Trade Secrets of eight Elite Athletes


You might not be prepared to sign up for a 100-mile trail run or mountain bike race. That is OK. But you can nonetheless discover a issue or two from the athletes who do these varieties of endurance events at the most elite level. (For instance: Attempt dreaming of ice cream anytime a ride gets difficult. That is what mountain bike racer Larissa Connors does.) 

This month, leading mountain bikers and ultrarunners head to the higher-altitude town of Leadville, Colorado, to compete in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, taking location August 10, and the Leadville Trail 100 Run, taking location August 17. Eight former Leadville champions gave us the scoop on what drives them, how they push by means of when they really feel like quitting and their tips for 1st-time racers. 

Leadville winner Emma Roca runs on a high-altitude peak.

Emma Roca, 2014 winner of the Leadville Trail 100 Run, knows every race comes with ups and downs. (Photo Credit: Life Time)

When education gets really hard, I locate my motivation in…

Devon Yanko, 2017 winner of the Leadville Trail 100 Run:Hunting at my basic worth program for why I pursue the targets I do. The far more private and deeply connected I really feel to the course of action, the a lot easier it is to get fired up. Also, I like to try to remember that there will normally be moments in races and education when points get really hard, when we want to quit, but just due to the fact the adverse believed comes up does not imply we need to have to indulge it.”

Rob Krar, two-time winner of Leadville Trail 100 Run: “Knowing in the core of my heart that I’ll be a greater particular person for the rest of the day if I get out the door and get it accomplished.”

Emma Roca, 2014 winner of the Leadville Trail 100 Run: “Spending time with my dog [while training] and from time to time listening to great music.”

Larissa Connors, two-time winner of Leadville Trail 100 MTB: “Thinking about what my competitors is performing at that moment. If they are sucking it up and acquiring the intervals accomplished and I’m acquiring soft, I will not stand a likelihood, so I assume about the girls I will race with and visualize them nailing a crazy really hard exercise, then I get my butt out the door to get it accomplished.”

Annika Langvad, 2015 winner and course record setter of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB: “Knowing how fantastic and happy I’ll really feel when I devote the rest of the day on the couch.”

Todd Wells, 3-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB: “Most expert cyclists do not lack motivation to ride, no matter how poor it gets. The really hard element for me is never ever the education, it is the time away from my family members and the diet program. When you are education or racing in some far-off land and not acquiring the benefits you hope for, it can be really hard to retain the morale higher. It is quick to get homesick, consume poorly and consume as well significantly. I normally identified surrounding myself with good men and women and generating as a lot of mini trips residence as achievable worked greatest for me. It is realizing that placing in the function now will get you the benefits you are hoping for on race day.”

Mountain biker Todd Wells crosses the finish line in first.

A victorious finish line for 3-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Todd Wells. (Photo Credit: Life Time)

The most essential issue to try to remember about nutrition and hydration though education and racing is…

Krar: “Fuel early and fuel usually, even at four:30am when it is cold and dark and the final issue you want to do is squeeze a GU down your throat.”

Yanko: “Altitude is a substantial anxiety on the physique and demands far more power and hydration than at sea level, so getting your nutrition dialed and preferably practiced at altitude is essential.”

Connors: “I carry a hydration pack even although I’m a pro with men and women handing me bottles due to the fact it aids me drink throughout the hectic 1st two hours to remain ahead of my hydration demands.”

Wells: “Nutrition is possibly the issue that does most competitors in. The elevation, dry air and time on the bike can wreak havoc on the stomach. The issue I hear most from men and women who miss their targets is [that their issues were] stomach and nutrition connected. Obtaining a attempted-and-accurate nutrition program is second only to placing in the physical function essential to accomplish your purpose.”

When points commence to appear bleak on race day, I push by means of by…

Yanko: “Remembering that there will normally be highs and lows and that a single poor mile (or 20) does not equal a poor race. Issues will normally get greater (and then worse and then greater). Just attempt and stay focused on the subsequent purpose, no matter whether that is the subsequent help station or the finish line.”

Ian Sharman, two-time winner of the Leadville Trail 100: “Reminding myself that the difficult components of the race are what it is all about and what will imply the most to overcome. Any one can run nicely when they really feel great, but accomplishment comes from performing that by means of the hardest sections.”

Krar:The reality that I decide on to be right here, that it is supposed to be really hard and that I can function by means of the low points and nonetheless have the race of my life.”

Roca:Recognizing that immediately after a low moment there is a higher a single later.”

Langvad: “Eating something with a chocolate taste.”

Connors: “Thinking about ice cream. This is 100 % accurate of just about each 100-mile race I’ve accomplished.”

Sally Bigham, 3-time winner and former record setter of Leadville Trail 100 MTB: “Knowing that I do not want to miss the goose bumps and sheer thrill of turning the final corner, cresting the hill and crossing the finish line.”

Wells: “Knowing absolutely everyone is suffering and something can take place. In such a extended race not only are mechanical challenges a genuine possibility, but men and women crack all the time. A single year when I won, Kristian Hynek had dropped me so badly on Columbine [an infamous climb on the course], he was minutes ahead of me at Powerline [another well-known stretch of trail]. He blew up, I caught him on the descent and wound up winning the race. You have to retain pushing due to the fact you never ever know what’s going to take place.” 

Two-time Leadville champion Ian Sharman runs through a creek.

Two-time Leadville champion Ian Sharman knows that a race is won by means of the toughest sections. (Photo Credit: Life Time)

My tips for somebody attempting their 1st ultramarathon or extended mountain bike race…

Yanko: “Go out there with the intent to discover. You have never ever accomplished this ahead of, take pleasure in the beginner’s mindset and getting capable to discover from what comes up throughout the race. I assume the quantity a single purpose of a 1st ultra should really normally be to finish.”

Sharman: “Use energy-hiking as a tactic and option, rather than only resorting to it when you can no longer run.”

Krar:Concentrate on the journey and not on the outcome. It is the 99 % that no one ever sees that is most meaningful when it is all mentioned and accomplished.”

Roca: “Be progressive and have the expertise of shorter races to face challenges that a larger a single can have.”

Connors: “Have enjoyable. Even if you are the most competitive pro out there, I do not assume it is worth it to toe the line if you are not getting the time of your life, so take pleasure in each minute of it. A hundred miles might appear extended, but it is going to be more than ahead of you know it and if you do not savor each pedal stroke, why did you anxiety so significantly about the education and every thing top up to the race? Also take pleasure in the course of action, the education, the registration, the nerves at the start—enjoy it all. It is all such a cool expertise we are fortunate to share.”

Bigham: “Enjoy the training—you should make it fun—and come race day, soak up the atmosphere of the race, take pleasure in the crowds and their help and smile. Keep in mind exactly where you are and how fortunate you are to be there.” 

Wells: “If achievable, attempt to ride the trails in the region ahead of the race so you are somewhat familiar with the terrain. Make positive your bike is in great functioning order the week top up to the occasion. Make a checklist of points you do not want to overlook and make positive you have your bike, footwear and helmet when you head off to the race. Every little thing else you can make do with no. If you can locate a buddy to do the race with that will make it even far more enjoyable and significantly less stressful. It is normally greater to have somebody to share a new expertise with.”


Latest posts