couple
of bites of this sandwich.

How's that peanut butter
and jelly sandwich taste?

Mighty fine.

I don't want to make 12:01,
anything but 12:01, please.

Everyone cheer for Ryan.

Last year, the trail 100
was my first team FD event.

Team FD has become
basically one of our

fund raising arms
for First Descents.

First Descents is a Colorado
non-profit that runs out through

adventure camps for young adults
with cancer.

We use kayaking, rock climbing,
and mountain biking

to lead our campers
and survivors through spiritual,

physical, emotional growth.

The amazing thing about
our camps is you see a major

progression of our campers
when they come the first day

some of them are still frail,
some are still fresh off chemo

and by the end of the week,
they're just brave

they're ready to attack
life again,

and it's really
a life-changing thing.

It really is a source
of inspiration.

It's this indomitable will
that these young adults

are showing as they battle
cancer that we all possess.

And that very few of us
actually utilize.

My goal is to try and get people
to tap into that

and just do a little bit more
with their lives.

Whether it's First Descents
or something else.

Just to push themselves
a little bit harder in life

and be better people.

How's it goin, Roxanne?

It's good, ahh.

I'm having a good day.

In 2008, I was hit by a car,

while training for
the Leadville Trail 100.

And I was very close to dying.

I came back somehow and,

raced in 2009.

And finished the Leadville 100.

When I saw the red
carpet, I just thought,

Oh... Oh my God, I have done it.

And I just, you know,
of course I was crying

pretty much as soon as
I hit that red carpet,

so it was very emotional for me.

In the big picture,
I am definitely stronger

than I was last year.

I still have some significant

pain in my back,

you know because of the fusion.

Having a rod and screws
in there is not,

it's not comfortable.

You know, my body has
changed permanently

and some days I get
really upset about it,

but I just have to focus on

the fact that I'm alive.

I can walk, and I can still
ride my bike.

Okay, here we go.

Go get 'em, girl.

Go, Roxanne!

Oh yes, I'm beatin' my split.

- Yo.
- Yay, it's finally.

I was diagnosed with MS in 1980.

I started mountain
biking in '92.

As an adult gettin' to play
in the dirt

and fall off my bike
and gettin' muddy,

I was havin' a blast.

Making lots of friends, too.

My friend, John Dunbar,
really was substantial

in helping me learn
how to mountain bike.

Just this past year,

I noticed somethin' went wrong
with him and I encouraged him,

"you need to go to the doctor,
you need to check on this."

I was slurring my speech
and I thought

well, if this is a drag
I should be at least

drunk when I'm slurring
my speech

and I talked to the doctor

and he goes, "Well, I don't know
let's look into it."

And then in April he said,
"Well, you know, you have"

"ALS," I thought, "what's that?"

He goes, "Lou Gehrig's Disease."

And I thought, "Mmm,
that can't be good."

He said, "No,
you're gonna die."

And I thought,
"Hmm, that is bad."

So I thought, "What the heck,"
you know

"might as well turn into it,
and throttle up."

John will ride his bike
until he absolutely

cannot ride his bike.

Well, if they'd of let me in,
I'd have ridden it still.

You know, I'd a given it a go,
what the heck.

You know, it's only 100 miles
of pain and suffering.

What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yeah, so proud of you.

go finish the race

Go, safe.

The Columbine climb
is the crux of the race.

It's steep, it's long.

You go up 3,000 vertical feet

and you're above tree line
for four miles.

It tops out at 12,570 feet.

This is where you really feel
the affects of the altitude.

You don't wanna go to hard
at the start of the climb

because it is so relentless.

There's no place to recover.

If you overdo it here,
the penalty you pay

could last till the end
of the race.

The first half of Columbine

is a mellower grade,
something you could drive an

an automobile or regular car on.

And it just switch backs up
and you climb and climb

and then when you get up
above tree line,

it suddenly gets a lot
steeper and a lot looser

and a lot rockier.

And that's where it really
starts to get tough.

You just see it
goin' up and up,

and you know,
it's just brutally steep

and you feel like
you're peddling in slow motion

'cause there's just no oxygen.

Columbine is so long
and steep and sustained,

going above 12,000
is hard for anybody

no matter how
acclimated you are.

It just gets difficult
to peddle a bike.

