Leadville 100 MTB: What It Takes to Ride the Legendary Race

If one thing is evident in the film ‘Victory Lap,’ it’s that distance cycling takes a lot of commitment.

Two mountain bikers show what it’s like to take on the Leadville 100, one of the most challenging and prestigious mountain bike races in the country.

Starting at 10,000 feet, the Leadville 100 takes riders over 100 miles and 12,000 feet of elevation change. Training means months of miles in the saddle and buckets of “mental toughness,” and that’s not even including the work riders have to put in during the race.

The film “Victory Lap” stars amateur riders and Stio ambassadors Nicole Jorgenson and Charlie Hagen. But it’s not just race film — it highlights both riders’ training and mental journeys leading up to the event. “Training for the Leadville 100 consisted of more hours on the bike than I had ever previously endured,” said Jorgeson.

There’s a theory that the preparation and training is the hardest part, and the actual race is just a victory lap.

“There’s no debating that Leadville is a long race,” said Hagen. “The race itself was magic … Every single rider has put the time in. Ninety-five percent of the field is there for personal goals and to test themselves.”

So maybe, just maybe, it’s more than a race. It’s a feeling of camaraderie, a goal, an achievement. And it’s the success of crossing a literal finish line after putting in the effort.

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Mary Murphy

Mary Murphy is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and serves as the leader of Lola Digital Media’s DEI Committee. She has been writing about hiking, running, climbing, camping, skiing, and more for seven years, and has been on staff at GearJunkie since 2019. Prior to that, Mary wrote for 5280 Magazine in Denver while working as an outdoor instructor teaching climbing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and mountain biking at Avid4Adventure. Based in Denver, Colorado, Murphy is an avid hiker, runner, backpacker, skier, yogi, and pack-paddleboarder.

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