I had the privilege of watching the premier of the Race Across the Sky movie last Thursday on the big screen. It was an one night nationwide showing of the epic Mountain Bike race in Leadville, CO last August. It is 100 miles on an out and back course that pitted Lance Armstrong against 6X champion Dave Wiens of Gunnison, CO. Having spent a week in Leadville this past July and raced the Trail Marathon, it was so nice to be able to see some of the old sites and sounds of Leadville. Ken Chlouber puts on all these races since first putting on the Leadville 100 trail race I think in 1983. Since that time it has morphed into more trail races and a MTB race. The MTB race has drawn in Tour De France winner Floyd Landis in 2007 and Lance Armstrong in 2008. When Lance raced here last year he finished second to Dave Wiens. Lance credits the race as the reason why he came back to race the Tour De France this year. I know Lance does not like to lose and this got the competitive juices flowing again.
A hundred miles is a long ride no matter what, but when you throw in the Leadville factor it is huge. Leadville sits at 10,200 elevation and is a challenge to anyone. The altitude did not bother me that much, but climbing uphill was very hard to get enough air. On the downhills I could clock off sub 8 minute miles, but I did a lot of walking on the hills. Those that can keep trucking uphill, my hat is off to you.
The MTB race starts downtown just like all the other races and heads out to the Twin Lakes area and up Columbine Pass which is just above 12,000 feet. It was funny sitting in the theater and hearing everyone ooh and aah when they announced how high it was. The Marathon I did went up Mosquito Pass at 13,100 feet. Everybody was in Parkas and it was cold. The MTB race was no different as it started sleeting on them and it was freezing up the top of the pass. The lead pack of riders was about 7 or 8 people and splintered once they made it to Twin Lakes at the 40 mile mark. Lance at that point took off and never looked back. He shot through the aid station and separated himself from the rest of the field. The most impressive thing was watching Lance pedal all the way up Powerline trail on the way back when everyone else, including Dave Wiens got off and pushed their bikes up the trail. Lance made it back to Turquoise Lake and had a flat about 7 miles from the finish. He made a feeble attempt to put some Co2 into his back tire, but decided to just ride it in. He barely made it in on the flat and finished in a new course record. Dave Wiens managed to hold onto second and break his course record time from last year. From this point it was truly exciting to see the rest of the pack struggle in to beat the 12 hr cutoff. The stories and struggles that people have went through to make the start line and the finish is truly inspiring. My family and I fell in love with Leadville and cannot wait to go back, I am not for sure it will be for the MTB race though.
Overall it was a good documentary and one that I would recommend to anyone. I was a little more excited about it as most of the areas and scenery I had been to and seen in person. From what the website is showing they are having an encore showing on November 12th. I would recommend you go and check it and maybe it will inspire to push your limits of endurance and see that you can do a lot more than you think.