For even a mountain
bike race in Colorado,

to go over 11,000 feet is high.

To go over 12,000 feet
is really rare.

It's taxing in a way
that you really can't anticipate

until you've done it.

There's a big mental
component to racing

at that elevation
and a sort of different

kind of suffering.

I think anyone can do it,
it's more just a matter of

like if whether or
not you embrace that

or if it kinda freaks you out.

- I see him.
- Yeah, there he is.

Two riders.

- JHK!
- VY!

When you're racing
up above 10,000 feet

and you know, you're trying
to go as hard as you can

up those climbs
and you're literally

you're breathing harder
and faster

than you could even imagine.

And if you just go even
a little bit over your red line

it's almost impossible
to recover.

The Leadville out
and back format is unique.

When you get to the top
and head back down,

you see where the rest
of the competition is.

That's a good thing if you're
the guys at the front.

Not so good if you're still
on your way up the climb.

But if you're chasing leaders,
at least you know exactly what

what it is gonna take
to get back

to the front of the race.

The Columbine climb
has a similar effect

on the front
of the women's race.

What was once
a two rider affair,

quickly becomes one.

He said, "Don't put my bag
on the handle bars."

I think I'm supposed to get it
up around his neck,

but when he's coming quickly,
I wanna make sure he gets it.

Way to go, guys!

It's loud, and we wanna have
a good time

and we just want to
help 'em out, you know.

He's trying to get
in under nine hours,

wants a big belt buckle.

He's been training hard,
we're his buddies,

we'll be out here to help him.

There's nothin' worse
than telling someone

that they've gotta stop.

And that's part of
the deal we all make.

Four hour cut off time
is for safety, that's all.

If we could make the sun
stay up for 24 hours,

maybe we'd change that rule.

Got pulled last year,

and that was quite an
emotional day off that.

Be two years this October
I had both knees replaced.

I knew I could do Leadville
without a problem,

and the doctors told me it would
take a year to recover fully,

and ah, knowing who I am,
I challenged that,

at about seven or eight months.

Figured on race day,
that magic would happen,

and we'd be all good.

The adrenaline would pump

and of course, the weather
turned bad.

There's no excuse,
but was all in it.

Some finished, some didn't
and I headed down the trail

I looked at my clock and I was,
I'm running off on time.

I knew it was gonna be tough.


I don't have to hang around.

And saw my wife, and she's
probably my greatest fan.

She walked up and I
saw the other people.

I knew it was over.

They pull my wristband,
one thing lead to another,

and I just... I just fell apart.

Ken gave me a lot of support.

The other people there
gave me support.

I thought I let
a lot of people down.

I was after it, I had a goal.

And it just didn't work out.

Totally disappointed.

If you called me this
morning I'm fuckin...

How are you feeling?



I don't see him,
this is not good.

I got 10:35.

There's two more guys coming,
send them on through.

Mm, Let's make him
the last guy.

There were like at least
two riders down.

One of them looked like
he might be unconscious.

And ah, he looked pretty bad.

And so, there are a lot
of people around helping,

make sure he had a pulse
and everything.

I am sorry.

Not the first one?
No you're not.

Does that make you
feel better, huh?

Hey, leave me alone.

I was stooped.

'Cause I went, I wanted to
know what my chip time was.

Is what I wanna know.

Went by my crew and ah,

I needed... I had
nothin' left to eat,

and nothin' to get up this hill,

so it uh...

that's what happens.

Go back, you don't get out
fast enough.

You know, I actually
don't feel bad.

I'm just uh, I should've
pushed a little harder.

What are you gonna do now?

Go back and drink a beer.

Go back to Arkansas.

- Tommy!
- Hey!


Hey, it ain't gonna
happen this time, bud.

Don't cry this time.

Nah, you don't do it, ha-ha.

You know.

Damn it, Freak!

I don't wanna do this anymore.

We did good.

We didn't do good enough.

- Ha-ha.
- Go away!

Now who's the big softy?


God, let me be in next year.
Ha-ha, hah.

Oh, my God thank you, ha-ha.

10 years of misery.

The battle that Mike's
fighting is with brain cancer.

And so, every time they go
out and train, it's nothing

compared to what he's doing.

So we're here
supporting them all.

And all these riders, sorry.

