"This is the hardest one-day race that I have ever ridden in my whole career," said Brentjens, who rolled across the line in sixth place with a time of 6:46:13. The winner was Todd Wells (Specialized), who clocked a 6:23:38.
"I am really happy with the result."
Brentjens won the first Olympic mountain bike race in 1996 and took bronze in the 2004 Olympic race. He is also a former cross country world champion (in 1995). At 42, he continues to compete, largely in mountain bike endurance single day and stage races such as the Crocodile Trophy.
He explained just what makes Leadville so tough. "Racing under these extreme conditions, the high altitude and the change in weather from zero degrees (Celsius) in the morning up to 30 degrees at the finish line, is really tough for your body."
The race drew 1900 participants for the 103-mile event. At aid station one, Brentjens was in 18th place, but by the third aid station at 40 miles, he had moved up to 10th. After climbing the Columbine Peak and going through the turn around, Brentjens was up to sixth at the next aid station. He held onto that spot for the duration.