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Unless your name is Armstrong, Wiens or is followed by “winner of the Leadville Trail 100” in your bio, you have 12 days remaining to apply for a spot in the bike race that put a tiny Colorado mountain town on the map.
And even then, entry into the LT100 isn’t assured, because this year, as in 2009, race organizers will turn away more applications than they accept; and they stop accepting them on Jan. 31.
At that point, 1,400 names will be chosen in a cold, hard automated manner, with the lucky ones — or unlucky, considering the grueling nature of the LT100 — getting word on Feb. 8.
“We anticipate that the numbers will be a lot bigger this year,” said Kathy Bedell, LT 100 public relations manager. “There has definitely been an increased interest in the race. The ‘Lance factor’ and the documentary [Race Across the Sky] have pushed the race off the charts for us.”
For 2010, Lance Armstrong, Dave Wiens, last year’s women’s champ Rebecca Rusch and a select group of others are set to race, Bedell said.
Then there will be a few “surprises” that race founder Ken Chlouber is working on.
As far as marketing the LT100, well, that’s been taken care of by Armstrong and Race Across the Sky. Bedell said the film, which documents the 2009 duel between Armstrong and Wiens as well as the 1,398 others who take on the Colorado Rockies, has helped garner interest from far and wide.
“We’ve had people from 98 countries sign up. That’s unbelievable,” Bedell said. “The film and Lance’s participation have really expanded the international interest. That’s really exciting for us.”
All those new applicants make for exciting times, for sure, but likely frustrating for those hoping for their first and/or annual go at the race, which tops out at 12,600 feet.
In or out, Bedell said applicants will be notified of their luck soon after Feb. 8. It’s also likely that in the note there will be mention of other ways to torment your body at elevation around Leadville. There’s the Leadville Silver Rush 50 miler in July and, new for 2010, a 12- and 24-hour race in September.