Sample the brutal Leadville 100 MTB at Leadville Stage Race July 28-30 |

Sample the brutal Leadville 100 MTB at Leadville Stage Race July 28-30

A bike rider pedals through high-alpine wildflowers at the Silver Rush 50 MTB race in 2016. The next event in the summer-long Leadville Race Series, the three-day Leadville Stage Race, returns for a third season from July 28-30 with the same course as the Leadville 100 MTB split into three stages.
Glen Delman / Special to the Daily |

Each year, athletes from across the world vie for a chance to experience the famed Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race, known for drawing some of the biggest names in the sport: Alban Lakata, Jeremiah Bisop, Todd Wells (four-time winner) and Tour de France heavyweight Levi Leipheimer. The high-altitude 100-miler is acclaimed for its difficulty, with more than 12,000 feet of elevation gain in a single day of grinding at dizzying altitude. Completing the race is a monumental task for even the most accomplished mountain bikers, according to a release from the race organizers.

But first, you have to qualify for the thing.

From July 28-30, the 2017 Leadville Stage Race offers athletes of all abilities the opportunity show they have what it takes for the real deal, all while experiencing the legendary Leadville Trail 100 MTB course split over three (relatively) mellow days. Participants who aren’t ready to tackle the entire 100 miles can even form a team of two or three riders, allowing each person to race one or two stages, the release continued.

Best part: The Leadville Stage Race also serves as a qualifier for the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. Participants at this year’s event will have a one-in-three chance of earning their spot in the 2017 Leadville Trail 100 MTB on Aug. 12.

“This will be the third year of the Leadville Stage Race and we’re excited to see the event grow each year,” said Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville Race Series, in the release. “It’s truly an event that is accessible to even the most novice mountain bikers. The three-stage format gives advanced riders a chance to see how hard they can push each section of the (full) course and first-timers an opportunity to experience a Leadville Race Series event without the demands of training or completing 100 miles in a single day.”

Then, of course, is all the partying to be done at 10,000 feet.

“The celebrations and parties after each stage let all participants enjoy the weekend and get a sense of what being a part of the Leadville Race Series family is all about,” Chlouber said in the release.

The stages

The Leadville Stage Race consists of three stages covering the Leadville Trail 100 MTB course. The majority of the race is on forested trails, with some exposed mountain roads. Elevations range from 9,200-12,424 vertical feet. After each stage, athletes will enjoy a post-race party with food, drinks and live music. That’s right — there’s a party after every single stage. Put your game face on:

Stage 1 | July 28 (42 miles): Starts at Lake County Rodeo Grounds and continues over St. Kevins and Sugarloaf passes to finish at Twin Lakes.

Stage 2 | July 29 (16 miles): Starts at Twin Lakes, climbs up to the famed Columbine Mine at 12,424 feet and returns to Twin Lakes.

Stage 3 | July 30 (42 miles): Starts at Twin Lakes and returns to the Rodeo Grounds in Leadville.

The 2017 Leadville MTB Stage Race is limited to 300 participants. Registration is still open online at

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