Sunday, February 28, 2010

20 A "Rejection" Letter To Leadville 100

Whether it was the organizers who regretted it or whether it was you is really moot.

The fact is, if you were not lucky enough to register via lottery for the tinselly Leadville 100 this year (registration fee on selection was a whopping $275 and change), chances are you'd have obtained a very similar rejection letter in your email.

Some major surprises were seen in terms of the suggested expenditures elsewhere so as to get a "preferential" entry. In other words, you could buy yourself into the sky to race. More precisely, you could have paid $1250 bucks for the 2-day Leadville Training camp from CARmichael Training Systems and sealed the deal.

Some folks were asking themselves hard whether they really wanted to sell their homes to do this. What is your perspective on spending huge sums of money on races, much less on over-glorified ones? I surely don't grow notes on trees.

Note : The following comes courtesy of poster "Euphrades" on CN Forums to the topic "Leadville 100 is a scam".

Dear Leadville Trail 100 Family,

We deeply regret that we were unable to accept your application into the 2010 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. We really wish we could accommodate every interested rider, but we simply can’t. Our goal and primary obligation is to offer every racer the nation’s highest quality athletic experience with the utmost degree of safety, medical care and racer support. The ever increasing numbers of returning racers and new applicants are testimony we are meeting our goal. We do not keep a waiting list and cannot yet accept entries for 2011.

There is still ONE way you can gain entry into the race. For the third year, the Leadville Trail100 has partnered with Carmichael Training Systems to host three 2-day mountain bike camps in Leadville in July 2010 in preparation for the LT100 MTB Race. Camp participants will earn guaranteed entry into the race and the race entry fee is included in the camp fee. Athletes who are unsuccessful in the lottery will have first priority to get into a CTS LT100 Camp. Call CTS today at 866-355-0645 or visit to reserve a camp spot and we’ll see you at the start line on August14.

We would also encourage you to consider entering the awesome 50 mile “Silver Rush” on July 17. It’s a tough, demanding and incredibly beautiful ride in Leadville’s historic east side mining district. Also new this year is 24 Hours of Leadville on Sept. 4 & 5 – for when 100 miles isn’t enough! Try it solo or grab some of your friends and sign up as a team. In addition, we are offering a special $50 discount on the 24 Hours of Leadville race by including this Code: 24Pb on the race application. Simply download it from the web site, fill it our and mail it in!

Last, but certainly not least, we always need and welcome volunteers to assist the mountain bike and running events. Not only is it very rewarding to help other riders and runners achieve their goals, but preference in the 2011 entry process is also given to those who volunteer for any of our 2010 races.

We are sincerely grateful for your enthusiasm and dedication to the “Race Across the Sky”.

In appreciation,

Ken Chlouber
President, Leadville Trail 100

* * *


  1. I'm probably just an asocial curmudgeon, but I would be inclined to tell them to keep it. I realize that some have trained and prepped to get into the Leadville 100, but I think events have gotten too big for their britches when the fees for a century are $275.

    And the bribe in order to sneak in is just shady. How much transparency is there in their lottery process? Is it going to stay that transparent in years to come or are the organizers going to find in the years to come much more lucrative "arrangements" with other companies?

    I liken this trend of cycling events to raves in the 90's. Rave organizers started out with the intent to have a good time and make enough to keep doing it. But then the greed sank in and ticket costs rocketed to $50 with 8oz water bottles going to $10 (while they disconnected any water fountains in the area).

    Smart people will vote with their feet and wallets. Or maybe that's my inner curmudgeon sneaking out...

  2. Anonymous10:56 AM

    Wow, bribery is so obvious here its not even funny. Thanks for the post.

  3. What was the entry fee before Lance entered? The price is high because there is demand and it will eventually create supply. There will be more races b/c of Leadville's success. For me it is too much, though. 50€ for an amateur event is the absolute max and the price must include pretty good trail side service.

  4. Antti : I don't have that data but I suppose I could ask around for you.

    Wayne : Thats a funny connection with Rave . You're absolutely free to express your opinions here. It would surely be interesting to learn how this business operates. I learn that curiously enough, the race's relationship with CARmichael started when Armstrong first did the race. And we know Armstrong has a hand in part of CTS. Connect the dots.

  5. Trackasaurus11:38 AM

    I thought one of the poster's comments on the forum you linked to was a legit concern. Ref : Post # 148

    "That is exactly the reason I started this thread. I am not going to learn anything new in two days that I haven't learned in 18 years of cycling that would make me finish Leadville. I know what needs to be done. Not to mention the camp is roughly 1 month before Leadville. If you aren't ready by then, then there isn't much you will gain those two days in terms of fitness or form."

  6. Antti : FYI : In 2007, the race fee was $240 that you paid online or otherwise before Jan. 31.

  7. Guido1:13 PM

    A few years ago, they gave you a guaranteed spot in the field if you had a few Leadville's under the belt already and that was not too shabby. The management just changed after Lance's appearance in 2008. Now the quality of the field doesn't matter as long as you have the money to pay Carmichael to hear him talk for 2 days. Just stupid. The good thing is we a free market, so racers have a good selection of better, more challenging races to aim. Does it really matter if documentaries aren't made on them? Question is, what are you racing for. Thats what matters.

