For the last 26 the Leadville Trail 100 MTB race has been held on the second Saturday in August. This year, on August 15th, the normally packed streets of Colorado’s 10,151-foot high city will be quiet, as organizers have canceled the 2020 edition to comply with the wishes of local lawmakers.
On Tuesday night, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to cancel all special events in Leadville through September 2020. The news arrives quickly on the heels of the recent announcement by the Leadville Race Series that all June 2020 events would be canceled.
In addition to the mountain bike race, last night’s decision affects all of the other events in the series, including the Silver Rush Event Weekend, Stages Cycling Leadville Stage Race, the Leadville 10k, and Leadville Trail 100 Run.
“While it breaks our hearts, we fully agree with and support their decision,” said the event organizers in a release.
Tuesday’s meeting of local officials was held to make a decision on Leadville’s usually busy slate of summertime events. In attendance were city and county officials as well as public health officials and a representative from Life Time, which purchased the racing series in 2010. The conversation circulated largely around on the size of of group gatherings. The county is following Colorado’s ‘Safer at Home’ directive and is unlikely to allow gatherings larger than 250 individuals any time before September.
“Even if we did everything well for the next four to eight weeks, possibly 12 weeks, and we get to the point where we can have group sizes of 250, there aren’t any special permits that we have for a group size smaller than that,” said Colleen Nielson, director of Lake County Public Health Agency.
Since its inception in 1983, the Leadville Race Series has provided a huge economic boost to the city of around 3,000 residents. In fact, when the storied Leadville Trail 100 foot race (the original event in the LRS) was created in 1983 after the shuttering of the Climax molybdenum mine, economic stimulus was the intended result.
“The [Leadville] Race Series has a huge impact on our community and has done exactly what it was intended to do, which was to supplement our economy in times of economic uncertainty. For that, we are extremely grateful for that investment into our community,” said County Commissioner Kayla Marcella.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances of the race cancelation, event organizers are offering different options for participants registered in each individual Leadville event. Registrants can defer their entry, donate the entry fee to the Life Time Foundation, the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation, their local NICA chapter, or receive a refund. The options and directions on how to proceed have been emailed to all participants.
On Monday, Life Time sent a survey to current, future, and past participants of their events over the last few years asking them to explain how comfortable they would be participating in an event in 2020, what group size they’d be willing to participate in, and whether or not they have an interest in virtual or online challenges. In the first 24 hours, they received over 7,500 responses.
Nevertheless, as the Leadville decision indicates, the host communities had the ultimate say.
“A lot of guidelines and restrictions that will guide us for next few months will largely be handed down by local municipalities,” said Kimo Seymour, senior vice president at Life Time. “More than anything, we want to make sure we’re supporting what local officials want in their communities. We have to assume that that’s what the local constituents also want. That will guide us first and foremost.”