The Leadville Trail 100 is a 100 mile epic mountain bike race that takes place above the highest incorporated city in the country. It’s really around 103 miles, and your legs let you know it coming up the “Boulevard” after your odometer hits 100 and the finish is nowhere in site. Recently, it has attracted the likes of Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis, thus propelling the race to international recognition.
Many thanks to Jenn and Rich at IMBA for the tickets to the “Race Across the Sky” movie event, a.k.a. the Leadville movie. We drank adult beverages at the Hard Rock at the IMBA pre-screening party, then made our way over to the Paramount on 16th in Denver for the film. I flashed our tickets to the usher, who frowned, then pointed us away toward the mezzanine. We made our way from the main seating area and headed to the upper deck, banished to the nether regions of the theater. But what seemed like nosebleed seats turned out to be the VIP section. We were surrounded by cycling heros, studs, and celebrities. Davis and Taylor Phinney, Connie Carpenter behind us; Chris Romer and another senator to the left; Heather Irmiger, Alex Grant, Matt Shriver, Ken Chlouber catty-corner; Travis Brown and Jeff Cloutier in front . . . My thought amongst these cycling legends, “Why the hell couldn’t they get better seats?”
Felt pretty good about being included in such an illustrious crowd until my eyeballs started swimming a few minutes into the film. I didn’t want to miss any of the movie, but I was having a hard time enjoying it with my bladder on red alert. I had to climb over the senators to get out of the row. As Brad Pitt remarked in Fight Club, “Now, a question of etiquette – as I pass, do I give you the ass or the crotch?”
The Denver show was the main event for the 1 day showing. Like the first movie, there was a panel of racers on stage to share their own thoughts and experiences. Dave Wiens, Levi Leipheimer, Rebecca Rusch, Erik Weihenmayer, JHK, and the “Lifetime Fitness dude who bought Leadville”. Notably missing was Ken Chlouber, who, according to rumors, made off like a bandit after selling the Leadville Series to the “Lifetime Fitness dude who bought Leadville.” He deserves it. He pretty much single-handedly revived a near defunct mining town by creating the Leadville races. Each panelist shared dutifully tactful accounts and rhetoric about, what for the most part, amounted to the power of the human spirit. I’d love to see Dave Zabriski included in the panel. Would add some color to the otherwise homogenous discussion.
“Well, you see, I’m just a big, hairy American winning machine. I eat 9 hour finishers for breakfast, and I crap 12 hour finishers afterward. You wanna mess with DZ NUTS!?”
Honestly, how many Tour de France roadies sport a flavor-savor anyway? The stash says it all.
This year’s movie, like last year’s, was not only well-done and inspirational, but it jerked more than a few tears. I was glad it was dark as my eyes welled up on a couple different occasions. “No really, it’s just allergies.”
Also like last year, I found myself bobbing in my seat to the rhythm of the riders and the music. It was like I was pumping my legs and feeling the fire just like they were. It gave me motivation to ride hard and train like a maniac. That inspiration lasted until we hit Chipotle after the movie, and I succumbed to an over-abundance of delicious trans-fats, then proceeded to finish Sue’s burrito. I’ve still got months before the season starts again. Gotta pace myself, you know? But when the time is ripe again, I’ll have to borrow Jon’s Race Across the Sky DVD, and get the juices flowing. Dan and I are racing the Breck Epic next year in the Open Duo category. I don’t wanna have to get dragged all over the Epic course by the Buss. It will take heart, but I’m up for the challenge. Ken Chlouber pretty much summed it up at last year’s movie premiere. “I’ve got one word for you . . . DIG DEEP.”