There's Webber.

Ride on, man, ride on.
How's it going?

Oh yeah, uhh.
Yeah, this is tough, isn't it?

It is, it's I think it's tougher
than... than what I, uh...

- what I planned on.
- Yeah.

And remember,
who got me into this.

That would be him.

What are the chances
that two guys

from a little town
in Washington,

would both get in a
lottery for Leadville race?

- How'd that work out?
- Hah.

- So here we are.
- So here we are.

I ride for Mike McArthur,
so that's why we're here.

Got diagnosed
with brain cancer

and we all said, "well,
that's something that Mike's"

"gonna beat this. He's tough."

When Mike started to talk
about Leadville,

and it turns out that
Leadville's something Mike's

really wanted to do 'cause
he's always been a big

mountain bike guy.

Last couple of weeks
have been pretty rough.

Umm, he's uh...

Uh, Hospice is there
pretty regularly.

It's uh... It's challenging time
right now for everybody.

But you know, it kinda goes back
to the base reason we're here,

Ah, Mike can't quit,
we're not gonna quit.

Ah, this is where we need to be.

This is what we need to be doing

and, this is where we are
and this what we're gonna do.

Yeah, we are... we are...
It's hot.

We are definitely in to whining.

Yes, we're in the whining mode.

All right, see ya later.

- Yeah.
- All right, guys.

Columbine, you just get
into a spin

and it feels like forever.

You're just in that
constant motion,

just forever moving, going,
when does this gonna end?

When is this gonna end
and it starts out at a nice

gradual climb, and it gets steep
and rocky,

and you're just oh my God,
what did I get myself into?

Make Columbine my bitch again.

I've done Leadville twice now.

The first year I was
10 miles short,

and that didn't
sit well with me,

so I came back in 2002
and tried it again

and actually finished it,
but didn't quite make it

under the 12 hour mark.

So that's why I'm here
again this year.

I started cycling in 1995, just

because it was my therapy.

My wife had gotten
sick at the time,

and they told me it wasn't
gonna be anything bad,

which turned out
not to be the case.

As she progressively got worse

from a degenerative
brain disease.

It was just a long road.

It ended up getting worse
to where she had to be put

in a nursing home, and my
son and I tried our best

to take care of her at home,
and it just didn't pan out.

Cindy was 32,
she was a real young woman

when we ended up
taking her there.

And it was tough
to just drive away.

Especially with a six year old
in the back seat.

It was just a really
difficult thing to go through.

2008 my wife passed away.

You know, Ken always
says, dig deep.

And I actually have that
written on the front of my bike.

For me, it's all about the bike.

Going for that ride and maybe
doing 30 miles really hard

when you had a bad day at work,

and I come back
and think to myself

it'll be all right, you know.

It's... it's helped me a lot.

It's a lot better than
taking Xanax, that's for sure.

Ah, time to take care
of Powerline.

- Feelin' it?
- What?

- Feelin' it?
- Fuck!

You know, we don't feel
that bad, we're just walking.

Sometimes it's quicker.

Brutal, realities of father
knows the best not anymore.

It's a kick in the teeth
on a Saturday night

with a steel-toe
grip-so codiac boot.

Switch your gears,
sink or jog, keep it up.

When I'm struggling
and climbing up Columbine,

and I look up and I see
the line of people as far

up as I can see, I think,
I am where I am,

and I'll do what I can do.

Okay, here I go.

Eye on the prize.

You got it.

It's better to smile
than to frown.

If you frown that means
you've defeated yourself.


I'm here.

I haven't given up.

I had too many beers at a party.

And Don talked me into this.

I'm a Lead man this year.

Doing something special
for my 10th.

Think I might have to get
my left testicle

removed after this, it's uh,

it's ingrown now.

First cannon always
digging deep now.

Worst year in 10.

Good year to call it quits.

The air's getting thinner.

You're just... You're hurting,
your lungs are burning,

your legs are burning,
you're... you're

just wanting
to get it over with.

It is really one of the
most painful things

I have ever endured.

I got nothing left right now.


I'm gonna go until they pull me.

I don't know, when it's starti''
to get too needy.

The fact that I feel like
I owe it to Ken to keep going

or the fact that, uhh

I'm stupid to just turn around
and go home.

