Preparing to race for a 100-mile mountain bike race is tough enough, but preparing to race at high altitudes is another challenge altogether. Cameron Valier Cogburn G qualified to race in the Leadville MTB (Moutain Bike) 100 by winning the Wilmington Whiteface 100 in New York State earlier this year. As a National Collegiate winner of the Division II Men’s Road Race and winner of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic bike races, Cameron faced the challenge of racing at ten to twelve thousand feet for 100 miles.
The Leadville MTB 100 race was held on August 10th, 2013 in Leadville, Colorado. The course starts in the heart of Leadville then heads out into the surrounding area of high mountains and lakes, following paved roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, and single-track trails reaching about 12,242 feet at Columbine Mine, which marks the halfway point. Riders then return back to Leadville following much of the same route.
Cogburn prepared by spending some time in Colorado, about 10 days, to adjust to the high altitude. While staying in Manitou Springs with family, he practiced regularly in Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs and on the Pikes Peak Highway. Located at 14,110 feet, riding at Pikes Peak allowed him to acclimate to the higher altitudes. Cogburn also previewed the course around Leadville earlier in week. This proved to be a smart move because he took many wrong turns while learning the route.
The race started at 6:30 a.m. with temperatures around 34 degrees F. Close to 1600 cyclists raced down a paved road towards Turquoise Lake before starting on the back roads. Some of the riders finished 14 hours later in the day; those who could not make the cutoff times were not allowed to finish at all. Cogburn’s family served as his support crew throughout the race. The “Cog Crew” provided energy foods, drinks, and encouragement at several Aid Stations.
Cogburn finished the race at around 1 p.m., earning fourth place with a time of 6 hours, 36 minutes, and 50 seconds.
Cogburn came in fourth place with a time of 6 hours 36 minutes and 50 seconds, behind three professional cyclists — including Swiss cyclist Christoph Sauser, who competed in the 2000 Olympics.