New Show: A Little More Leadville Stuff and New Topics

"Watching" the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge race with Matt and JT.

“Watching” the final stage of the USA Pro Challenge race with Matt and JT.

Welcome back to Elevation Trail.  Today we give an update and follow up to our conversation about the Leadville 100 Run and Lifetime Fitness.  We also discuss our connection as consumers to the sport of ultra/trail running, along with other ramblings and MTB awesomeness.  (sorry for cursing twice. whatever.)  Thanks for listening and please consider a donation to show your support if you enjoy the shows.

19 thoughts on “New Show: A Little More Leadville Stuff and New Topics

  1. I’m very excited about UTMB. Will be following it closely. Seems to be a lot of excitement in the US and beyond. Check out the comments on iRunFar’s previews. I guess you two should be careful not to generalize your own feelings to the larger population. Just because your not excited does not mean the larger population feels the same way.

    • The excitement surrounding the comments on irf seems to be focused on Anton, his taper for the race and which outfit he’ll wear. In fact, there’s very little commentary on the race itself. And 50% of the comments are Bryon’s. “I pick TK FTW!” Actually, I’m picking Chorier.

      And, what I’m pointing out in the show about UTMB is that there’s really nothing on the line whether you win or dnf. No points, no championship, money? I also say “personally, I think it’s kind of boring.” So, my personal opinion.

      Regarding the larger population of ultrarunners, I’m guessing if you asked the 1,000 people that started Leadville to name 5 women racing UTMB, very few could do it.

      • That last statement is not a characteristic solely related to ultrarunning … it is a truth of running. Most folks who line up for a marathon have no idea who won. Or even care.

        Bolder Boulder 10k, nearly 50k participants … all they know is some Kenyan won it (and that is not even right most times).

  2. Anton get’s the vast majority of the attention (via the IRF comments, anyway) any time he toes the line; and often enough, his absence from a race manages to be the dominant storyline. It is what it is. Personally, I’m interested to see how it shakes out. Granted, there aren’t any larger stakes than the race at hand – but that’s plenty for me. It’s a sick field and seeing who, on that course on that day, is the best, is narrative enough. But I get that most (ultra)runners aren’t that way, which is fine.

    • Thanks Alex. I’d like to clarify that, for me, the race would be exciting to participate in. As a fan and spectator of the sport, (again, for me), it’s not that enticing to spend 24 hours following it, especially with no commentary. Even with commentary, how would that be? “We’re expecting the leader to come through in two hours. Second place is currently a mere 90 minutes behind him with just 10 hours to go.” Yawn.

      The interesting part, for me, in a fan/spectator role, is reading about it post-race and viewing photos.

      Would be nice to see an American actually be within sniffing distance of the real competition for a change, too.

      • Totally agree with that. I won’t be following along live; rather, I’ll wait until the dust has settled. But then, 100(ish) milers are inherently dubious spectator events, since they’re characterized by A) Taking forever; and B) Offering no means to follow along visually, unless you’re working an aid station.

  3. “Franchise” races are becoming the norm, like the “bubble run” there is the “color run”. People buy into the novelty. Really do we need races that are the same in Dallas, St. Louis, Timbuktu, or Leadville? Probably not but we live in the McDonalds world and people like familiarity. Personally I run away as fast as I can from “franchise” races(HMMM perhaps I’ve stumbled on to a concept race, running away from races).

    Hi Gary

  4. Another great show. I missed the connection between the current ultrarunning boom and the MTB Worlds though. Didn’t USA pro MTB racing peak in the 90’s? Were you saying that ultrarunnning will eventually level out and that its races will evolve to being well-run but somewhat obscured in the bigger picture? (Elite MTB racing is basically a euro sport now and even there, it is far behind road, cyclocross, and maybe BMX in popularity). It’s difficult to see ultrarunning going that direction right now.

    • Hey Pete,
      I guess the point I was trying to make (which I didn’t do a good job of) was that, as a spectator sport, ultrarunning is boring as hell. Certain MTB is boring to watch/follow too (IMO), like stage or Endro races and/or Ultra Endurance Tour (USAC UET). I personally love to follow and watch the XC MTB discipline. I know the US made a go of it and had some cool races, typically at ski resorts. I’m not certain why it didn’t continue to grow. They even took Windham, NY off the World Cup XC series this year (scheduled to be back next year). It’s obvious (from watching all the WC races on Red bull and previous years on YouTube) that XC MTB is very popular as a spectator sport in Europe, South Africa, and Canada (Mont Sainte Anne a couple weeks ago).

      I suppose ultrarunning will never be a spectator/fan friendly sport but it would be cool if there were some sort of organization akin to World Cup MTB; at least then there’d be something to follow, a thread connecting races towards a final goal each year instead of piecemeal events run independently.
      Thanks for the comment – we appreciate it.

