Two of the things that I really enjoy are cycling and movies so when both of these are mixed together I just can’t stay away. I even liked Breaking Away with all of its cheesiness. Last Thursday Jenny and I attended a one night showing of Race Across the Sky which is a documentary of the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike race which was held last August.
If you’ve never heard of the Leadville 100 it’s a mountain bike race starting in Leadville Colorado. It’s a 100 mile race with an out and back format boasting elevations of over 12,000 feet. If that isn’t lung busting enough there are 14,000 feet of climbing in this race.
The movie starts out with a brief background on the history of the race then immediately takes you to the pre race meeting held at the local high school gym. There are so many people packed into this gym I’m sure they were breaking every fire code in the county but all of the racers seem to be enjoying themselves. The race organizer was dressed in full spandex racing gear and was also wearing a huge cowboy belt buckle. It was certainly a look all his own but he actually had some really good words of wisdom for the racers. He told them that they were tougher than they thought they were. He also told them that no one had ever died racing the Leadville 100 so they should give it more than they think they could give.
During this meeting they also introduced some of the pro riders who would also be racing. When they introduced 6 time winner Dave Weins the entire crowd gave him a standing ovation. It was pretty obvious they he had gained the respect of most of the other racers through the years. Oh yeah, there was also another well known rider that you’ve probably heard of but he didn’t come to the meeting. Lance Armstrong.
As the race started it was obvious that Lance Armstrong had someone setting the pace for him because the lead group was riding at a blistering speed. Later Dave Weins would say that the pace was so fast that after the first mountain climb his legs were cooked. Tactically, Lance had sized up his competition very well and exploited Dave Weins weaknesses.
By the 50 mile turn around point Lance had a solid 10 minute lead on Dave and had the Lance Armstrong stare of concentration going on. The 50 mile turn around point is at the top of a huge climb that most riders walk up. Watching Dave Weins pound up this ascent it was evident that he was riding to his limits trying to catch up with Lance. When he got to the turn around point he proved why he got the huge ovation at the pre race meeting. Even though he was riding to his limit and losing the race that he had owned for the past 6 years he paused for a brief second as he rode past a group of volunteers at the top of the mountain and thanked them for coming out and supporting the riders. That was really a classy move.
Lance held the lead for the rest of the race and easily beat Dave even after a scare where Lance got a flat. It was kind of funny, Lance looked around like “Hey, where’s the team car, who’s going to fix this flat?” Eventually, he pulled out a CO2 cartridge and filled his tire up and rode a mushy tire across the finish line.
Take aways from the Movie:
In cycling it’s always important to remember that you’re a lot tougher than you think you are. Those are some words to live by.
No matter how tired or in a hurry you are it’s important to take the time to thank people for their efforts
I am now a huge fan of Dave Weins. He’s the man!
I never want to race the Leadville 100. Hike-a-bike just isn't my thing.