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How to succeed in the Leadville Qualifying Series: Barn Burner 104

Course and Race

Consisting of four laps on a 26 mile course in the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests just north of Flagstaff, the Barn Burner is an event set up for far more than just individuals trying to qualify for the Leadville Trail 100. In addition to the Cowboy (solo) categories, there are separate categories for Loners who choose to pedal the entire course on singlespeeds, Pardner (duo), Posse (4-person), or Stagecoach (tandem) categories for those not wanting to ride the whole distance alone.

With a designated camping area on private land at the start/finish, the event has a festive atmosphere complete with Bigfoot BBQ and free beer provided by Four Peaks. Rich Maines, an Arizona native who has participated in the event multiple years says, “With it’s festival-like atmosphere situated on a private ranch, surrounded by the beauty of the forest, it’s the perfect blend of family-oriented fun with the usual shenanigans of a mountain bike race.”

The race begins with a traditional Le Mans start before heading counterclockwise around the circuit. There are two significant climbs on the course with the first one starting at Mile 12. It’s fairly gradual and gains approximately 500 feet in just under two miles. This is followed by a fast downhill with a sharp turn at the bottom that has claimed its fair share of victims. The second climb is a bit more serious, gaining 800 feet in a little over three miles.

The rest of the course is littered with short, punchy climbs to keep riders honest. Aside from these sections, the loop is mostly fast-rolling double track and fireroads with a little bit of singletrack thrown in for good measure.

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