As Big John McCarthy would say, LET’S GET IT ON!
In three days, I board a plane for Denver, on my way to Leadville, CO, the highest incorporated city in North America sitting at 10,152′ — site of the Leadville Trail 100. There, I will join 580 others (largest in history) at the starting line on the corner of 6th and Harrison, make my way down to the ghost town of Winfield 50 miles away, turn around and head back to the finish. Along the way, there will be two significant climbs (which we’ll do twice) — Sugarloaf Mountain (el 11,311′) and the infamous Hope Pass (el 12,620′).
This is the race that usually takes people out of the Series — less than half will finish, falling victim to the various difficulties this course brings, such as the high altitude, harsh weather conditions, or the strict cutoffs. In 2005, I barely made it to the finish — squeaked in with less than 8 minutes to spare, in 29:52:43. Interestingly enough, that year had the highest number of finishers (213) and finishing rate (54%).
Look for Anton Krupicka to challenge Matt Carpenter’s record again. Bill Finkbeiner will be going for his 24th buckle, having the most number of finishes. Also, Garry Curry and Steve Siguaw will be going for their 19th.
I’m very excited to take on this course again — it will be challenging no doubt, but like the HURT motto says, ‘AOLE MAKOU E HO’OHIKIWALE KELA (translates to: WE WOULDN’T WANT IT TO BE EASY!). Best of luck to all my fellow Slam-mates!
Final score: Me-2 and Leadville-0
I’ll leave you with a video I made of my 2005 race.