Wednesday, August 13, 2008

CT Day 20: Lance Armstrong at Twin Lakes

Dave and I left as early as we could so that we might be able to witness the Leadville 100 Bike Race. While we got a bit of a late start, we managed to make excellent time, averaging more than 3 miles per hour. We reached Twin Lakes reservoir sometime in the late morning, hoping to cheer on some of the racing folks we met in Leadville.

For the Leadville 100 Race this year, Twin Lakes was both the 40 mile race checkpoint and the 60 mile race checkpoint. Dozens of support crews stood out ready to assist their riders and hundreds of spectators watched and cheered for the riders coming in.

We ran into a group of women supporting one rider. After some small talk and hearing of our trail journey, they offered us fresh turkey sandwiches, gatorade, and snacks! Sometimes being a thru-hiker is pretty nice. They also told us that Lance Armstrong would be coming through in about half an hour. The world famous, seven time Tour de France winner was locked in a duel for first place with Gunnison, CO Native and six time Leadville 100 winner David Weins.

Lance Armstrong and David Weins eventually did roll through, to thunderous applause from all the bystanders. At this point David Weins was slightly ahead, with Lance Armstrong trailing just him. With only 40 miles to go, and with Lance's reputation, all the locals who favored Weins began fearing for the worst.
Dave and I left shortly after the big Armstrong commotion, walking the opposite direction of most of the cyclists, as this small portion of the CT near Twin Lakes Reservoir coincided with the race. All the fastest cyclists (all of whom were still far behind Weins and Armstrong). Dave and I started dancing as we walked through, and all the spectators started cheering for us as well! It was a great time.

Some guy asked where we were hiking from and we told him Denver. He immediately gave us both some brews. Turns out his Japanese wife was there with him to watch a friend race, so I had a few questions for her.

That afternoon we went for a swim on the OTHER side of Twin Lakes and later ran into Patch. Patch had gone into Twin Lakes for a resupply, and was passing us late that afternoon. Despite quitting early and watching the race, we managed to put away 14-15 miles.
As for the 2008 Leadville 100 MTB, turns out David Weins won! Weins came in a couple minutes ahead of Armstrong with a flat rear tire! Both riders however, beat the previous race record (held by Weins) by about 20 minutes. To add some perspective and context for our cycling readers, Weins appears to be a force to be reckoned with. He also beat Floyd Landis by 2 minutes in the 2007 Leadville 100 as well. Read the Yahoo Sports account here.

David Hanson's account of that Day:
"We hurried to Twin Lakes for the Leadville 100 bike race that was passing through. We made friends with a number of racers at the hostel in Leadville, so we thought it would be fun to cheer them on. It was quite the scene, tons of people line up along the route to cheer and catch a glimpse of Lance Armstrong! The big drama of the race was whether the Local guy, Dave Wiens could beat Lance. Dave had won the event the last 5 years. He even beat Floyd LAndis last year. When they passed through Lance was slightly ahead. The crowd roared as they jetted by. These guys were beasts. A day or two later we heard from Patch that Dave had beat Lance by a minute or two, and that Dave crossed the finish with a flat tire. Legendary!
The best part of the race was making friends with people and eating their food. Laurel made us turkey sandwiches and gave us gatorade and an apple. We were hiking out along the same route as the race and people started cheering for Tyler and I. Then these guys asked us where we were coming from... When we answered, "we just walked from Denver." They replied, "Holy S#%*, you guys need a beer!" That was a nice way to cap off the event and continue."

CT Day 21: Campfire With Thatch & April

The Colorado Trail Story

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