The Leadville 100 MTB is right around the corner. For many, this is the biggest race of the season – or even racing careers. Years of work are put to the test at the highest of elevations in an attempt to earn "The Buckle". Some will have a good day, strong legs, and big lungs. Many won't.

SoCal's Erin Machan is one rider that has stepped up for the challenge.
he comes from an endurance and multi-sport background and has put her focus into endurance mountain biking. She'll put all her experience to use to make it to Leadville's downtown finish line red carpet. And she'll need it. It's estimated that only 65% of the field will finish under the 12 hour cutoff time. 

In the week leading up to Leadville, Erin will check in and share her Leadville experience.  


It’s Monday morning in Leadville and I’m heading out to the Rebecca Rusch pre-ride. I’m slightly nervous, I’m alone, I don’t know where the heck I’m going, and I am about to meet my real life hero. I have connected with her over the last couple months after reading her book and at one point I posted a photo on Instagram and tagged her, which she then commented on to invite me to the pre-rides she’s hosting. That’s one of the great things about traveling alone; people invite you to everything, dinners, coffee, rides, etc. Mountain bikers are a rad community of people, that’s why I never fear traveling to races alone, I actually prefer it. I’ve meet more people traveling alone than I ever did before. I’m still getting used to it though, traveling alone is something I choose to do but it doesn’t come naturally, it’s really the fear of it that drives me to keep doing it. I’m extremely shy; it’s my best-kept secret. So now that the cats out of the bag, you’ll understand that there is a lot of mental prep going into these situations alone. I have to talk myself into it all the way there. The key motivator is usually “F-It”, when I say that to myself I tend to just go for it. 

Like usual, I was fine, I found the meeting spot, I got out and introduced myself, I met some amazing new people and got to talk to Rebecca a few minutes before she rode past me up Columbine like I was standing still. She really is just amazing!

Columbine has a lot of hype around it, well-deserved hype. It’s hard, not because of how long and steep it is, which it is, but it’s hard because of the altitude. I just couldn’t seem to find that quick recovery during those punchy climbs. I literally couldn’t catch my breath but getting off and walking a bit ended up being a great recovery. All in all I finished with the majority of the pack so I’m not too worried about it. I’ve come to accept that I’ll just be walking some sections come race day. 

The descent down Columbine was awesome, super fast and fun. I may be biased but I think I have the best bike in the world. I ride a Specialized Sworks Epic World Cup and the thing climbs, descends and corners like a dream. Hands down the best bike I’ve ever ridden. When I got the bike I had never ridden a World Cup but I had done a lot of research and decided the bike would be a great fit for me, so I went for it. Luckily I was 100% right, otherwise that would have been a costly mistake! Generally the first thought after I shred a fun descent is “I love my bike” and that is exactly what happened at the bottom of Columbine. It was a perfect way to end my first course pre-ride. 

By : Erin Machan