I got my first mountain bike
ah, 20 years ago.

Just fell in love
with mountain biking.

But it has been derailed umm,
a little bit.

I have a mental illness called
schizoaffective disorder.

It's a disorder
of mood and thought.

People are probably more
familiar with an illness

called schizophrenia,
it's been a rocky road.

Much rockier than any mountain
bike trail I've ever ridden.

I think that mountain
biking in so many ways,

has been so helpful to me
in overcoming this illness,

and in my recovery.

When I'm on bike and
I'm riding the trails,

and I'm going through the woods
and my heart is pounding,

and my legs are working,
it's like it grounds me

in a way, and it provides me
with a sense of peace in

in a mind
that's you know, normally,

a lot of times, chaotic.

I decided that no matter what,
I was going to race my bike

in 2010 again,
and illness or no illness,

symptoms or no symptoms,
you know, hospital

or no hospital, I was gonna
get back into what I love

and what is my passion
and that's mountain biking.

Not long ago, I was in
a hospital bed crying

and holding my head and so sick.

You know, with my illness
that I mean, I couldn't

even, you know, fathom,

and now biking out here I am.

I'm sitting you know,
here in Leadville, Colorado,

to do one of the greatest

mountain bike races
in the country, you know.

And uh,

And if that's not testament
to the fact that

anything is possible uh,
I'm not sure what is.

I love altitude.

I love the high mountains.

I think partly it's
because the sound changes

when you're up high
above tree line.

The sound changes,
you can hear sound vibrations

moving through space
and it's really beautiful

and I think that's one
of the factors why I love

to be up high.

Top of Columbine.

That was tough, kinda
hangin' out waiting for Dave

for a few minutes, ahh.

Man, that was tougher than I
thought it was gonna be, dang.

All right, well, back at it.
See ya.


I think probably
at this station it's exhaustion.

This'll be a good place
to fill up and refuel.

I think a lot of people
are completely dehydrated

by the time they get here.

Like your mom always told you,
chicken soup

is the best medical therapy.


And they got four doctors
to administer chicken soup.

They're halfway
and there's no cut off here,

so they gotta make it
down the hill,

to the finish line,
which is what we wanna see.

I'm Shaking, cramping.

Ah, can't stop
coughing, headache.

I just got bitch-slapped
by the mountain.

I can't believe
that I can do this still.

I should be tending the garden,
but here I am.

Last year was horrible.

This year's wonderful, so far.

Yeah, I feel pretty good.

It's not cold, it's not windy,
it's not raining.

I've been waiting for you.
Like for me.

- Yeah.
- What for?

You're my favorite rider.

Good job.

Where's my mom when I need her?

There's one over here,
if you need one.

I'll make it down, but this was,
this was my goal, man.

This is my finish line.

Pretty happy right now.

- Oh-oh.
- That's soup?

Oh, the secret flippin' weapon.

Just eat it like this.

Huh, ha-ha.

Very concentrated.

This is my wife's idea, ha-ha.

Hah, believe it or not,
we went to the famous movie

and her and a friend
of mine were like,

we gotta do that,
we gotta do that,

and I said, "No, you don't
wanna do it," but what do

you know, we got in and
now I'm paying the price.

I hope they're having
as much fun as they

thought they were gonna have.

I'm here for all these people.

My friends and family of mine
that have cancer.

And they're all on my head,
and they're here with me.

I signed up for Lead man
so I could get into

bike race without the lottery.

So I gotta run next week.

I'll be okay.

I think this is
the halfway point, where

it's all downhill from here.

Yeah, down hill mostly.

Well, here goes nothing.

Despite the
best efforts of the chasers,

it's now a two-man race.

Between a multi-time mountain
bike national champion

and a Tour de France stage
winner, and podium finisher,

they're working together now,
taking turns at the front,

but as soon as they reach
the final climb,

it's game on.

The Powerline climb
is arguably the hardest

part of the race.

1,500 vertical feet,
and gran-a-gear steep.

And it comes 80 miles
into their race,

meaning your legs
are already cooked.

This is where the
race is decided.

Frenchie, is that you?


Now, I have ma teeth this year
last year I forget.

Now I can smile, ha-ha.

Ha-ha, bonjour.

They're on Powerline now

coming to you.

We're over heated.
I hear you.

