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Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp Day 1 still

posted by Chris Barber

descending-sugarloaf-pass-leadville-trail-100-powerlines1Hawaiian Shirt Ray brings it to us again.  Day One at Leadville Trail 100 Training camp continues…

Tree Line

From the Fish Hatchery there is a long stretch of pavement until the runners come to “Tree line.”  For many runners this is a mentally tough section.  It is slightly downhill from the Fish Hatchery until the runners turn onto Halfmoon Road.  I suggest that runners take advantage of not having to think about running and foot placement and run as much of the pavement as possible, depending on race conditions.  If there is a strong headwind then runners discretion should be used since the headwind equates to running up hill.  Again, during camp there is an aid station setup here, but on race day there is no aid station.  However, the runners are allowed to have crew access at Tree Line.  For crews there is plenty of space to park and it is very easy to see their runner coming in.

Box Car (aka Halfmoon II)

Last year the Leadville Trail 100 course changed slightly and no longer runs up Halfmoon Road through the camp ground.  The new course has the runners turn left at Tree Line and run into Box Car Gulch.  One of the benefits of the new course is that runners no longer have to deal with all the traffic and dust on Halfmoon Road.  The new section is the same distance and actually has more climbing than the old section.  Although there is more overall climbing, the runners do not have to run the punishing climb out of Halfmoon camp ground that the old course dished out.  The Box Car aid station is at mile 30 outbound and mile 70 inbound.  During camp there is an aid station setup here for the participants, but during the race runners cannot have crew assess at this aid station.

Twin Lakes

From Box Car runners return to the previous Leadville Trail 100 course which connects onto the Colorado Trail.  This is one of my favorite sections of the course; running through the pine trees and aspen.  During camp this year I was reminded just how much climbing there is through this section.  For me, I use the first time I can see Twin Lakes as a gauge that I have about 25 minutes to go and most of that is downhill.  There are sections on this stretch of downhill that are on very, very narrow singletrack with some substantial drop-offs.  The singletrack drops runners off onto a very step and rocky dirt road leading into Twin Lakes.

Once the runners are at Twin Lakes they are done for the day and treated to BBQ and beverages.  And since Coors Brewery is a sponsor of the Leadville Trail 100, there is no shortage of free beer.  Runners are invited to hang out and relax until the last shuttle bus heads back to town.  At camp they run shuttles back to town often in case runners are ready to call it a day.

Leadville 100 Training Camp Takeaways from Day 1

Day 1 of the Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp gives the participants a firsthand experience of the 26 miles of the course.  Many of the camp participants that I spoke with came away with “that was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be,” but not an intimidated or defeated attitude.  Rather, they received the experience that the Leadville Training Camp is all about; it let the runners realize how they are going to need to train and how they will need to strategize on race day.  There are a few runners at camp that ran the Leadville Trail 100 last year and did not finish.  They are at camp this year with the regret of not having participated in the training camp prior to their first attempt at running the Leadville Trail 100.  In other words, for those of you who want to run the Leadville Trail 100 for the first time I highly recommend coming to training camp to give you the tools you need to finish in less than 30 hours.

Get ready for Day Two!