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Leadville 100 to feature elite pro field, ambitious amateurs

Defending champions Todd Wells and Sally Bigham return to Leadville, along with amateurs aiming to set new personal bests.

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The Leadville Trail 100’s field of nearly 2,000 riders will feature everyone from Olympians and world champions to a 71-year-old woman aiming to set a new personal best. The 22nd edition of the high-altitude Colorado mountain bike race takes place August 15 in Leadville, Colorado.

“Year after year, the excitement and anticipation grows in Leadville as we welcome race competitors and the endurance sports community to our legendary ‘Race Across the Sky,’” said Josh Colley, Leadville Race Series director. “The sheer determination of these athletes — from our stellar pro field to our first-time participants — is something we all can draw from as we lead our own healthy way of life journeys.”

Back this year are defending champions Todd Wells (Specialized) and Sally Bigham (Topeak-Ergon) of Great Britain, as well as second- and third-place finishers from 2014: Two-time world champion and Swiss legend Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and Czech Kristian Hynek (Topeak-Ergon). Past winner and course record-holder Alban Lakata of Austria is set to return as part of the strong Topeak-Ergon contingent. On the women’s side, Amy Beisel (Liv-Giant) and four-time Olympian Katerina Nash (Luna) should give the two-time defending champ Bigham a run for her money.

Alongside the pro field, many are racing on behalf of charitable organizations, such as First Descents, Phoenix Patriot Foundation, Ride 2 Recovery, and World Bicycle Relief. Leadville resident Ty Hall will be entered as Transamerica’s Tomorrow Chaser to help raise money for the Leadville Legacy Foundation. As the “Tomorrow Chaser,” Hall will start at the back of the race and Transamerica will donate $5 to the local foundation for every racer he passes. This will be Hall’s 14th Leadville Trail 100 MTB race.

Other notables this weekend include Wendy Skean, who aims to be the first 71-year-old women to finish in less than 12 hours. In 2005 at age 61, she finished in 11:24:36 to become the first woman of her age to finish under 12 hours. Pearly Van Nierkerk, originally from Zimbabwe, is racing her first Leadville 100 to raise awareness and money for Zimbabwe children’s charities. And Roger Mankus will be gunning for his 21st Leadville Trail 100 finish — he has participated in all but one running of the race.