  5. I’m stoked to see what happens at the UTMB, but then I’m Canadian so who cares, right? … In other news, 1: where’s your Leadville race report? 2: who is going to coach you? Are you coachable? and 3: what happened to the AWOL Mattie? (Gary’s cool too…)

  6. Another great show, keep ’em coming. Gary, I am interested in donating to the cause that your cyclocross race supports. Maybe I could do it by purchasing an entry that you could give to someone. Yeah, watching endurance sports is pretty boring, except for the marquee events like TDF ( and even that gets a little slow for the non-cycling public ). I even find track racing kind of boring, and I’m a runner! Ultra is pretty underground as far as main-stream sports go, I doubt I could find it on the ESPN home page. Tim, I was never much of a fan of mountain bike racing….. I guess I am just a roadie at heart. Interesting how the Euros seem to like all those endurance sports, they always make a a party of it. I saw a picture of a cyclocross race in Belgium and the fans ( 3 deep ) were drinking beer and ringing cowbells.
    I second drybone’s question: Where’s the Leadville race report from Tim?

    • Thanks, Mack.
      Gary will likely chime in regarding your generous offer.
      I’ve grown to enjoy nearly all cycling over the last 30 years, from BMX to road stage racing. The MTB XC race is exciting in it’s skill, athletic level (any of these guys could, and do, race competitively in road races like TDF – that ability doesn’t seem reciprocal), and it’s brevity at just 90 mins per race. It’s also great to be able to follow progress and standings over a season.

      As for my race report, there isn’t one. Had I not felt obligation to run it, I wouldn’t have even lined up.

    • Thanks for the offer! Two ways of making a donation to the Miracle League. You can go to the registration page for my bike race at:

      Toward the bottom of the page you can donate and I will deliver that fund directly to them. Or, you can go to and donate there as well.

      And CX races in Belgium are crazy looking. I have some friends who have raced there and it can get nuts, sometimes not in a good way as in people heckling and throwing beers at riders (why you would want to waste beer I don’t know). Pros I’ve talked to have said racing in the US is an overall more positive experience because people are generally supportive and encouraging (even when heckling).

      Check out what happens when some d-bag jerk throws a beer at Sven Nys (nickname The Cannibal).

      • Sven was obviously having a bad day with no chance of winning since it was obvious that plastic cup had no effect when it hit his wheel. He found a good excuse to drop.

  7. Another good Episode. I enjoy both your insights on ultrarunning. I am however, dissapointed in Gary as a podcast journalist. He mentions no details on the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning yet there is a good resource on Sten Jensens run100.s site Actually- I am just busting chops but did want to share the site if interested and you havent seen it .There is little coverage about the GS but in truth I am more intersted in stories of regular people struggling for this accomplishment than the interest in Sharmin vs Clake (sorry Gary) . I feel the same way about running series etc- I am mildly interested but have a stronger interest in hearing about the rest of the group achieving. To me Ultrarunning isnt so much of a spectator sport that I care who wins and what events are available for the elites. Keep up the good work.

  8. Enjoyed the show. I enjoyed following UTMB, especially Rory’s domination, but find it interesting/annoying how almost all the followers in iRF just wanted to know what happened to Anton. I find the attention he gets interesting and, at least these days, outsized to his actual racing. I’m mich more interested in dozens of other runners who seem to prepare better (aka more focused, taper). But if he just adds racing on the side to his enjoyment, who are we to criticize?

    Regarding Leadville PR from LIfetime, they could learn a lesson from TNF San Fran. After the reroute, which wasn’t really their fault, they promptly sent an email to all participants apologizing for what happened and saying what they would do in future years to prevent or be prepared for situations like that in the future. Leadville should take note. Anyways, no way I will run that race, so what di I care?

    Final note- you guys have any reaction to the press release from Grand Slam basically saying Big Nicky isn’t in the slam and can’t even refer to it by name? Seems tacky to me, that’s for sure.

    • Hey Jon,
      Yeah, Matt and I discussed the whole Anton thing long ago. You hit on the point I think we tried to make before: Good for Anton if he’s simply happy playing in the mountains but it’s tiresome seeing “fans” lift him up to elite status in ultras among the ranks of guys who are competing consistently with focus and direction. He hasn’t won a 100 in six years (and, frankly, that one wasn’t even competitive)…

      Regarding TNF series, I definitely wasn’t a fan when they started in 2007 but they’ve worked to improve on several levels, from logistical race management to customer satisfaction. I personally see Lifetime selling the Leadville series in the next couple years – just a gut feeling.

      Heck yeah, we have a reaction to the technicality raised last week over the Grand Slam thing. Little Nicky had to be restrained by Gary. I’m naming everything I do from now on The Grand Slam of… Copy written? Give me a break. However, like most things, there are a lot of angles on this topic. I’m torn between laughing at the pettiness of The Grand Slam folks and the fact that Nick knew there was an “entry” fee to be in the slam and should’ve just entered the dumb thing. We’ll be touching on it on this Wednesday’s show. Thanks for the comment and thoughts.

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