Tag Archives: lance armstrong

Race Across the Sky (Leadville documentary) Review

Last night I caught the one-night-only screening of Race Across the Sky, a film about the 2009 Leadville Trail 100 Mountain Bike Race. The 2009 race featured a battle between big guns, Lance Armstrong (everyone knows who Lance is) and Dave Wiens (a mountain bike legend and 6-time Leadville winner who beat Lance in 2008). The movie also follows the journey of several amateur cyclists with unique stories. The movie is not rated, but I thought it was suitable for children (would rate it PG).

The movie was bittersweet for me – I loved it, but I’m afraid it will now reduce my chances of ever getting in to Leadville. Why? How? Here’s a little history on Leadville and my history (or lack thereof) with Leadville:

Each summer Leadville, Colorado, a city rich with mining and Wild West history, is host to a number of challenging endurance events. The town is 10,152 feet above sea level, so endurance events take on the added challenge of dealing with altitude. One of the events, the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race, is so popular that racers enter a lottery in January to secure one of the 750-1200 available starting line spots for the August race. The ride starts at 9,200 feet, with the highest point at the famed Columbine Mine aid station at 12,600 feet, and covers over 12,000 feet of climbing over the 100 mile course.

Leadville buckle

The goal of Leadville is to get a “buckle”. Racers that finish in under 12 hours get a silver commemorative belt buckle. Those finishing in under 9 hours get a gold & silver buckle. Many consider Leadville the toughest race in the U.S., so these buckles are literally & figuratively “worth their weight in gold”.

But to race, you must win the lotter. The lottery works like this:

  1. You send in your registration and a check for $240 before Jan. 31.
  2. Then sometime in February you are notified if you ”got in”
  3. If you do get in, your fee is not returnable and you can’t transfer your entry to anyone else (so you better be committed).
  4. Preference in the lottery is given to people that have competed in past Leadville’s (with those completing 5 or more times getting a guaranteed spot). The rest of the selection criteria is a mystery – unless you’re a 6-time Tour de France winner.

So this gets back to why the movie was “bittersweet”. I’m now more motivated than ever to earn a Leadville buckle, but I’m also afraid there will now be 10,000+ entering the lottery every year since the race is now part of popular culture.

So here is my plan:

  • Sign up for Leadville – probably as part of a team since “rumors” say that improves your chances in the lottery. All team members ride the 100 miles (its not a relay), but as a team you all get in, or no one gets in.
  • Get a new mountain bike designed/built specifically for Leadville (maybe a 29er hardtail?)
  • Race the Mas o Menos 100K mountain bike race in Big Bend, TX in February.
  • Ask for your help. How can you help? If you are reading this, take 2 minutes to send an email to Ken (the Leadville promoter) saying that you support my entry for 2010 (template below).

To: Lt100@leadvilletrail100.com

Subject: I support Ben Cooper’s entry for the 2010 Leadville 100 MTB

Ben’s obvious passion and dedication to doing this race has moved me enough to take the time to send an email on his behalf. I hope that Ben get’s in to the 2010 race because I look forward to reading about his training, the race and the “Leadville” experience on his blog https://texastailwind.wordpress.com


With any luck in 9 months I’ll be suffering on a mountain bike for 12 hours at 12,000 feet!

New Team for Lance Armstrong in 2010 – Team RadioShack

Team RadioShack and Lance Armstrong

It’s official, Lance Armstrong will ride for at least one more year and with a new team . . . Team RadioShack!

There have been rumors swirling for months, but most of the rumors involved the Livestrong foundation and Nike as the title sponsors of a new Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel led team. The RadioShack sponsorship comes as a huge surprise and is a bold move for the electronics retailer.

Apparently RadioShack will also sponsor the Livestrong Foundation’s signature fundraising event, the Livestrong Challenge Series, a 5K run/walk and cycling ride held in four cities throughout the United States, providing support for an ongoing, self-sustaining fundraising vehicle to raise money for the fight against cancer. The Livestrong Challenge is actually the event that originally got me into cycling.

RadioShack’s corporate HQ is just down the street here in Fort Worth, so I’m always available if the team needs suggestions for training rides while visiting the “suits” 🙂

Top speed on a bicycle – how fast can you go downhill?

Tuesday night during our Team ThinkCash ride, we had a nice tailwind on the 820 service road descent. So like most cyclists – we all tried to see how fast we could go. Comparing bike computer results as we soft-pedaled up to Chapin Rd., most of us fell between 40 and 45 mph. This started the conversation of, “what’s the fastest you’ve ever gone on your bike?”

