Don’t call it beginner’s luck for Rose Grant.
Grant (Stans NoTubes-Pivot) won Saturday’s Leadville Trail 100 race, crossing the line in 7:36:07.
It’s Grant’s first stab at the Leadville race, and her first time completing a 100-mile mountain bike race.
“It’s my first time doing a race of this length and caliber, that’s for sure,” Grant told VeloNews at the finish line.
There was nothing lucky about Grant’s victory, however.
Grant is one of the most accomplished female cross-country racers in the U.S., and her list of palmares includes four national titles at the Marathon cross-country distance (2014-2017). Grant is also a regular top-10 finisher at national-level cross-country races, and won the Carson City Off-road race in 2017.
Despite her newbie status at the 100-mile distance, Grant said she had a detailed plan for both pacing the 100-mile race and managing her nutrition over the seven hours of racing.
“I just made sure I stayed within myself and then had a pretty detailed nutrition plan for the race. I had a lot of just-in-case plans,” Grant said. “I was very cautious to stick by the plan and it worked out well. I finished feeling pretty strong.”
Grant finished 18 minutes ahead of second place, Sarah Sturm (Specialized), winner of the 2019 Belgian Waffle Ride. Colombian rider Angela Parra was third.
Grant said she suffered a puncture early in the race, and believes she ran over a nail in the opening 20 miles. She was able to continue riding, despite the nail in her tire, and nursed the wheel all the way to the feed zone at the base of the Powerline climb.
“On the descent I noticed I had something in my tire—time it went around I heard it ticking,” Grant said. “I was able to ride it up and down Columbine and then get it switched out.”
Grant said she raced by herself for much of the day, and did not know where the other female competitors were along the course. She caught and passed Sturm near the midpoint of the race.
Grant caught and passed Sturm on the long Columbine climb, and then held her lead to the finish line.
“I didn’t know who my competitors were, but I knew it was going to be a pretty individual day,” Grant said. “After I passed [Strum] I didn’t really look back or let it try to get back in my head.”
Leadville Trail 100 Elite Women’s Results
- Rose Grant, Stans NoTubes-Pivot, 7:36:07
- Sarah Sturm, Specialized, 7:54:23
- Angela Parra, 7:55:56
- Hayley Lytle, 8:20:04
- Niki Pardoe, 8:34:02