It was a weekend of challenging endurance in the Rocky Mountains, first with the Leadville Trail 100 MTB and then with the SBT GRVL race. Some hardy souls even took on both, tackling 250 arduous miles in two days as part of the LeadBoat challenge.
As the racing started on Saturday, 1,500 riders lined up to take on the 106-mile course of the Leadville Trail 100 MTB, with its 13,000 feet of net elevation gain. Rose Grant held up to the pressure provided by the depth of the women's field, defending her title with a finishing time of 7:23:57. Then within the next seven minutes both the second-placed Moriah Wilson and third-placed Sarah Sturm crossed the line.
In the men’s category, national cross country champion Keegan Swenson crossed the line first with a time of 6:11:26, holding off Lachlan Morton (EF Education-Nippo), who was eight minutes back, and then in third was 2019 champion Howard Grotts.
It was a quick turn-around for about 100 of those riders who made the transfer to Steamboat Springs to join the star-studded list of riders taking on the 144-mile (225-kilometre) long marquee SBT GRVL Black course.
Lauren De Crescenzo (Cinch Cycling) and Alex Howes (EF Education-Nippo) wrangled the gravel, water crossings and Rocky Mountains to win the race in the women's and men's categories, respectively, which included 104 miles of gravel and 9,400 feet (2,865 metres) of elevation gain.
The men’s competition thinned out on a testing climb so in the end it came down to Howes, Ian Boswell (Wahoo Frontiers) and Peter Stetina (Canyon). After 6:19:44 it took a sprint to separate the trio, with Howes taking the victory from Boswell and Stetina.
It was a second long day for Howes and Stetina, who had both taken on the doubleheader. Saturday the Colorado native finished 16th, while Stetina finished fifth. The combination of fifth in the mountain bike event and third on the gravel meant Stetina took the victory in the men’s combined event, the LeadBoat challenge.
Less than half an hour after Howes crossed the line, it was then De Crescenzo who delivered a clear victory in the women’s race, with a time of 6:45:36. Lauren Stephens (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) was next, precisely 10 minutes later, while Flavia Oliveira (Abus Pro Cycling) was third. Sarah Sturm, who had also spent a second long day on the bike, came in after 7:49:41 to win the women’s LeadBoat challenge.
Scroll through our gallery of images above from throughout the two races to see the bikes, people and unfolding of the competition at the Leadville Trail 100 MTB and SBT GRVL 2021.
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