Rebecca Rusch, the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 Women’s Champ and three-time 24 Hour Solo Mountain Biking World Champion, has scored another high-profile victory – taking top female honors at the 2010 Life Time Fitness Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race for the second year in a row. Finishing the grueling 100-mile race with a time of 7:47:35, Rusch beat her 2009 time by almost 30 minutes and broke the course record set back in 1997 by 11 minutes.
The Life Time Fitness Leadville Trail 100 is one of the most high-profile mountain bike races in the sport, as well as one of the most punishing, with steep climbs and harrowing descents totaling approximately 14,000 feet in elevation gain. This year the race had more than 1,500 riders from 48 states and 21 countries. The race course is 50 miles to the highest point, the Columbine Mine Aid Station at 12,600, then 50 miles back.
"This was the most painful day I had on a bike, but it was worth it.” -Rebecca
After a chilly early morning start, Rusch says the blue bird skies and temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s were a stark change over last year’s freezing conditions. She spent most of the first half of the race trying to shake second place finisher Amanda Carey; Rusch finally gained a sizeable gap at the Columbine climb.
“I just said it’s now or never,” said Rusch. “I knew it had to happen then, and I just put the screws to her and it worked.”
Rusch battled through leg cramps during the last stretch of the race to cross the finish line 25 minutes before Carey and an hour before the 3rd & 4th place female finishers.
“Another win at Leadville is a huge. This race is just unreal,” said Rusch. “I’ve been training with this being my main goal all year. Still, I surprised myself. I wanted the course record, but I didn’t expect to beat it by 11 minutes. This was the most painful day I had on a bike, but it was worth it.”
Check out this video of Rebecca in Leadville from Specialized: