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.  


Leadville is high, really high. Woke up with a bloody nose and slightly discouraged. As my coach Lesley Paterson would say I’m “sucking wind” up here. I managed to get a good night sleep and had my usual granola, blueberries and almond milk for breakfast so I felt pretty good heading out on my ride this morning. As I road the Mineral Belt Trail down to the Middle School to meet the group I could tell Leadville was getting more populated. It was pretty lively for 8:30am with lots of runners and cyclist. Even the parking lot where we were meeting was more full than the day before.

Today the Rebecca Rusch pre-riding was Powerline up and down. Powerline, like Columbine, lived up to its hype. It’s known to be one of the toughest climbs on the Leadville course and it was, in my opinion tougher than Columbine. I’m not sure what will be worse, riding it today completely cold or on race day after an 80 mile warm up. Either way this is another hill I will plan on walking some. I love these pre-rides for so many reasons; they are fun, I get to meet new people, catch up with people I met the day before, and hear a lot of good things to tell myself on race day.

Today Rebecca mentioned something that I love to remind myself, I GET to ride. So when I’m out there feeling miserable I have to remind myself that I GET to be out here. I remember after Tahoe Trail 100K in July I was bumming after my race for not breaking the 6 hours I wanted. When I talked to my coach she looked at me and said, “girl you need to get grateful”… I got 6:06 and PR’d my last years time by over 20 minutes on a course that was longer and had about 800 feet more climbing, but I was bumming?! Lesley doesn’t sugar coat anything, she tells me exactly how it is, and it works.

After that day I got super grateful, and that’s what every day since then has been about. I GET to ride my bike, I GET to race Leadville, I GET to climb Powerline! Powerline hurt just like expected, but to stand at the top of that hill and look out at what was once only in my imagination, was worth every painful second. How lucky am I that I GET to be in Leadville after planning for this day for over a year? Leadville 100 MTB race is my celebration, my day to put it all out there, I worked a year for this and I’ve done all I can do, so on Saturday I GET to go all out and have a raging party on my bike for a hundred hard breathless miles! 

By : Erin Machan