It's gettin' a little hot

Ha-ha, hah.

Carrying his heavy butt
up there.


Uhh, phew.

What brings you out here?

Well, my buddy, Ricky.

Ah, Ricky McDonald's ridden
in this thing every year.

What is this the 17th year?

He just wanted me to come
up here and focus at

the riders as they came by.

He's been after me to come
up here and play banjo

and just make a lot of noise
and have fun.

Riding up Columbine you feel
like it is the toughest.

Until you start climbing
up the Powerline.

There is just a mental
aspect to it that as you

look up and you see
everybody off their bike,

we're all off our bike,

and we are just
pushing our bikes.

And our bikes are
three feet ahead of us

and you're practically
laying down.

You're at such a steep angle,

and at that point,

you always question,

what am I doing here?

Am I honestly paying to do this?

And you are, and you're going
to do it again next year,

but at the moment it seems like

ah, a really foolish
thing to be doing.

You're in total agony,
you're 80 miles into a race,

your legs are giving out on you,

and you know you're that close,

yet you're that far away.

You really, gotta
dig into yourself,

into your soul and pull it out,

and you know, get
yourself up that hill.

Diggin' deep,

into that pit of despair.

Oh, shit.

People actually do this
a second time,

and third and a fourth?

You got riders coming.

Hey, oh my God.

- Riders.
- Uhh.

You're kidding me, right?

Keep going, (mumbles).

We're riding the hill, dude.

You're the one walking.

You're the
ones yellin' at me, dude.

Oh, man.

I'm too old for this shit.


If you wanna Mike and I
should good

You're almost there,
how does it feel?

Actually, very good.

This is my
first time in Leadville.

My brother in law and I,
we come from the same town

in Poland.

Two of us, we always
compete against each other.

He say, "Listen, you want to
do something really exciting?"

"I challenge you to...
to the Leadville 100."

He said, "Take your
ass from the chair"

"and start practicing." Ha-ha.

Well, I guess within a week,
he went out

and bought himself
a mountain bike

and he started his training.

Well, I applied from...
from Poland,

and when he applied, I actually
called Leadville shop

to make sure that they do
have his application.

They said, "Yeah, what,
he's an international entry,"

"so, he's pretty much in."

So now he's in, and I'm
going to go to the lottery.

Knowing my luck,
it wouldn't happen,

so maybe I was destined
to pass sandwiches to him,

or maybe drinks.

Ah, it could not happen,

so then I was told that
the only way to really

be guaranteed entry was

to participate in
the Lead man competition.

Well, I had no choice,
so I did it.

Lead man consists
of five events.

There's a marathon, then
there is a choice between

50 mile mountain bike
race or 15 mile trail run.

Then there is a 100 mile
mountain bike race.

The following day
there is a 10 K race.

And then a week later there
is the 100 mile trail run.

I take one event a time.

Look, I've done everything
that I could possibly could.

I'm here for almost
a month and a half now.

And if I don't do it,
I don't do it,

but not because I didn't try.

We're at an eight station,
hopefully it's the eight station

otherwise I'm
in the wrong place.

I'm here to hand a bottle
to my buddy, Gary,

the goal is to not botch it.

Definitely don't want him
to fall.

I don't wanna fall, so those
are the two ah,

one and two priorities.
It's a little scary, yeah.

I'm sweating just
talking about it.

The technique for a bottle pass,

you wanna hold it
out as far as possible,

and keep those fingers nice
and loose

and keep this nice and loose.

So, as soon as
the hand touches it, you let go.

That's pretty good technique.
Thank you.

I practiced a lot.

It's bottle time.

I may have tripped at one point,

but I saved it.

Ride on, guys.

Once again,
Powerline proves decisive.

The length of Leadville
is a lot more like

a Tour de France stage,
than a cross country

mountain bike race.

But even though Levi's alone
at the front,

it's all in for both riders.

They'll each ride as hard
as they can to the finish

because no lead is
ever completely safe.

There he is,
Levi Leipheimer,

and it is gonna be a record.

From California,

with the time a new record time

six hours, 16 minutes,
and 37 seconds.

Jeremy's also gonna break
last year's record time.

Welcome back,
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski.

