Love Climbing? Take On the Leadville 100,000FT Challenge

Jessica Coulon
Photo credit: Daniel Petty - Getty Images
Photo credit: Daniel Petty - Getty Images

From Bicycling

In the absence of the popular and challenging Leadville 100 races this summer, which were canceled because of the coronavirus, race organizers have created a virtual competition called the Leadville 100,000 FT Challenge.

Like its namesake, the Leadville 100,000 FT Challenge is all about elevation. The Leadville 100 has participants ride or run 100 miles at high-altitude through the Colorado Rockies. But for this virtual challenge, riders will aim to climb 100,000 feet total over a period of eight weeks.

The challenge started on June 13 and runs until August 22, the original date of the Leadville 100. Registration closes on July 6.

The Leadville 100,000 FT Challenge is open to anyone, unlike the original Leadville 100 where participants must first qualify at a preliminary race. Participants can sign up on runsignup.com and pay a $100 or $150 entry fee, depending on the category. All proceeds will go to the Life Time Foundation for funding the Lake County Public School’s COVID-19 Food Relief Program. Donations without participating are welcome as well and will go towards the Leadville Trail 100 Legacy Foundation instead.

At first glance, the challenge seems pretty doable—hey, you have an entire eight weeks to complete it, right? But to put it into perspective, that still averages out to 12,500 feet of elevation gain a week. It’s no joke.

[Want to fly up hills? Climb! gives you the workouts and mental strategies to conquer your nearest peak.]

If the challenge seems a little too, well, challenging, participants can split the workload and sign up for the “Divide & Conquer” two-person relay category. Alternatively, if it doesn’t seem challenging enough, you can sign up for the 200,000 FT category.

Participants must log their ride stats on runsignup.com. (The competition relies on the honor system.) The event is for runners, too, and cyclists can even put in some of their climbing on foot if they’d like. There’s also a public Facebook group for participants, where they can share their experiences, ask questions, and seek out advice—like creative ways to complete the challenge while living somewhere incredibly flat.

Every finisher will receive some fun swag for their efforts, including a belt buckle and t-shirt. Plus, there’s different competitions within the event—like first to finish the challenge, last to finish the challenge, most elevation gain in a day, and most creative route—that come with their own special prizes.

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