I think I was the only one that had broken 50 mph on numerous occassions (no small feat since I only weigh 150 lbs). I know I’ve hit 50 mph while riding in the mountains of California a couple times. However, my most memorable 50+mph ride was in a Cat 4 race at Lago Vista (just outside Austin) last season. There was a steep downhill on the backside of the course and the peloton would hit 50 mph every lap. It’s definitely a little unnerving to ride in a pack when you’re doing 50 mph on tires the width of Scotch Tape.

As evidenced in the video above from the 2003 Tour de France (when Lance Armstrong does a little cyclocrossing), anything can happen (even to pros) when you’re going downhill that fast.

pros going downhill - don't try this at home

pros going downhill - don't try this at home

In fact, even the pros get a little skittish when speeds go north of 50 mph. In today’s Stage 6 of the Giro de Italia the pros hit ridiculous speeds on the descent off the Hochkrimml. The pros were even “comparing” their top speeds (just like the ThinkCashers on our Tuesday Nighter) after the descent. So who had the top speed? Saxo Bank’s JJ Haedo hit 117 kph – that’s 72.7 mph!

Have $12 million to drop on Lance Armstrong’s hill country retreat?


Lance Armstrong’s 4,241-sq.ft. ranch house at Deadman’s Hole, sitting on 447 acres of Texas hill country in Dripping Springs, is on the market for $12 million. Probably not the best economy for trying to sell a $12 million weekend home, but if you’ve recently won the lottery . . .

SELLER: Lance Armstrong
LOCATION: Deadman’s Hole, Dripping Springs, TX
PRICE: $12,000,000
SIZE: 4,241 square feet, 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms (total)
DESCRIPTION: Spectacular resort like ranch with 447.8 acres. Ownership in Deadman’s Hole & 1886′ of Pedernales River frontage (per survey). Extensive clearing of underbrush, paved roads, beautiful grassy pastures & 7 miles of hike/bike trails. Fab 4bd, 4ba main house on hilltop w/ exquisite landscaping, neg. edge pool & firepit overlooking endless hill country views. Great 1bd/1ba guest house.

So let’s see. You get


gorgeous hill country views . . .


an architecturally-interesting, amazing 4bd/4ba main house (you also get a 1bd/1ba guest house for people you don’t really like) . . .


a gourmet kitchen . . .


7+ miles of your own private mountain bike trails . . .


ownership/access in Dead Man’s Hole. So whenever you need a break, you can take the 45 ft. plunge to clear your head.

All-in-all an amazing piece of property and further proof that Lance Armstrong has a pretty good life. Who knows, if you’re a cyclist like me, and you win the lottery, and you buy the place, maybe Lance will give you a lifetime discount at Mellow Johnny’s. Jess and I will see Lance in action when we go to the Tour de France this summer. Maybe if we hasn’t sold it by then I’ll see if he’s willing to give me a good deal 😉

Lance Armstrong and Dave Wiens duel in Leadville

So I didn’t do Leadville this year (still one of my future goals), but Superhumanmag.com has a great video on the battle between Lance Armstrong and Dave Wiens at Leadville. Watching the video makes you realize just how brutal the climbs at Leadville really are.

UPDATE – Lance is returning to pro racing.

Mellow Johnny’s

Mellow Johnny's T-Shirt

Kevin was in Austin this week and picked up a T-shirt for me at Mellow Johnny’s. Mellow Johnny’s is Lance Armstrong’s new bike shop in Austin. It’s named for the nickname Armstrong earned while wearing the Tour de France leader’s “maillot jaune,” or yellow jersey.

Mellow Johnny's Austin

 It’s on Nueces next to La Zona Rosa. It is also a block north of the Lance Armstrong Bikeway, a path that will cut east-west through downtown Austin.

Everyone I know that has been just raves about this shop.

Mellow Johnny's Inside

It’s been described as part bike shop, part cafe, part commuter center, part training center and part museum. They carry Trek (as you would expect), but also have  Swobo, DeRosa, Eddie Merckx, Pinarello, Seven, Crumpton and Gary Fisher. I know that Tim is also proud of the fact that Mellow Johnny’s carries Masi bikes as well (get well soon Tim).

Juan Pelota Cafe inside Mellow Johnny's

I had the pleasure of riding with Bart Knaggs (one of the owners of Mellow Johnny’s) at the Cycle for Science ride last year. Bart’s a good guy and I wish them luck with the new shop, but with the team they have running this place I can’t see them not killing it and becoming a major fixture of the Austin cycling scene. I will definitely check the place out the next time I’m in Austin.