The Dirt: Larissa Connors on her ‘serendipitous’ win at Leadville

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Perhaps you noticed that there wasn’t an edition of The Dirt last week. Sorry about that. So, to make up for that, here is an excerpt from a conversation I had with the ebullient Larissa Connors after she won Canyon’s Belgian Waffle Ride in California on April 15. Last year, Connors won the Leadville 100, and she’s stoked to go back for more — really, really stoked.

VeloNews: Tell me some of your highlights from 2017.

Larissa Connors: I did a lot of 100-mile races last year for the first time, and I won all of them. It was kind of like serendipity, I don’t know. I think I need to do a second season to see if it was a real thing or if I just got lucky.

VN: You said went into 2017 not expecting to really race, tell me more about that.

LC: Let’s not talk about it. That was some bad times. It was like a year of growth, personal growth, and then I found endurance racing. Real bad times and it had a real good outcome.

VN: Did you expect you were going to win Leadville last year?

LC: No, so I didn’t really want to quit racing altogether, so I was still kind of loosely affiliated with team TwentyTwenty, with Nicola Cramer. She was super-supportive of me because she knew what I was going through. At some point, Scott [Tedro] had a talk with me and said you need to move on and find some goals and get your head out of the sand.

So, Felt wanted me to race Leadville on the new Edict, since they were planning on launching the Edict at Leadville, so I was like heck I’ll race Leadville, why not? I love riding my bike really far, so I was like if I tell my coach I want to race Leadville, every Saturday, he’s going to say I need to ride for eight hours, that’s perfect, so that’s how that idea was born.

VN: How did you adapt your training to go from XC to a 100-miler?

LC: Well so I never followed my training plan before. I just always rode way more than I was supposed to. So basically I just kept doing the same thing I was always doing before except now I kind of ride even more.

VN: Back when you were doing XC did you ever wish you could do 100-milers?

LC: No, everyone told me I should race Leadville, but just always I figured I’d do it when I was older. You get better at endurance racing when you get older, to a certain extent. So now I feel really freakin’ old because I raced Leadville already. So it’s all downhill from here!

Right? 32? That’s over the hill! [laughs]

VN: And you’re going to go back this year?

LC: Oh heck yeah, that was such a fun race.

This footy is pajamas: Red Bull ski escape

Turns out ski season isn’t quite over. Red Bull just put out this ridiculous video of Fabio Wibmer running away from the cops at a ski resort in the Austrian Alps in Fabiolous Escape 2. I give the stunts 4.5 out of 5 Red Bulls. The acting, on the other hand, gets a lowly 1.5 cans of caffeinated soda. Here’s the footy:

Blowin’ up my feed: Rasputsitsa

Since it was dry at Land Run 100 and relatively warm at Barry-Roubaix, I think Rasputitsa takes the cake for worst (or is it best?) conditions in a gravel race to date in 2018. Riders took on a muddy, cold, and snowy 40-odd miles of racing on remote Vermont roads and trails. Here are a few choice posts from social media.

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New course for Carson City Off-Road

Oh boy, if you thought Whiskey 50 had a lot of climbing, just wait until you see the Carson City Off-Road Capital 50 route, which is the third stop in the Epic Rides Off-Road Series. The 52-mile route climbs 9,500 feet out of Carson City up to the Marlette Flume Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail. It’ll be a tough day of racing but at least riders will get the reward of the stunning Lake Tahoe views, 1,500 feet up on the rim.

Stay tuned for full coverage of this weekend’s Whiskey Off-Road event!

Gwin wins in Croatia

Last, but definitely not least, a tip of the cap to American Aaron Gwin (YT Industries) who won the UCI Downhill World Cup opener on a rocky, brand-new track in Lošinj, Croatia.

“You’re going to have to run that limit between charging and trying to save your equipment.” he said. “I had some mistakes for sure in the run, but nothing crazy costly. I didn’t know but I knew it would be really close.”

His countryman Luca Shaw (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was second and Dean Lucas (Intense Factory Racing) finished third.

In the women’s race, Myriam Nicole (Commencal) won by a healthy margin of almost four seconds ahead of Rachael Atherton (Trek). Tahnee Seagrave (Transition-Muc-Off) was third, a fraction of a second behind the former world champion.

Got some news you’d like to share in The Dirt? I’d love to hear from you. Please email me your news and updates on all things gravel and mountain biking.

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