Lifetime Fitness, the new owner of the Leadville Trail 100 and AEG, owner and operator of the Amgen Tour of California, will create a national series of qualifying races, which will offer guaranteed entry into the 2011 event.
“We’re excited to add a qualifier system to the epic Leadville Trail 100 MTB event,” said Ken Cooper, vice president, Life Time Fitness Endurance. “Many mountain bikers dream of participating in the Leadville Trail 100 MTB. For some, that dream now can begin at a Leadville Qualifier.”
AEG, in partnership with The Healthy Way of Life Company, recognized that the traditional Leadville Trail 100 MTB lottery system left many waiting for their turn, year after year. In 2011, the ‘Leadville Qualifying Series’ will consist of three races and will expand to eight races by 2013.
The three qualifying events will be held in June and July in California, Colorado and the Northeast. Specific dates and venues have yet to be finalized. In 2012 and 2013 additional races will be added in Texas, the Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, and one more in California.
Each qualifying event will provide 100, additional, race entries into the Leadville Trail 100 MTB Race with half of the entries awarded to athletes based on age-group and elite-field performance and the other half selected from the pool of finishers who beat a qualifying time standard.
"It struck me that the lottery system has some limitations," Andrew Messick, President of AEG, told Cyclingnews. "A lot of people who are serious cyclists want to do this race sometime in their lives but don't always get the chance. There is so much luck involved in getting in. We thought it'd be more fair to create this system."
Messick's interest was piqued after his own involvement with the race. "I did the Leadville Trail 100 in 2010. I came away from my Leadville experience believing that it's such a fantastic event. It's a well known event within the mountain bike community, it's an exceptional event, and there is an opportunity for a much broader environment for the event.
"I was a mountain biker when I was younger. For the last 10 years, I've been more of a road guy," Messick told Cyclingnews. "Getting reacquainted with mountain biking was a pleasure in my life in 2010. My preparation for Leadville was fantastic. It made me fall in love with mountain biking all over again."
Lottery entry for this year’s 2011 Leadville Trail 100 MTB event closes 31 January. For more information visit www.leadvilletrail100.com