Aspen cyclist takes second in Leadville 100
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Even though it took Aspen resident Ted MacBlane just over seven hours to finish Leadville’s “Race Across the Sky,” the last minute of the race was crucial.
MacBlane completed the race in 7 hours, 33 minutes “and change,” the best time for an Aspen entry – and just 52 seconds behind the winner.
Bryson Perry of Sandy, Utah, claimed his second straight victory in the Leadville Trail 100-mile mountain bike race Saturday afternoon. MacBlane reported that he spent most of the race gaining a lead on and then losing ground to Perry as the pair covered the course – 100 miles of road and backcountry riding that includes nearly 12,000 feet of climbing.
“It was just a really good race this year – the three front-runners, we were sort of battling it out. We each had the lead at different parts of the race. It was exciting,” MacBlane said.
The near-win is a vast improvement from MacBlane’s last Leadville attempt. The Hub of Aspen team rider tried the race five years ago, and ended the race in 72nd place.
MacBlane is now an ultra-race veteran – he took third place in the Vail 100 bike race last summer. And if all goes according to plan, he’ll even attempt the Beaver Creek endurance race next weekend.
Depending on how much rest he gets between now and then, that is.
“I’m planning to do it right now … ” he said.
Steve Marolt, one-half of a pair of biker and mountaineer brothers from Aspen, took fifth place in Saturday’s race. Marolt finished the Leadville scramble in third place last year, scoring his personal-best time.
Aspen resident Kim Raymond took first in the Leadville women’s division. Her time was not available Sunday evening. Raymond finished third in 2001.
Two additional Aspen finishers, Lenny Oates and Gary Albert, competed in the Over-50 category – and managed to shame quite a few competitors in the younger age classes.
Oates, 63, finished the race in 12:01. Albert, 58, finished just behind him in 12:13.
Though Albert feels good about his time, he’s happier that he finished the race at all. Albert competed in the event last year, but withdrew after breaking a rib in a hard fall.
He hopped on his bike again in April to begin training for the grueling Leadville race.
“I’ve been waiting all year to come back and do it again,” Albert said.
Last year, nearly 60 people registered in the race’s Over-50 category, making up a little less than 10 percent of the race’s competitors. However, the race is a true test of fitness no matter what your age, Albert said.
“When I was getting close to the end – I was about five miles out, and it’s a dirt road up a hill – I said to this guy next to me, with a goatee, a really cool looking guy, I turned to him and said, ‘Do you think we can make it?’ He said, ‘I don’t think so.'”
Albert said he and his neighbor knocked fist and picked up the pace, hoping to finish the race under the 12-hour mark. Neither man made it, but Albert said the effort alone made his trip over Independence Pass worthwhile.
“It’s hard to explain to anybody how hard it is. It’s over 12,000 feet of climbing, with five major climbs,” he said.
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