With so, deep
in the hurt locker,

I mean epic, god knows,
almost doesn't even begin

to describe what you
go through out there.

and gentleman, welcome back

Mr. David Wiens

Well, the record
just got smashed.

I didn't think
that would happen.

I thought that record was
gonna stay for awhile.

I suffered like an absolute dog
that was brutal.

So, it was an honor to ride
with my hero, Dave Wiens here.

This is Jane Henry.

Ladies and gentleman,
Meg Schniderlin, make it down.

You okay, not really?

Wasted right now.

Well, on the back there's Alex.

Oh, wow.

Man, I got a flat on St. Kevins,
just thought about Lance

if Lance could do it,
I could do it.

Levi Leipheimer
set a new course record

beating Lance Armstrong's
2009 mark

by more than 12 minutes.

Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski was
three and half minutes

faster than Armstrong.

The depth of the field
speaks for itself.

All told, seven riders
finished under seven hours.

Last year, there were only two.

I've never been
to a mountain bike race

with that many people,
that many people cheering.

People lining the eight stations
and yelling for me.

The ladies champion,
Rebecca Rusch.

Rebecca Rusch
is the first woman

to go under eight hours
since 1997.

She broke the course record
by 11 and a half minutes.

Here comes
the second person to finish,

17 times
100 Race Across the Sky.

So 14 minutes
till the nine hour mark.

What do ya think?

It's gonna be really close.

Come on, come on.

There's the last big buckle.

Not everyone rides up
that red carpet on Sixth Street,

I wish they did.

And nine hour cut off
at Pipeline is the same

as the four Twin Lakes.

We do it for their own safety.

Most of these people
have put in well over a year

of their lives training
for this event,

so you just have to be
very compassionate to them

because this is just, it's not
just a fun run in the park.

It's important.

Sorry, guys.

What you sorry at?
It's all right.

What am I sorry for?

I'm sorry 'cause
I hate to do this.

It was fun.

And everybody gets a hug.

Whether they want it or not.

- Great job.
- Thank you.

Thanks for working so hard.

I hope you had fun.
I had a great day.

People usually know
when it's time

they might be really upset,
I've had several people cry.

But not, you know, just cry
because they're disappointed.

- Proud of you.
- I am.

And you just do that, okay?

- All right? Okay.
- Thanks

I'm so sorry.

If I had my way, all of you guys
would go through.

It's okay, girl.

I couldn't go any faster.
I know, you did awesome.

It's okay, bud.
You should feel proud.

Come on, hold your head up,
you did good.

Very hot day, huh.

Take it, ha-ha.
Take it, ha-ha.

Get that off of me.

Yeah, I know, I saw it coming.

It's interesting when you say
you would equate

a brutal mountain bike race
with what Mike's going through,

there's no comparison.

You know, when we get all done.

We get to, you know,
take a shower, go have a beer,

we get to relax.

You know, no matter how much
it hurt during the race,

or uh, Mike doesn't have
that opportunity.

The only thing that sucks
through the whole thing,

is that Mike's gotta be sick.

'Cause there's lots of really
cool stuff that's happening

and coming out of it.

It's kinda that
bittersweet thing.

You know, you say, oh,
let's stop, but man,

I'd really like to go across.

So Mike, for you, buddy.

We'll make uh... we'll make it
all the way next year.

Couldn't ask for anything
better right now.

I've never been
happier in my life.

Eight years of pain,

I just got it all
out of me right now.

You know, we were
going on the trail,

and it wasn't marked,
and I was kind of dessert us

and I went down this uh,
To the wrong way again.

To the bottom of this thing,

and five people fall.

I'm just sorry.

I'm sorry!

We've just been hammered
for the last hour,

I can't even talk.

It was my fastest time ever so,

Here it comes...

by 10 minutes.

Three, two, one...

Not everyone who starts
this race gets a buckle,

and that's okay.

'Cause there's more
to it than that.

The important part is now
they know they have

the grit, guts, determination,
the heart, the courage,

the character,
to take on any challenge.

And that's what makes
the Leadville Trail 100 special.

Look, I finished!

It's... It's good as a buckle
to me right now!

Be prayin' now, you know,
we could drill some holes

in there and put some string in.

I thought of him all day long
and I was looking

so forward to this,
like nothing.

I mean this is true friendship.

For many, years.

She's helped me so much.