Phase IV & Herbalife Partner at Leadville 100 MTB Race
Recently Phase IV teamed up with the Herbalife 24/7 Race Team and Cynergy Cycles at the Leadville MTB 100 to support riders (including several Phase IV clients) for the 18th year of this storied competition. Every August cycling's most famous one day extreme mountain bike race takes place at 10,000 ft, high up in the Rockies. The Leadville 100 began as a running event some 29 years ago and quickly became the most coveted finishers belt buckle award in ultra distance running due to the extreme altitude (the start is in the center of town which sits at 10,200 feet and peaks at the 50 mile mark at 12,550 ft with 12K of total climbing by days end) the rugged terrain and punishing heat and low humidity. The mountain bike version was added 18 years ago and quickly became the grand daddy of off road cycling events in the US, the country where mountain biking was born. The inaugural event was contested by mostly local participants but had swelled to 800 riders by 2009 as the legend of Leadville grew. This year’s event was expanded by 50 per cent to 1200 riders due in large part by the interest generated in the mainstream cycling community with the participation the last few years of multiple Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong and his ex-teammate Levi Leipheimer.
Arriving at the Herbalife 24/7 Base Camp three days before race day the Phase VI support team found the typically sleepy former mining town bustling with both local homegrown rugged and shaggy athletes and the shaved legged racers from destinations far and wide. It is fitting in this old mining town, where the mines are rumored to re-open soon, that the old meets the new. Bikes range from old school sans suspension, rigid fork iron relics to custom made dual suspension carbon fiber and titanium machines of aerospace design. The uniforms were likewise a mix of plain wrap baggy shorts and tops to highly customized kits covered with sponsor's logos. Race day nutrition ranged from nuts and berries to stuff made in the lab that looks like it was squeezed from a tube at the international space station.
Last minute bike tune ups and purchases of nutrition and hydration products occupied most participants who also do a fair amount of sizing up the competition. As the last few days of preparation tick by however the overall feeling was a shared sense of impending punishment. As one veteran of the extreme biking scene put it "it is kind of like mommy has called daddy with news of you misbehaving and now we are waiting for daddy to come home a deliver an old fashion whoopin!" Whether the goal is to finish under 9 hours for the large finishers buckle or 12 hours for the smaller version, everyone knows in a few short days they are gonna have to dig deep to find the strength and perseverance to met their expectations.
At Herbalife 24/7 Base Camp, where 20 members of their elite racing squad were housed, it was nothing short of the best athlete support science can render. The new Herbalife 24/7 nutrition and hydration product line was a big hit and flowed freely from blenders at the upstairs cowboy bar complete with barstools fashioned from horse saddles. The massage table was always full, while the Phase IV therapists performed injury assessments and orthopedic bike fits and the expert Cynergy mechanic tended to last minute equipment adjustments. Santa Monica based, Leadville veteran and Base Camp director, Nate Whitman and the Herbalife biochemistry wizard John Heiss tended to the athletes needs, doling out equal doses of tactical and physiological advice to focused athletes who came to test themselves at this beast of a race.
By race day the Herbalife team was well recovered and prepared to battle the elevation, the elements and the punishing course. Muscles packed with glycogen, water bottles filled with the Herbalife Prolong mixture and brains focused on the major climbs of the race, this team was ready. The mass start from the center of town is tempered by neutral zone extending down six miles of paved roads but by the time the group hit the dirt it was every rider for themselves. As competitors rode directly into a dust storm created by the leaders they found the roads are smooth, but steep and never ending. As the air became more and more void of oxygen with altitude the field was quickly splintered into the elite and recreational riders. All told the Herbalife team finished many riders in the top twenty and had a great showing proving once again that preparation and support pay off well. This race earns it's reputation every mile and the Herbalife 24/7 team proved that with science the best of outcomes can be expected!