EF Education First is sending a trio to race the annual Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike race on Saturday, August 10, with GBDuro winner Lachlan Morton, US Road Champion Alex Howes and Taylor Phinney being joined by fellow WorldTour roadie Peter Stetina (Trek-Segafredo) in the list of celebrities taking on the 26th edition.
The "Race Across The Sky" is one of the most difficult endurance races on the calendar not only because of the massive climbs but the high altitude, starting at 10,152 feet [3,094m] and climbing to 12,424 feet [3,786m].
Defending champion Howard Grotts will return to try for a third consecutive title, heading up a stacked field of mountain bike talent including former winner Todd Wells, Payson McElveen, Jeremiah Bishop, Alex Grant, Rose Grant, Nina Laughlin and Sarah Sturm.
Morton, Howes, Phinney and Stetina have taken on other off-road events, including the Dirty Kanza in May. Howes, Morton and Stetina are slated to compete in the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah starting two days later on August 12.
"It's kind of crazy: a hundred miles at over 10,000 feet. It's fun being a roadie and testing yourself against all the mountain bike racers," Howes said of the race. "Everyone expects us to crash the whole time. Getting out there, showing that we can stay upright – I say that and I'll probably biff it now – but that's part of the motivation."
Both Howes and Morton have raced the Leadville 100 before, but the event will be the first mountain bike race in which Phinney has ever competed.
"Being from Colorado, I've been hearing about Leadville my whole life, really," Phinney said. "I've always been intrigued by it and I've always loved mountain biking."