  8. Wayne ,

    Take a few moments to think of the race. Leadville is a non profit run mostly by volunteers. Proceeds go towards the benefit of a financially broke town and to school funding and buildings, to helping underprivileged families in times of need, etc. Its a beautiful race and I presume like anything else, as demand exceeds supply, prices go up. But what do I know? This is my opinion and I can't say for sure why exactly fees are $290.00. But paying your way into a race surely dilutes competition, it gives lawyers and rich consultants a reason to buy their way into there and slow overall times, sort of like how marathons have been slower and slower over the years, as nowadays fields consist of a lot of people who have the money and friends to raise thousands of dollars towards fund raising effectively buying a ticket into the race, but their actual running abilities are in the doubts.

  9. Ron,

    Before you get too righteous on this, it may be good to reference a few other costs of similar races.

    Such as -
    Cascade Cream Puff - $275
    24hrs of Moab Solo division - $310

    It would seem to me, that while these costs do seem high, it is in line with the other well operated events in the US.
    So, there doesn't seem to be any Lance Conspiracy here.
    Just the cold reality that costs are high in the US, and Chris Carmichael has figures out a way to cater to the wealthy elite.

    - Ryan

  10. Service Course11:20 PM

    @ Ryan

    The race across the sky for wealthy elites ? You should have heard by now that Leadville's regret letter has been off-putting to a lot of people who aren't wealthy elites, market or no market. Also, you would imagine that for paying the hefty sum, you could be awarded points towards your USA Cycling license. You don't. In contrast, 24 Hours of Moab gives you way harder trails with more character to ride on, and is a championship race for the national points series.

  11. Actually Service Course, I think any race on public land that you can ride any day you want which costs this much IS an event for the wealthy elite.
    That said, all these events, and many more throughout the world, are well managed by really great people who typically aren't doing it for the money.

    Regarding CTS - The simple fact Chris Carmichael has created some sort of mutually beneficial relationship with the promoters targeted at the desired demographic in order to make a more fulfilling experience for them while adding more total potential revenue to the town of Leadville.
    This is just basic 'Boomer Economics'.

    Oh, and I think the vast majority of riders for any of these events really don't give a shit about the amount of points they'll get on their USA Licence.

  12. Hey, interesting comments. Thanks everyone for the weekend discussion.

    Ryan : It'd be nice if the President made this clear on the registration page that the possibility of paying $1200 in a training camp so as to get into the race is present. A lot of people in far off states train and wait patiently hear whether they're selected or not. As far as I can see, not a word of this is mentioned anywhere on their website. If you upset people like that, money isn't going to pour into Leadville from thin air, no?

    I don't know about a Lance conspiracy like you coined it, but its interesting to see that after he came on, the cost of registration shot up 18-19%.

  13. Ron,

    The current rate of this countries inflation over the last 10 years is 28%.
    It is important you factor this reality into why costs increase.

    While on that subject, since Lance had cancer, Health Insurance has went up about over 130%.
    I would say the relationship between Mr.'Strong and these cost increases are about equal in their validity.

  14. Anonymous5:10 PM

    From what I have read here and heard from well respected individuals in the MTB community, it does appear as if Leadville has developed an inflated ego in the wake of the "Race Across the Sky" and Lance effect. I have heard that racers who competed last year and who placed well are being told that they need to provide several thousands of dollars worth of product to get a guaranteed entry, or they can simply plop down almost 2K in cash.

    I was considering trying to get into this race sometime in the future, but after this, I think I will just hit my local 100 milers and be happy with that.

  15. Chris Carmichael was a domestique when he was on the 7-Eleven team and a bad one at that!
    The only reason why he became national road coach is because the southland corp - aka 7- Eleven - had key positions on the US Cycling Board of Directors (their coup d'etat was getting rid of Eddie B. of all people!).
    Chris then grabbed onto Lance's coat tails and made it look like he was responsible for his comeback.

    The guy is a fraud - but most people don't know the inside deal unless you were part of the National Team like I was.

  16. mr. tibs3:12 PM

    Are you taught to micro-dose? Because then it might be worth it.

  17. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Well in light of this weekends revelation about felony charges to two of the particiapants in last years race...I think this cowbow will forgo the trip to the big house and ride somewhere else.

  18. Anonymous11:22 AM

    I know this is an old post...but I am interested to see if anyone knows how 24 hours of Leadville went? I know many people who avoided it just because of Ken and his recent actions....I have not seen a thing on Twitter or Facebook about it -- which is weird giving the cycling community is so small. Perhaps the Leadville 100 won't be effected for a while --- but the smaller racers that need local cyclist support may not make it.

  19. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Is there any benefit to registering as a team?

  20. Anonymous12:30 AM

    There has been improvement in some of the services (as far as safety, medical, etc.) each year. This is behind the scenes, "doesn't show up in the boxscore" stuff which you would never know unless you volunteered for several races in a row. There's a lot of moving parts to staging something like this SAFELY as possible so participants can go for it knowing that help is there.

    If you think $200+ for a race on public land is too much, put together your own hundred miler and see what it costs and what you would have to charge just to break even. Show us it can be done.

    As far as being able to buy your way into the race..... at least the option is there for people who want it that badly and are willing to make the sacrifice in time and money. Better than not having any option at all beyond the lottery. Maybe you can't afford it this year but some other year in your life you may.


Thank you. I read every single comment.