A few days ago, the organizers for the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race released the new athlete packet for 2011 and there were some changes made. Good changes – in my opinion.
Recall last year I commented that the race was growing and those growing pains were causing problems. Of that list of issues, two items that have caused the most message board discussion (sans – What tire pressure are you running?) in previous years included the use or non-use of timing chips and how to seed the athletes at the start line.
Though timing chips were used in previous years, they were not utilized to record official race time for the athlete. Official race time was the time you crossed the finish mat. Official start time was when the gun went off at 6:30am. For people lined up a couple of blocks back this meant a several minute time penalty – critical if you’re aiming for a sub-12 or sub-9 finish time.
That issue combined with a first-come-first-serve starting position caused multiple problems that I covered in last year’s blog. To help alleviate these issues, the new race organizers have instituted two important changes:
Your official race time will be recorded by your chip. This means if you have to start 10 minutes behind the leaders at the start line, your timing chip records the difference and gives you “credit” for a start deep in the field.
You will be put into a corral based on your best previous finish time in the past three years. This gives racers with proven experience racing this distance at altitude a seed time over newbies. All newbies (to this race) start at the back. Race bibs will be color-coded and those cheating by seeding themselves into an inappropriate corral will be disqualified.
I think these changes are positive and will be effective. We’ll see if I’m right in about a week.
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