Bikes and nutrition dialled in for Leadville 100

Marathon world champion looks forward to longest race yet

Only a few days to go until Leadville!

I am finally adapting to the altitude. I sleep much better, plus also my heart seems to pump comfortably at higher rates, which is more than necessary when I am thinking of how many times it will pump over the course of the six-hour race.

Leadville is going to be my longest race ever, and by accident last Saturday I did also my longest training ride ever. With my old teammate and friend Alban Lakata, I rode from Breckenridge over Mosquito Pass (4000m high) to Leadville, rode the course from Powerline on and then back via Copper Mountain to Breckenridge again. 170km in seven hours with over 3000m of climbing. I must admit I was pretty dead the day after.

You might be interested what bike I am going to race: It will be my 29er Specialized Stumpjumper hardtail. It was also Todd Wells' winning rig last year. Sure, I would have much more fun and comfort on the Epic or Stumpjumper 29er softtail, but I am racing for the result only, and for that, I want the lightest and best rolling bike in the world.

You can not compare Leadville to the grueling Cape Epic stages, which are so rough, plus Cape Epic is a stage race where you have to be recovered again for the next day. Tire wise, I am rolling with my Renegades - the tire I designed with Specialized engineers together a few years ago. It is our fastest tire with still enough knobs for good traction.

I am wondering if I will see any 650b wheel sizes out there. In Europe, they are highly discussed at the moment, but to me, it seems like the Americans know that the biggest (29ers) is the best. The other day tried out a 650b bike, and I felt like I'd stepped back in time - like being on a 26er. I am pretty sure I could not feel any difference between a 26er and 650b during a blind test.

It is a lot about the bike, but even with the best equipment you are not going far with the wrong nutrition!

For breakfast, I will eat rice with Nutella and have a cup of good coffee two hours before the start. That means it will be 4:30 am and still dark outside. My race fuel is going to be Sponser Competition drink mix, plus I love their oat bars and long energy gels, which are not sweet. It gives me great, sustaining energy for many hours. But for such a long race, I also want a normal sandwich with Parmesan cheese and avocado. In case I run out of energy and speed, it is my body and head only... no excuses!

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