DENVER (VN) _ Leadville Trail 100 champion Levi Leipheimer does not appear eager to defend his title anytime soon.
At the Denver premiere of Race Across the Sky 2010, a film about the Colorado mountain bike race, the RadioShack rider was asked if he’d be back to defend his title. “Someday,” he said with a grin.
Earlier, Leipheimer had joked that his teammate Lance Armstrong, who won the race in 2009 but skipped it last year, had “tricked” Leipheimer into starting the race.
“He was the one I was cursing the last 20 miles!” Leipheimer said. “He’s at home laughing his ass off … I didn’t expect it to be that tough. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.”
More seriously, Leipheimer praised the event’s uniqueness and said he was inspired by the hundreds of racers of all ages who accept the challenge to complete the course every year.
“The human spirit that they carry into it is really inspirational,” he said.
Leipheimer, six-time Leadville winner Dave Weins, 2010 runner-up Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and two-time women’s winner Rebecca Rusch attended the premiere and participated in a panel discussion before and after the film.
Before the halfway mark at the race, Leipheimer broke away from leaders with Horgan-Kobelski, the national marathon mountain bike champion and, like Leipheimer, a first-time Leadville racer. Leipheimer pulled away in the final 15 miles and held his gap to the line, setting a course record. “I was running scared the whole way,” Leipheimer said.
While Leipheimer sounded uncertain about a 2011 title defense — its proximity to the 2011 Quiznos Pro Challenge, which starts eight days later, might have something to do with it — Horgan-Kobelski sounded more interested.
“I want to add my name to the winner’s list,” he said to applause from his home-state audience.
The film opened at about 500 theaters nationally for a one-night showing Thursday. It will be shown again at many of the same theaters on Nov. 9.
Related: Discuss the movie at Singletrack.com