Race report: Leadville Trail 100 MTB by Joy Brott

Start line for the 2017 Leadville Trail 100 MTB! ? to CenturyLink

My journey to the Leadville Trail 100 MTB (“LT100”) started when I qualified for Leadville in my 1st mountain bike race.   I’ve since started LT100 twice, but missed time cuts;  those 2 DNFs weighed heavily on me.

Motoring in the early stages of the race. ? credit to CenturyLink

Thanks to a lot of work & guidance from my coach (Chad Welch), I showed up to the LT100 this year in great form.  I also had a better starting corral, along with solid knowledge of the course.  But…did I have what it takes to finish this 100+ mile race under 12 hours & take home a Leadville buckle?

At the start, I picked my way through the crowd & moved up as much as I could before & during the 1st climb: St Kevin’s. Then I motored up Hagerman Pass & Sugarloaf Pass.  I love Sugarloaf:  I enjoy climbing that rocky pass!

After Sugarloaf came my least favorite section: the Powerline descent. Powerline’s steep & technical in sections; I am not a good descender.  So, before the race, I spent time in Leadville working on my skills with Marvin Sandoval & Jen Talley.  I made it down Powerline & breathed a sigh of relief: time to turn on my motor!

Some single track action! ? to CenturyLink

Things went well in the next section of the race. My crew person extraordinaire, Tanya Taylor, had everything running like a well-oiled machine when I made it to the Twin Lakes Aid Station (mile 40).

The Columbine climb came next & it’s HARD.  While I felt great going up Columbine in the Stage Race, I had moments when I felt light-headed & weak during the LT100

More singletrack action! ? to CenturyLink

I made it back to the Twin Lakes Aid Station (mile 60): Tanya got me in & out quickly.  While I lost time on Columbine, I knew I’d make it through the final time cut at the Pipeline Aid Station (mile 74).

But then I started to lose more time: a storm was brewing & the wind was strong on the open, road section.  Now..onto Powerline!

In the Stage Race, I felt GREAT going up Powerline. But, during the LT100, I struggled on Powerline… my legs felt fatigued: I struggled to turn over the pedals.  I finally reached the top & did a time calculation…I had lost quite a bit of time on Powerline.

The next section was the Sugarloaf descent. Thanks to a lesson with Marvin, I felt confident here.

It was a little chilly at this point in the race! ? to CenturyLink

With temps now in the 40s, it started to rain as I descended.  I was wearing only a jersey + arm warmers, so I was shivering.  As I climbed Carter Summit,  conversations with others confirmed that I was in danger of missing the 12 hour buckle deadline.

So I rode as quickly as I could down St Kevin’s. I reached the bottom safely & motored into town & onto “The Boulevard.”  Much of that section is a blur—that’s how hard & fast I was riding!

When I got to the Athlinks tent (3 miles from the finish), I cranked up the speed as hard as I could: I knew I was minutes away from the buckle.

I thought about the support I had from my coach, from my family (my husband, Merv Brott, and my Dad, Loren Seely), from my crew and so many others.  I thought about how I couldn’t face another Leadville DNF…  And, just when I got to the point when I didn’t think I could keep going, I crested the last rise before the finish line.  That’s when I saw the time clock in the distance, and I knew that I was just going to just make it.

At the finish line!!! ? to Century Link

I finished officially at 11:56:31 (my chip time).  I had put in so much effort from the bottom of St Kevin’s to the finish that I gasped for air for 5 minutes after I crossed the line.

All smiles at the awards ceremony with founders Ken Chlouber & Merilee Maupin
The Leadville Trail 100 MTB…the Race Across the Sky!

The next day, I received my Leadville belt buckle.  And I received an award from Athlinks for having the fastest finishing time in the last 3 miles out of all the women who finished in 11-12 hours.  Wow!